Rook is a trick-taking game
for four players similar in play to bridge
, or forty-two
. It is wildly popular in Alabama
, in a similar way to Euchre
. The deck consists of fourteen numbered cards apiece for four colored suit
, and black
), plus the Rook card
(with a picture of a crow
-like bird on them--possibly the Corvus frugilegus
mentioned by our friend Webster 1913
Remove all 2's, 3's, and 4's from the deck. Deal a hand of ten cards to each player, and four cards face down in the center. The final card should go face up on the top of this center pile.
Bidding begins to the left of the dealer. Each player bids from 100 to 180 (in increments of five), according to how many points he and his partner (the person on the opposite side of the table) can win. (More about scoring later.) If a player does not want to raise the previous bid, the player must pass and cannot bid any more on that hand. If the last bidder on a hand is your partner, you may hold your partner's bid, and be allowed to bid again if your partner passes on the next round. (You may only hold the bid one time per hand, after which you must bid or pass.) Bidding continues until there is only one.
The high bidder adds the five cards in the middle to his hand and discards five cards. The high bidder calls a color for trumps and plays the first card.
Play continues with the player to the left of the high bidder. All players must follow suit unless they are out of the lead suit. The 1 is the highest card in a suit, followed by the fourteen. The Rook card is the highest member of the trump suit. (Cards in the trump suit beat cards in other suits.) When a player takes a trick, he or she gets to lead the next card.
Scoring: At the end of the round, each team tallies the point values for the cards it has captured. The team who took the last trick gets the cards that the high bidder discarded at the beginning of the round.
- the Rook is worth 20 points
- each 1 is worth 15 points
- 10's and 14's are worth 10 points
- 5's are worth 5 points
The team that lost the bid gets the number of points that it made. The team that won the bid, if it made it, gets the number of points that it captured. If the bidding team did not make their bid, they lose as many points as they bid.
The player to the left of the previous dealer deals the next hand. Play continues until one team reaches 500 (in which case they win) or -500 (in which case the other team wins).
If a team is doing badly or a player has an excellent hand, he can "shoot the moon." If the team is out of the hole and gets all tricks in that hand, they win the game. If the team is in the hole, their score is reset to zero.
This is only one of many variations on the game. (such as black two or red eight.) For a complete list of rules (including the real rules) consult the manual that comes with the deck of cards, or consult your friendly neighborhood Seasoned Rook Pro, or reference librarian.