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Getting Started

Quick links: how to start/join a table » | how to join a tournament »

1. Application

Before playing at StepBridge you must apply for an account by filling out the form on the website. Go to www.stepbridge.com.au; in the menu choose 'Sign Up'. You will find instructions for filling out the form on this page. After having applied for membership you will receive an automated confirmation message, with your application data. If you have not received a confirmation message within one hour, please send a message to admin@stepbridge.com.au. Within two days - or earlier - after having applied for membership, you will receive per email your user name and password with which you log in to StepBridge.

2. Installing StepBridge

To play at StepBridge, a separate program called the “client” is used. StepBridge does not run from your browser. You can download StepBridge's installation program from the website. Go to www.stepbridge.com.au and choose "Download" from the menu. The download instructions are on the download page.

3. Starting StepBridge

After receiving your user name and password and after the installation is completed, you can start StepBridge. Always be connected to the Internet before starting StepBridge.

Doubleclick on the StepBridge icon on your desktop to start StepBridge. The icon looks like a stylized hand full of cards. If the icon is not on your desktop, restart your computer, after which the icon will be seen. Alternatively, you can start StepBridge from the Windows Start Menu. Click on Start, go to Programs and click on StepBridge.

After starting StepBridge, the login screen will be shown. Before logging in, you must create your account with the data from the application confirmation you received after applying for membership. Click on 'Add' to create an account and type your name and password. For security reasons the password will appear as asterisks (*****). Click on 'OK' to save your account. After you have saved your account and have returned to the login screen, you click on 'Login'. If all went well, you will now see on the bottom of your screen, in the message box - highlighted in blue -, that you have entered the club and you are in the lobby. The lobby is the central point for all bridge players not seated at a table. Everyone entering the club starts in the lobby, the starting point for all actions. The names of all players are shown alphabetically. You will find your own user name here. See below.

4. Tables

After logging in at StepBridge you enter the lobby where you see all the tables with play in progress. You can recall the 'Tables' location at any time by choosing “Tables” in the menu “View”.

In the “Tables” menu all tables with play in progress are shown, including the lobby, which is always on top. In the column in the middle all table names are shown. The table name is the user hosting the table at that time. As soon as the table is transferred to someone else, the table name will change. More below about being table host.

The other columns in the “Tables” location show:
• The playing mode at the table - pairs or imps.
• The table mode: competitive or recreational.
• Level: the play level at this table - 1 = lowest level / 9 = highest level.
• The number of people present at the table.
• Table label - additional info by the table host about the table. Generally this is seldom used by the players.

By ticking “Top” in the box on the lower right of the screen, the “Tables” location will remain on top of the main screen. Useful if your computer has a large screen.

5. Joining a table

Select a table by clicking on it. On the right side of the 'Tables' all players present, visitors and kibitzers (spectators) are shown. This is how you join a table:

  1. Select the table and click on "Join Table" or
  2. Doubleclick on the table name.

'Tables' will now disappear and in the chat box below you see - highlighted in blue - “you have joined table (table name)”. On this screen you see the table diagram with the North, East, South and West seats. On the upper right of the screen a box shows the players now present. You always join a table as a visitor. If you remain a visitor, you will not see any cards, but you can send messages to your fellow visitors by typing your message behind “Message” on the line above the chat box. To send the message, click on 'enter'. If you become a kibitzer, click below “Location” on “Become Spectator”; you will see all the hands. The next paragraph explains how to start playing.

6. Starting play

If you join a table with a vacant chair (FREE), ask the players present if you may join them. Many players think it is bad manners to sit down without asking. Sometimes the players are waiting for a specific player or they are checking if their system cards are compatible. Type your question (example: "ok to sit? can I sit?") in the chat area and press 'enter'. You will see your question preceded by your name in the chat area so everyone knows you are the sender.

When asked to sit down, doubleclick on a vacant chair to be seated. Clicking below “Location” and “Sit” can also seat you. As soon as all chairs are occupied, the game starts. In StepBridge there are no computer opponents / partners.

7. Bidding and Play

The Bidding
If a chair is highlighted in blue it is that player's turn to bid. At your turn to bid the bidding box will automatically appear on your screen. To reposition the bidding box on your screen, read the hint at the end of this paragraph. You bid by clicking on the bid and then on “OK”. If you make an alertable conventional bid, click on "OK + Alert". In StepBridge you must alert your own bids and not your partner's bids. Please see the StepBridge Rules. Whenever you have alerted a bid, the bid will have an asterisk behind it, visible to you and your opponents, but not to your partner.

The System Card
Every player on StepBridge fills out his/her own system card. By doubleclicking on a player's user name you will see his/her system card and possibly some personal information. You can fill out your own system card or, at a later date, change it by clicking below “Club” on “Identity”. Enter your bidding system and discards in the box. There is a maximum of 250 characters for your system card.

