A variation on Euchre and Pinochle. It may help to be familiar with the rules for Euchre before learning Setback.


4 (two teams, partners sit across from each other)


One euchre deck, plus 2s (or one full deck without the 3s-8s). The 6s are set aside for scoring.


The object of the game is to be the first team to score twelve points.


Deal three cards at a time, twice around. When you're done dealing, you should be left with four cards. Place these cards off to the side, face down. You will not use them in the hand. (note to Euchre players: resist the temptation to flip the top card!)

Game play

After dealing, the first player to the left of the dealer has the opportunity to bid for the number of points they'll take in that hand, or they can pass. Once you have passed, you cannot big any more. It continues on in a clockwise manner until someone has bid five, or everyone else has passed. The person who gets the bid names trump, and plays the first card.

Hand points are taken in the following way:

  1. having the highest trump card (usually the ace) in your hand
  2. having the lowest trump card (usually the deuce) in your hand
  3. capturing the jack of trump (right bower)
  4. capturing the jack of the same color as trump (left bower)
  5. capturing the most game points

Setback players will often refer to these as "High, Low, Right, Left, Game" (sometimes saying "Double Jack" instead of "Right and Left"). Setback has bowers like Euchre, but they are in the middle of the deck rather than the highest cards.

Hearts is trump. The jack of diamonds would be considered a heart for the purposes of suit. The value order of the hearts would be:

A K Q J J 10 9 2

The other suits are normal order (diamonds would be missing the jack from its normal order, of course).

Since the bowers aren't high cards, capturing them requires a little bit of care when playing. Also, since there are four left over cards that are not in play, it is possible for one (or both) of the bowers to be "buried", and thus only four (or three) hand points are available. Keep this in mind when bidding!

Game points are counted based on the cards you take in during tricks. The values are as follows:

Card Game Points
Ace 4
King 3
Queen 2
Jack 1
Ten 10

There are eighty possible game points, so obviously, taking the tens are very important. In order to get the point for "game points", you must have at least forty one game points; if you tie with forty, then nobody gets the game point.

Like Euchre, you must follow suit if you have it. However, unlike Euchre, you may play trump, even if you have the suit in question, to take the trick. So, you must follow suit, unless you play trump.

The person who calls trump (the winning bidder) starts the first trick. The winner of each trick starts the next trick. The hand is over when all six tricks are played and collected.


There are a possible five points available in each hand.

If you bid, and did not get your bid, then you go back the number of points you bid; otherwise, you get the number of hand points you collected. If you defended, you get the number of hand points you collected.