Card games come in many forms, and there are classic playing card games and brand-new modern games. The Rook card game was first released in 1906, and while it might not be one of the “big name” games these days, it’s well worth playing and a lot of fun.
What is The Rook Card Game?
The Rook card game was developed by the Parker Brothers, who you probably know about because of their connection to Monopoly. But this card game plays very differently from the classic real estate board game.
Rook is a trick-taking card game, and while the rules might seem a little confusing at first, it’s actually much easier to play than it may first appear. The game is designed for four people, but players play together in teams of two.
Playing Rook also requires a special set of cards. We’ll outline how these work in greater detail below. But this isn’t a game you can play with just a regular deck of playing cards. If you’re a fan of trick-taking card games like Boston, Bridge, or Écarté, then you’ll feel right at home with this card game.
Many of the traditional trick-taking gameplay elements like bidding and winning tricks are all included here. But there are, of course, many unique elements included within the game as well. So, it offers plenty of new things for you to experience.
To win in the Rook card game: your team needs to be the first to score 300 points. Scoring is done by winning tricks, but you need to meet your original bid to score points. Even if you win more tricks, you will still lose if you fail to meet your bid!
Like many trick-taking card games, Rook is usually played over multiple rounds, but the game’s speed makes it a good choice for short/ quick gaming sessions. So, now you know more about the game, let’s take a look at what you’ll need to play it.
What You’ll Need To Play?
To play Rook, you’ll need a special Rook card set. While you can find older Rook card sets available, your best option will be to buy a new set that Hasbro manufactures. But whether you get an old or new set, the cards work the same though the designs might be slightly different.
Now, before we take a look at the rules for the Rook card game, let’s take a quick look at the cards themselves. While the special cards used in Rook might look like playing cards at first glance, they have some important differences.
The main difference is that you won’t see any face cards like Kings, Queens, or Jacks. There are also no Ace cards in the Rook card game, and there are more number cards involved. The cards go from 1 – 14 and come in four different colors; normally, these will be red, yellow, green, and black.
But this game isn’t called Rook for nothing, is it? You’ll find one special Rook card in the deck, which we’ll discuss in the rules section below.
Rules And Gameplay
The Aim of The Game
Your team needs to be the first to score 300 points To win in Rook! This might sound easy at first glance, but you’ll soon see there is more to the Rook card game than you might first think. Let’s get down to it and look at how the game is played.
The Deal Phase
To start a game of Rook, the first thing players need to do is organize themselves into two teams. Players should sit opposite each other and must keep their individual hands/ cards secret from each other.
Now only certain cards in Rook are worth points, these cards are known as counters, and we’ve listed the values for them below.
- 5 Cards – 5 Points
- 10 Cards – 10 Points
- 14 Cards – 10 Points
- Rook Card – 20 Points
To begin the deal, first choose a dealer; you can decide this however you want. The dealer should take the 1, 2, 3, and 4 cards from the deck and ensure the Rook is shuffled in. Cards are dealt one at a time to each player.
After every player receives one card, the dealer should deal five cards into the center. These center cards make up the nest, and five cards should be dealt into the center. The remaining cards should all be dealt with normally.
The Bidding Phase
Once the cards are dealt, players can begin bidding for the right to choose the trump suit. Bids must be made in increments of 5 points. Under normal rules, the lowest starting bid should be 70 points, with the maximum being 120 points.
The points bid will be what your team needs to score to win the round. Players can pass on their turn if they don’t want to increase the current bid. But be warned, if you pass, you can’t make another bid during the current round.
The winning bidder will take the 5 best cards from the center and selects another 5 cards from their current hand, and lays them down next to them. Once done, the winning bidder can choose their trump suit.
The dealer to the left will go first and should place any card they choose face-up in the center. The game continues clockwise, with each player putting one card face-up; the player who played the highest value card of the leading suit wins and takes the trick.
Players who follow the lead suit can also play the Rook card. Players with no cards in the lead suit can play any card. A player playing a card in the trump suit will beat any card from the lead suit. In other words, the highest trump suit will take the trick.
Any tricks that are won are placed face down in front of you. You can’t look at them till the end game phase. The game enters this end phase when all cards have been played, and all tricks have been taken.
When this happens, teams can begin tallying up their scores. Remember, only the counter cards will give you any points. If the team that bids successfully reaches (or exceeds) their bid, they score points equal to the number of counter cards taken.
However, if the team that bids successfully fails to reach their bid, their point total is instead deducted from their total. Yes, this means you can go into minus/ negative points in the Rook card game. The other team will also be awarded points equal to their counter card total.
Rook – An Old-School Trick-Taking Card Game!
Rook is a fun trick-taking card game that many people simply don’t know about these days. This is a shame because the game is a lot of fun, and to win, you’ll need to balance the risk and reward of bidding high or low. If you enjoy games like Spades, be sure to give Rook a try.