The Play
Playing the cards is easy: at your turn to play, your name will be highlighted in blue. Click on the card you want to play. When you are dummy you will also see the leader's hand. The tricks disappear automatically; if you want to review the last trick, right-click on your mouse, click on “last trick played”; or go to the menu “Play” and click on “last trick played”.

Hint: in “Club” you can click “Options”. Here you decide on sound or no sound, the color sequence of the cards and more options.
Hint: The boxes shown on the StepBridge screen during play, such as the bidding box and the bidding board, can be repositioned. If the bidding box or some other box is hiding your cards, reposition it:
1. Click with your left mouse button on the blue top bar
2. Hold the button pressed down
3. Drag the box to an empty spot and
4. Release the mouse button.

8. Starting a table

You can also start a table. After logging in, when you are in the lobby, click on “Serve Table”. The “Serve Table” box appears on screen. It is not obligatory to label the table but it is useful for indicating the level of play at this table. Specify if the table is to be competitive or recreational. At the same time specify the level of play at your table. Click on OK; your table is now open for play. The chat box will show a message in blue.

When starting a table, ask for fellow players by typing a message in the chat box. Click on the arrow next to “To”, select “Lobby” and press 'enter'. As soon as you have served you automatically become the table host. A table host has more options than the other players. You can find these options in the pull-down menu below “Hosting”. Difference between competitive tables and recreational tables: after playing 15 boards at a competitive table you are notified if you are promoted to the next level, relegated to the next lower level or if you have consolidated your level. At recreational tables board results do not effect either promotion or relegation.

Hint: we recommend starting at StepBridge by joining tables already open. Being table host carries certain responsibilities you ought to be familiar with before serving a table. The StepBridge rules will explain.

9. Results

After the game is over, a scoreboard with the results of the last board is shown. On the bar just above the chat box you see both the score of the board just played and the average score at the table. The average score is the average of all scores you have obtained at this table. The table host can reset this score at any time. This will not affect your competition results.

After the game is over you will also see a box “Board results”: within this box there are three tab pages:
Tab 1 (Boards) shows all the boards you have watched or played since your login.
Tab 2 (Field) shows the scores of other players on the board selected in tab 1
Tab 3 (Detail) shows a complete diagram of the board, the bidding and play, selected in tab 1.
The board result box disappears at your turn to bid the next board. To recall the result box, press F7 or go to “View” a Board Results.

In the “View” menu you will also find “Competition results”; here you find all the boards and scores you have played. After 15 boards your final result is evaluated and accordingly you will be promoted, relegated or be consolidated. For more info see 'Competition' on www.stepbridge.com.au.

Hint: If you want the scoreboard to stay in view, tick the 'Top' box on the upper left of the screen.

10. Shortcut Keys

The menu commands below can be executed through the Fast Keys:

Command Shortcut Keys
Help F1
Claim F2
View bidding F3
View last trick F4
Undo F5
All Tables F6
Board results F7
Competition results F8
Friends F9
Played board F11

11. Abbreviations

Below some much-used abbreviations to facilitate typing:

Abbreviation Meaning
brb be right back
Ty/ typ / thx/ tx thank you partner
wdp well done partner
np/npp no problem partner
imo/imho in my opinion
gl/glp good luck partner
cu goodbye
gla good luck all

You can also type so-called 'emoticons'. These symbols convey emotion to your message. An emoticon can be read as a smiley face and should be read by mentally turning the symbol a quarter turn.

Emoticon Meaning
:) or :-) Happy
:( of :-( Sad
;) of ;-) Just kidding
:p of :-p Gotcha

12. Multiple accounts on a single computer

If several people want to play at StepBridge on a single computer, separate accounts for each user must be opened. Fill out the application form on the StepBridge website. Before using multiple accounts, the automatic login function must be disabled. Go to 'Club' then 'Options' and disable the box "automatic login after startup". If the box has not been ticked, there is no need to change anything. Click on OK to close the Options screen.

Exit StepBridge and restart the program. After the login screen appears, choose "Add" to add an account. Fill out all data for the present account, click on OK to confirm. The account has now been added to the list of accounts. From now on, after startup you can choose which account you log in.

13. Exiting StepBridge

When exiting StepBridge, choose in the “Club” menu “Exit”, or click once on the X on the upper right of the main screen. You will now exit the club and the program is closed. If you want to leave the club but not the program, click in the “Club” menu on “Leave”. If you decide to leave during play, announce this to the table before the last board. Leaving without announcing this in advance to your table is considered as very impolite.

14. Conclusion

We hope this manual will help you in exploring StepBridge. If you have further questions, please mail to admin@stepbridge.com.au. Or ask your table to help you; most players will be only too happy to help you out.

We wish you a lot of fun playing at StepBridge.