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Rook Card Game: Our Complete Guide On How To Play It

Rook is a card game developed almost a century ago. Its appeal has stood the test of time, with the game moving down generations to be enjoyed by the young and old alike to date. Many variants of the game are in use, such as the Kentucky Rook and Call Partner, among others.

​What is the Rook Card Game?

Its unique selling point is the excitement generated through bidding and trick-taking, as the players take turns to outplay each other. It was launched by the Parker Brothers way back in 1906 and is played widely all over the world to this day.

Its initial purpose was to substitute conventional playing cards because of their objectionable association with fortune telling and gambling. It may not be played for such reasons currently, but for those who know the joy of the game, Rook card game remains an ever-appealing hobby.

How to Play

Rook uses jargon that will require a clear understanding before you can show off your game skills to the world. You will also require a Rook card deck before you begin. Take a look at everything you need to know to start playing Rook like a maestro!

Rook uses jargon that will require a clear understanding before you can show off your game skills to the world. You will also require a Rook card deck before you begin. Take a look at everything you need to know to start playing Rook like a maestro!

Learn The Lingo

Any Rook card game player must understand a few basic expressions of the game. Take a look at a few terms that are used in the game, and speak like a pro player in no time!

What Are Suits?

Suits are the classes of cards in a deck. Conventional 52-card decks contain 4 suits made of 13 cards each. These suits are the hearts, spades, clubs, and diamonds.

What Is A Trump Suit?

In some games that involve tricks, a particular suit may be given a more important role. This suit is called a trump suit, and those players who have cards belonging to this suit can play a winning trick as these cards are ranked above ‘plain suits,’ which are cards that are not part of the trump suit.

What Are Counters?

Playng cards on top of a ecobag

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Counters in a game of Rook are cards which have a specific point value.

What Are Tricks?

A trick is a round of cards provided by a player in a trick-taking game such as Rook. The highest ranked card wins the trick for the players or team with that card.

​What Will You Need?

Here’s what you need to organize a game of Rook –

  • Contact your players. These may range from 2 to 4 players. Find a comfortable setting and arrange for music or food, and get ready for a time of relaxation and companionship.
  • Rook the card game uses a deck of 57 cards. This is different from a conventional 52-card deck which has 13 cards per suit. A Rook card deck has 14 cards per suit.
  • Check for the ‘Rook’ card—This is a special card with the figure of a bird on it and the word ‘Rook’ written as well.

Choose a person to deal. Next, shuffle and deal the cards out as per the number of players, who sit opposite one another to avoid looking at each other’s cards. The last card of the deck is kept face-down on the table, and this bundle constitutes the ‘nest’ of cards. After this, you are all ready to start bidding, and trick-taking!

Make The Call

Poker chips near a bank notes

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It is a good idea to decide collectively on how many points will constitute a win. The maximum points for any round are 200, so decide on a limit of say, 500 or 1000 points, and then play for those many rounds, depending on the time and interest of the players.

Rules, Tips, & Strategies

Rook card game has specific rules and techniques that are to be followed.  Read on to master the rules and tips to ace your game –

The first step of the game is bidding, passing and calling trump. The objective here is to win the opening bid and get the opportunity to call trump. The trump outweighs all other cards and offers many advantages to the player who selects the trump suit.

Take a look at how to begin your game with ease-

  • Once the cards are dealt, the players take turns to bid, beginning with the player on the dealer’s left side. Take a good look at your cards and decide how much you want to bid. A minimum bid of 70 and a maximum of 200 are possible.
  • As the bid moves around the table, the players can advance it by 5 or choose to pass the bid onto the next player. The bid must increase with each player.
  • The bidding process goes on until all players have bid or passed, or else a maximum point level of 200 is reached. The player who passes cannot play a hand again in the same trick.
  • The player who bids maximum wins. The winner of the round gets to decide the trump suit. So try your best to win this round!
  • The ‘Rook’ card is always considered to be a part of the winning suit, irrespective of which suit is chosen by the winner of the bid. The value of the Rook card is that of the lowest trump.
  • The bid winner can also exchange his or her card with the face-down card, or swap it again if the original card is preferred.
  • Once the trump has been decided, each player passes 3 cards to the person on his or her left. These cards must be different from the initially dealt a hand, and not from the cards passed onto him or her.

Get Your Game On

The person seated on the left of the high bidder or dealer kick-starts the game by playing a card. Here, the aim of the other players is to follow suit.

There may be 3 ways to move ahead in the Rook card game –

  • If you have a card that can follow the leading card, go ahead and play it.
  • If you don’t have a card in the same suit, you can play a trump card that beats all other cards.
  • If you are completely out of luck and don’t have a trump card or a card to follow suit of the leading card, you can play any card. It is a good play to put up a low-value card in this case because the winner of the trick takes all the cards played.

So don’t let the winner derive a bigger advantage by playing a high card in this scenario.

The Winner Takes It All

The person who wins the trick gets to collect all cards that are face-down in the nest and accumulates all their points as well. He or she then leads the next trick.

To win the trick, the card should be –

  • The highest ranked card in the leading suit
  • The highest card in a trump suit,

Whichever player hands out the highest-ranked trump card will win. Trump cards will beat the other cards on any day!

Scoring Points

You can make a run for Rook trophy if the aim of the game is met and you outbid everyone.

Take a look at the waypoints are scored in this game –

  • The gameplay ceases the maximum points decided on initially are reached.
  • The trick ends when each player has taken a turn, by bidding or passing.
  • Ace is high, 2 is low, and counters retain their card value.
  • Each team adds its cards, and in a game twist, the winning team checks its initial score.

If its initial score is higher or equal to the total point score, they may add the initial score to their total points. The winning team loses the initial points if those are fewer than the total points. The losing team always gets to add their initial score to their total points.

​Tips To Take Your Rook Card Game To The Next Level

  • Bidding too high or too low is detrimental either way. If you or your team member secures less than the winning bid, you will lose those points. So be careful how you bid.
  • Always retain your Rook card and any cards of the trump suit. A card of the trump suit is more valuable than any high-value card that is from a non-trump or plain suit.
  • Count trump and keep an eye out for the other players’ card choices, keep looking to see what they discard and pick up, to get a sense of how many trump and non-trump cards they have.
  • If you win the bid, choose trump from which you have the most cards.

Rook is an entertaining card game that will help you fight boredom on days when you need something fun to keep you occupied. It relies on rules and the suspense of bidding, giving you the right blend of enjoyment and at the same time, stimulating your mind. As you move ahead in your understanding of the strategies involved, you can look forward to a more fun-filled and fulfilling Rook card game experience with friends and family.

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