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To be the first partnership to reach a total score of 300 points by capturing "Count Cards" in tricks. If both sides exceed 300 points at the end of the same hand, the higher total wins. In the case of a tie, another hand is played to determine the winner.

How to Play Partnership (Tournament) Rook
The Tournament version of Rook is a 4-player partnership game, where partners are seated diagonally across from each other.

The Deck of Cards
The basic deck consists of 56 cards numbered 1 through 14 in each of four different colors (green, red, black and yellow). For this game, the 1's, 2's, 3's, and 4's are removed from the deck and the Rook Bird card is added, for a total of 41 cards.

The Deal
Cards are dealt one at a time and include a 5-card "nest." Each player receives his or her first card, then one card is placed face down in the center of the table as the first nest card. This is repeated until there are 5 cards in the nest. The remaining cards are then dealt to the four players (for a total of 9 cards per player).

Only certain cards in the deck, called "Count Cards" or "Counters," have point values:

  • Each 5 = 5 points
  • Each 10 = 10 points
  • Each 14 = 10 points
  • Rook Bird = 20 points

The Counters are the only cards that have value for scoring. Each partnership's score is the sum of all the Count Cards in the tricks they captured.

Note: If the partnership does not capture enough Counters to make a score equal to the bid, the partnership is set back the full amount of the bid, and they get no credit for the Counters they captured. If they capture more than their bid, full credit is given for all Counters. If your partnership did not win the bid, you still receive points for your Count Cards.

Scoring example: The partnership that took the bid at 90 collected only 75 points in Count Cards. The full 90 points is deducted from their score (or they're given -90, if it's the first hand); they do not score the 75 points they did collect. Their opponents, who collected the remaining Count Cards, are given 45 points.

Players bid for the privilege of choosing the trump color. There is a great advantage in being the player who chooses trump color, since a trump card can capture any card of any other color. Your opening bid must be at least 70 points. Bids must be divisible by 5, such as 70, 75, 80. You are bidding the number of points (from Count Cards) you think you and your partner will be able to capture with your hands provided you are able to name the color that will be trump. If you captured all Count Cards you would score 120 points (the maximum number of points that can be scored). You should remember, there's always a risk when you take the bid!

Note: To calculate what you could bid, count up the value of the Count Cards in your hand. Look at the number of high cards you have, as well as the distribution of colors. If you have no cards of one suit, you can trump in (with the color you named) when that color is led and win the trick.

Bidding passes clockwise. You may, but need not, bid on your turn. Either bid at least 5 points higher than the last bidder or "pass." Having passed, you may not bid again that hand. Bidding continues in turn until no player will bid higher.

If you want to enter a bid, left-click on the up and down arrows to select your bid amount and then click the Bid button. Your bid will be shown to the other players, where they then have the option to up the bid. A successful bid will move you to the card exchange sequence.

If you do not wish to enter a bid, click on the "Pass" button. This will pass this option to the player on your left.

The Nest
The highest bidder adds the 5 cards in the nest to his/her hand, then lays down any 5 cards to one side. You may bury Count Cards in the new nest if you wish, or take this opportunity to discard one or two colors completely so you can trump these colors when they are led against you. The player who takes the last trick captures the nest as well; for this reason, you may want to put "eggs" into the nest, such as unprotected 10's and 5's, if you think you'll take the last trick.

Left-click on the cards you wish to exchange in your hand with any of the cards shown in the center of the screen. When finished, click the "Done" button.

After adding the nest to his or her hand and discarding five cards, the high bidder announces trump color, usually the color in which he or she holds the most cards. Left-click on the color you wish to use as trump.

The Gameplay
After trump color has been announced, the first player "leads" any card of any color face up to the center of the table. Play passes to the left, each player in turn playing one card face up. After each player has played, the highest card of the color led takes all the cards played. This is called "taking a trick." The person who takes the trick makes the next lead.

On your turn:

1. To place a card in play, left-click on one of your cards to select it.

2. Move the selected card above your hand. A card-shaped outline will appear indicating where you card will be placed.

3. Left-click to play the selected card.

Note: Unless you play the Rook Bird card, you must "follow suit" if possible. If you have a card of the color led, you must play that color. If you can't follow suit, you may throw away a worthless card, play the Rook Bird card, or play a trump. The highest card of the color led takes the trick unless this trick is trumped, in which case the highest trump takes the trick. The Rook Bird takes any trick on which it is played -- it trumps trump! Remember, you and your partner will add your Counters together so, if you think your partner may take the trick, play a Counter.

The player who takes the last trick captures the nest and scores any Counters found in it.

Rook Bird Card
This Rook uses the powerful Rook Bird card, which is used as the highest trump card no matter what color is named as trump.

You may play the Rook Bird card at any time, regardless of the color led and regardless of the other cards in your hand. It is the only card that has this privilege.

If led, all other players must play a trump, if they have one.

If trump color is led and you have no other trump card, you must play the Rook Bird.

How to Win
When all cards in the hand have been played, each partner-ship counts up the Count Cards it collected. The partners' scores are added together. Play continues until one partnership reaches 300 points and wins.

How to Play Original Rook
This version is essentially the same as the original game published in 1906, for 3 or 4 players. It is played with the entire deck, minus the Rook Bird card. The maximum bid, therefore, is 100 points. Games are played to 150 points. This version is not a partnership game, so all bids are for individual players only, and are scored accordingly. There is no minimum bid. Each player is dealt 14 cards. There is no nest. Note: In a 3-player game, the 1's, 2's, 3's and 4's are removed from the deck, and the person to the left of the dealer will end the hand with one extra card.

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