Rook is a trick-taking game played with a deck of Rook playing cards. It was first sold in 1906 by Parker Brothers. At a time when many religous leaders called the playing of card games "evil", Rook was used as a way for people to enjoy the fun and was often referred to as Christian cards.
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 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.
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.
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 who 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.
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 (or a predetermined amount established by the players at the game's start) is the winner.
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 joker is worth 20 points.
Western New York Rook
The 1s 2s 3s and 4s are included in with the deal. Every player should have 13 cards and the "nest" or Kat (Kitty) should have 5. The Rook card is the lowest trump and is worth 20 points however you must follow suit whenever possible even with the Rook. The 1s are the highest of that one suit and are worth 15 points. When discarding cards in the Kat all counts must be face up to show how much the last trick could be worth. The last trick of the hand is worth 20 points and who ever takes the last trick gets all of the counts in the Kat. There are a total of 200 points every hand. The game ends at 500.
Played very similarly to Western New York Rook. 1s, 2s, 3s and 4s are included with the deal. Each player has 13 cards, with 5 in the kitty. The Rook is the highest trump and can be played at any time. If the Rook is led, all players must also play trump cards, if possible. The Rook is worth 20, 2s 15, 1s and 10s 10 and 5s 5, making a total of 180 points per hand. The cards discarded after taking the kitty are not counted. The game ends at 500.
Alternatively, you can play with a standard deck of cards, using the Joker as the Rook and dealing 3 cards to the kitty.
Woodson Patrick Rook
This form of Rook is played in Eastern Kentucky and some parts of Ohio. The 1s 2s 3s and 4s are not included in the deal. The Rook Card is the highest trump and is worth 20 points, however, unlike other forms of Rook, the Rook must follow suit whenever possible. Each player is dealt six cards with three cards placed in the "widow", or "nest". Players then look at their cards and bid for the nest. The bidding ranges from 65-120. If a player "Shoots the Moon", that is they bid 120, then they automatically win the game if he or she makes that bid. Players who take the bid may also call "turn it" before they make trumps. "Turn It" refers to the nest takers right to turn the top card of the deck and has to make trumps based on that color (this usually happens if a player has colors that spread out like 3-2-2, etc.). An optional rule is that players may swap one card before the bidder calls trumps. Players and bidders alike may not discard game of any sort. After a color has been named trumps players may discard cards that are not trumps or game (although they can throw down trumps if they wish) and try to draw for better cards. The game continues until a team reaches 300. This type of Rook is often referred to as Poker Rook. This version of the game was named after its inventor and a legendary player named Woodson Patrick of Hager, Kentucky.
Western Kentucky Rook
This style of Rook is played with all 1s, 2s, 3s, and 4s dicarded save for the Red 1.
4 players divide into teams of 2. All players are dealt a hand of 9 cards with a 6 card widow, or nest. If a players hand contains no counting cards 5, 10, 14, Rook, or Red 1 then a misdeal is called and the hands are redealt. Bidding, then, proceeds to the left of the dealer. Players may bid up 150 with the minimum bid being 70. Also, bidders may pass, they choose not to bid for widow, pass in-favor, which allows bidding to comtinue normally until bidding returns to the player that has passed in favor who then places his bid normally, (Note: Only one player per team my pass in-favor) and "Shoot the Moon, which is a bid of 150 and wins the game if the bid is made. Play continues with the window winner leading out and calling trumps. Scoring consists of 5=5, 10,14=10, Rook=20, and Red 1= 30. The Red 1 captures the Rook in this style of play. The Rook is the second dominant card in the deck. If the bidder goes set or doesn't make his/her bid then that team is set back their bid and the other team scores what they drew in through tricks. Play continues until one team has a score equal to or over 500.
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