Team Rook

A Rook variation contributed by William A. Robfogel who writes: "A group of us (3 couples) created this game when we wanted to play in teams - 3 men against the 3 women. It turned out to be a lot of fun so we wanted to make it available to others who are also interested."

Best with six (6) players divided into two (2) teams. Each team member is seated between the members of the other team around the table.

  1. If there are five (5) players you deal out a "Dummy Hand" to the team with two (2) players. The Dummy Hand always plays the card off the top of the deck, no matter what suit is led. This is always true, even when the Dummy Hand has to lead the first card of the trick.
  2. If there are four (4) players there would be 2 teams of 2 players each and two (2) Dummy Hands. The Dummy Hands always plays the card off the top of the deck, no matter what suit is led. This is always true, even when the Dummy Hand has to lead the first card of the play.

Use two decks of Rook Cards. Remove the 2, 3, and 4 cards of each color. There are a total of 90 cards, two (2) of each number of each color, plus two (2) Rook cards. The 1 cards of each color are the highest cards in strength. The trump cards are higher than any card of the other colors. The Rook card is always trump but is the LOWEST trump in strength, though highest in value. If Trump is led and you only have the Rook card, you must play it. If someone leads the Rook card, all who have trump cards must play trump.

Card Strengths and Values. Cards are listed in Strength Order - Strongest first

CardValue
115
1415
130
120
110
1010
90
80
70
60
55
Rook Card*20

* The Rook card is always trump and stronger than any non-trump card but the weakest of the entire trump color.

All Trump cards are stronger than any cards of all the other colors.

Purpose

The purpose of the game is to win as many points as possible. The first team to make 1000 points or more wins the Game. If the players want to make the final winning score higher, they may do so.

Dealing

The Dealer deals out all the cards. Each player gets 14 cards and six (6) cards are dealt into a center pile. This pile is awarded to the winning bidder. The winning bidder takes the cards he wants from the pile and discards other cards from his hand so that there are still 14 cards in his hand and 6 cards in the pile. NO POINT CARDS MAY BE DISCARDED.

Bidding

The person to the left of the dealer is the first bidder. The person to his left bids next and so on until each person has bid or passed. If a player passes, he can’t bid again in that hand. There are a total of 400 points in each hand. Bidding begins at 200. If the next person wants to raise the bid, he must do so by at least 5 and in increments of 5. The person with the winning bid names trump.

Example: Each of the 6 players bid as follows: 200, 205, 215, pass, 220, pass (4 players have made a bid and 2 passed). Bidding continues by the remaining 4 bidders: 230, pass, 235, pass, 240. There are now 2 bidders remaining. If the 1st bidder passes, the remaining bidder wins the bid at 240. If the 1st bidder raises the bid to 245 and the 2nd bidder passes, the 1st bidder wins the bid at 245. If both players raise the bid, they continue to bid until one of them passes.

The highest possible bid is 400. If someone bids 400 it means that they must take all the points or fails to make the bid. If the winning bidder bids 250, he must take at least 250 points in that hand. If the bidder fails to make his bid, his bid is deducted from his team's total score. Whatever points the opposing team gets are added to their team score. If the bidder makes his bid, all the points his team wins is added to their total score and the opposing teams gets the points they won.

Example: If the bidding team bid 240 and wins 280 points, 280 is added to their total score. The opposing team gets 120 points. If the bidding team bid 240 and only wins 235 points, 240 points are deducted from his teams score. The opposing team gets 165 points.

If all players apart from the dealer pass, the dealer is forced to bid 200.

Play

The player to the left of the winning bidder plays first. Play continues to the left, each player playing in turn. All players must follow suit (play the same color) if they have that color. If a player does not have the color, he may play trump seeking to win the trick [round], or play some other card if he has no trump or does not want to win the trick. The high card wins each trick - for example if a 1 red is led, it is the high card and takes the trick unless it is trumped. If his card remains the highest card and he takes the trick, he leads the next trick. Who ever takes a trick leads off the next trick until the hand is played out. Each player seeks to give his point cards to his own team when he thinks they will win the trick, or play a non-point card if he thinks they will lose the trick. The hand is over when all the players have played all their cards. After the scores are added up and recorded, the person to the left of the previous dealer deals the next hand.

Scoring

After each hand, each team adds up the total points in the tricks they have won. The total points of each hand of both teams together must equal 400 points. The score is recorded by the score keeper. The first team that wins at least 1000 points (or whatever the final high score is that was agreed upon by all the placers) wins the game. If both teams reach the target in the same hand, the team with the higher score wins. Some aspects of scoring are covered better in the examples given in Bidding.