ROOK

From Academic Kids

ROOK is a trick-taking game played with a deck of Rook playing cards. It was first sold in 1906 by Parker Brothers.

Contents

Official Rules

Four players are organized into two teams of two players each, sitting opposite each other. Players must keep their hands secret from all other players, including their teammates. The object of the game is to be the first team to reach 300 points by capturing cards with a point value in tricks. If both teams have over 300 points at the end of a round, the team with the higher point total wins.

Only certain cards have a point value. These are known as counters. Each 5 is worth 5 points, each 10 and 14 is worth 10 points, and the Rook Bird card is worth 20 points.

The Deal

The 1s, the 2s, the 3s, and the 4s should be removed from the deck, and the Rook Bird card should be added, for a total of 41 cards. The dealer shuffles and cuts the deck, then deals all of the cards, one at a time. After every player has received his or her first card, the dealer places one card in the center of the table. This is repeated until there are five cards (the nest) in the middle of the table. The remaining cards are dealt normally.

Bidding

After the deal, players bid in increments of 5 points for the privilege of naming the trump suit. Bidding starts with the player to the left of the dealer and passes clockwise. The minimum bid is 70 points, and the maximum is 120 points (the number of points a team would make if they captured all the counters in the game). If a player chooses not to increase the bid, he may pass to the next player. A player that has passed may not make another bid for the round. The high bidder adds the five cards of the nest to his or her hand, then lays any five cards to the side. The high bidder then names the trump suit.

Play

After the trump suit has been named, the player to the left of the dealer places any card of any suit face-up on the center of the table. Play proceeds clockwise, with each player playing one card face-up in turn. After each player has played, the player that played the highest card of the suit of the leading card takes all of the cards played, or "takes the trick".

A player must either follow suit (play a card of the leading suit) or play the Rook Bird card. If a player has no cards of the leading suit, he or she may play any other card, including the Rook Bird card or a card of the trump suit. The highest card of the leading suit takes the trick, unless a trump card is played, in which case the highest trump card takes the trick.

If a player reneges, or fails to follow suit when he or she could have, the error may be corrected before the next trick is taken. If it is not discovered until later, the round ends, and the team that made the error loses a number of points equal to the bid, regardless of which team made the bid. The opponents score all the counters they captured before the error was discovered.

The person who takes the trick leads in the next trick. When a trick is taken, it is placed face-down in front of the player who took it. Tricks taken may not be reviewed by any player until the end of the round. The player that takes the last trick in a round captures the nest and scores any counters in it.

The Rook Bird card

The Rook Bird card is the highest trump card in the game. It takes any trick in which it is played.

You may play the Rook Bird card at any time, even if you are able to follow suit. It is the only card that may be played this way. If the Rook Bird card is led, all other players must play a trump card, if they have one. If the trump suit is led, and you have no other trump card, you must play the Rook Bird card.

Scoring

When all possible tricks have been taken, each team adds the counters it captured. If the bidding team failed to make the number of points bid, the team loses a number of points equal to the amount of the bid, and does not make any points for counters captured in the round. The opposing team receives points for any counters they captured.

The first team to reach 300 points is the winner.

Variants

Adaptation for standard playing cards

ROOK may be played with standard playing cards by removing the 2s, 3s, and 4s from the deck and adding the joker to be used as the Rook Bird card. Thus, each 5 is worth 5 points, each ace and 10 is worth 10 points, and the joker is worth 20 points. Aces play high in tricks.

One common variant for a standard deck is played by five players and is scored individually, not in teams. As above, a single joker serves as the Rook; however, it acts as the lowest trump (not the highest) and must follow suit as normal. The full standard deck is used; each player is dealt ten cards, and the nest is three cards. When the bid-winner puts down the modified nest, he also names any card not in his new hand: the player with that card becomes the partner of the declarer, but may not reveal herself except by playing the named card. The bid-winner may call a card in the nest to forgo the right to a partner. There are six trump options: any of the four suits, "high no-trump", or "low no-trump". In high no-trump, the Rook serves as the only trump, and high cards take tricks as normal. In low no-trump, the lowest card of the suit led takes the trick, and again the Rook serves as the only trump. At the bid-winner's option, either he or the player to his left may lead on the first trick. A hand is scored as if the declarer and his partner (if any) were one team, and the other three players were another. As above, aces are worth 15 points, kings 10, tens 10, fives 5, and the Rook is worth 20 points.

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