A single Bridge is a terminal Silver. Like most of the terminal Silvers (Swindler, Woodcutter, Chancellor) it gives you a little plus: you could think of it as a Silver with +Buy that gives you $1 more per buy. So it’s a little more flexible than a Silver if you want to pick up cheap junk, but otherwise not all that interesting.
The real power of Bridge, of course, is stacking them on top of each other. King’s Court and Throne Room are easy examples: KC – KC – Bridge – Bridge – Bridge is the original megaturn combo, which gives you -9 to all costs, $9, and 9 buys. It is guaranteed to be able to buy out
9 10 Provinces in a single turn (enough to empty the stack in 2p), and with a little help can even empty 9 10 Colonies. The key tipping point is when you have enough Bridges such that your target purchase costs $0: now your purchasing power is suddenly no longer limited by your money, but by your +Buy.
As most people realize, it’s difficult to play a mega-stack of Bridges without +Actions. Chaining KC’s and TR’s will only get you so far. But the true hidden crux of the Bridge megaturn is +Cards. You can’t get enough Bridges in play unless you have some way of drawing them all. This is why a simple Village / Bridge doesn’t get you very far: with just five cards in hand, you can’t rely on drawing enough Bridges to do what you want. (Native Village/Bridge being a somewhat odd exception.)
In that sense Bridge is the archetypal “engine” card. If you’re playing mostly just money, then there is surely a superior terminal for your deck than Bridge. But with +Actions and +Cards, Bridge’s power accelerates with each Bridge added. Bridge shines with cards like Tactician, City, and Wharf: the typical mega-turn cards. In other words, Bridge is only worthwhile if you can play 2, 3, 4, etc. of them on a single turn, looking to empty all the piles at once. On boards where you have no real way of doing this, you may as well look elsewhere.
It is technically possible to use Bridges to have some fun with Swindler, Upgrade, Saboteur, etc. In practice, this will not work. Don’t bother. Highway is the card with which to do that; if anything, you’re more likely to shoot yourself in the foot with Bridge and trash-for-benefit cards like Bishop (which suddenly gets a whole lot worse once you’ve played a lot of Bridges). You may as well just be playing an extra Bridge instead of going for these shenanigans.
In many ways Bridge is a lot like Goons, and indeed the two work very well together. Buy phase synergy is a multiplicative product of three factors: +Buy, cost reduction, and buy duplication (with VP per buy being a special added factor for Goons). A single factor doesn’t do much: it doesn’t matter how cheap Peddler is if you only have one Buy. The power of Goons and Bridge derives from the fact that they are both “buy multipliers”: they each provide explosive buy phase synergy because they add multiple factors to the equation. (This is incidentally why Highway will never be as good as Bridge: although it’s easier to stack, it is only giving you one of those four factors, and you need another one to make it worthwhile.)
- Other Bridges
- Engine games built around a mega-turn:
- +Actions, +Cards (Tactician, City, etc.)
- King’s Court / Throne Room
- More +Buy
- Native Village/Bridge
- Cards that contribute to a three-pile ending (and therefore advantage a mega-turn build): cheap alternative VPs, attractive Kingdom cards that will empty out
- Other buy phase synergy cards (Talisman, Goons)
- Money games
- Attack-driven games
- Your own trash-for-benefit