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Subject: Better than most major card games rss

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cheapas gamer
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Describing the play in Rook isn't really all that valuable, as there are tons of variations on the game. I think I'm most used to a version called "Buckeye"... or something. The gist, though, is that this is a point-taking game somewhat similar to Spades, but where you call the trump suit based on bidding, with the addition of the supercard that is the titular Rook. Point cards in various denominations are spread throughout the deck, with 5s worth 5 points, 10s and 14s worth 10, and most variations include some other scoring cards worth different values from there. Rules for a standard game are included and that version of the game plays great, but most standard rulebooks even give a nod to variations in their text. There's also a bidding element to Rook that takes some practice, but comes easily, and doesn't overcomplicate the experience.

The game and its deck were originally invented because of the fear that regular playing cards and their association with the Tarot made them "evil". Rook cards removed all associations with the Tarot beyond keeping 4 suits, and there are even 14 cards per suit instead of 13 to avoid that unlucky number. Take out the Rook and 14s, pretend 11-13 are royal cards, and a Rook deck can be used to play any standard card game, with 1s as Aces. The minimal artwork of the rook cards is balanced by having 4 colors, so the visual variety is really pretty even.

Rook is best played with 4 people, although there are variations for 2 to 8 and even solitare versions exist. An average game lasts somewhere between a half-hour and an hour, more or less depending on how often teams get "set", failing to make a bid and thus losing points.

If you like point-taking games like Spades or Hearts and you're looking for something new, Rook is a novel game to fill that role. If you're generally looking for something to fill a night with family and friends, choose Rook over similar games because it is more complex than most and thus more rewarding, while still being very easy to learn.

I've always loved Rook, and maybe I'm biased because it was my first card game of this nature, but I still greatly prefer it over Spades or Euchre, and would pick it over them any day.

For completeness, my variation, change the standard game with:
-Take out the 2s, 3s, and 4s
-1s are worth 15 points; 14,10=10; 5=5; Rook=20; Total 180
-Bidding starts at 100, with a medium difficulty bid around 130
-1s are a high card like an Ace, taking a 14
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Alex G

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cheapasgamer wrote:

Rook is best played with 4 people, although there are variations for 2 to 8 and even solitare versions exist.


My favorite Rook version is the 5-player variants where "every man is for himself" and the winner of the bid calls a card that decides the partnering for that round. Avoids the "you played poorly tonight!" problems of partner games, adds some subtlety to play, generally a nice trick-taking game.
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Travis Worthington
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2010 Releases ........................................ The Resistance, Haggis & Triumvirate ..................................... Now accepting submissions for 2011 releases ........................................ www.IndieBoardsandCards.com
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I saw Rook decks at walmart - like $5
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Just Another User
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If you're trying to teach a younger person how to play Bridge, Rook is a great way to introduce the gameplay and decision-making without the complicated bidding rules of Bridge. I played Rook quite a bit in middle school, and when my parents sat me down to play Bridge for the first time, I smoked them in the first round by playing a tricky hand well. I learned how to do this playing Rook.

I still don't understand the Bridge bidding system, though...
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Mark Gradin
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Most people I've met that really like the game play with the 180pt variation you mention. That's also how I learned to play. We always played that with the Rook ranked low (below 5), but I've also played Rook high and mid (between the 10 and 11). The main problem with Rook high is that it limits the number of "good" starting hands one can have--often the player who gets dealt the Rook doesn't bid, thinking "beat me if you can!" I rather like the Rook mid games since it is still a powerful enough card to worry about but the bids can still get above 150.

I also second the 5 player "call partner" variant, and love it with Rook low (playing Rook high is kind of pointless since the person who gets dealt it almost never bids and is always the partner), but you better be prepared to take the bid for 160+ sometimes!
 
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Jim Wickson
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Actually the Tarot was not well known amongst Americans at the time Rook was created. Rook was created in 1906 and the Rider Waite Smith Tarot (the first English language Tarot deck) appeared around 1910. Fundamentalists were opposed to playing cards primarily because of their use in gambling. Cartomancy with standard playing cards was actually more popular in America than Tarot reading prior to the 1960's.

We should also know by now that Tarot was originally intended for game playing especially users of the BoardGameGeek. The Tarot game is very similar to Rook as it is also a point trick game.
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Carthoris Pyramidos
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Rook with a Tarot deck
Jim W. is right about the history of Tarot. But it's certainly true that a Tarot deck can make a fine deck for Rook, with no need to compromise the rules the way that one would for playing cards with 13-card suits. The obvious solution is to use the Tarot ace through 10 as 1 through 10 of each suit in Rook, and to use the four court cards of each suit as 11 through 14.

The one outstanding question then, is the Rook card. Tarot provides 22 choices: any of the Trumps Major will serve! I say, use the Devil -- to spite the pious prudes who invented the Rook deck, and because it's "one more" (Spinal Tap reference intentional), a card numbered fifteen to exceed the fourteen of each of the small suits. devil
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Kevin A
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cheapasgamer wrote:

For completeness, my variation, change the standard game with:
-Take out the 2s, 3s, and 4s
-1s are worth 15 points; 14,10=10; 5=5; Rook=20; Total 180
-Bidding starts at 100, with a medium difficulty bid around 130
-1s are a high card like an Ace, taking a 14


This is the way I've always played the game as well.

If I'm at a holiday family gathering and we play cards it is usually Rook.

How do you treat the Rook card? Must be played as a trump or a wild card that can be played anytime? My dad grew up playing one way, my mother the other... so we always have to hash out which way we are playing before hand.
 
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