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Subject: The best rules for playing the Rook card rss

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The original game seems to have been played without the Rook card. But it seems that there are different ways to play the game even if the Rook card is played, e.g. by adding more point cards, playing with a complete deck, or even making the Rook the lowest trump. What do you think are the best rules for playing the Rook card, and why?
 
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Darin Stephenson
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Re: Reflections on whether or not to use the Rook card
Hi Ender,

I grew up playing a lot of Rook -- it was the family game of choice in NE Kentucky. We played a Kentucky Discard variant -- with 1-14 and the Rook, and a nest of 5. However, we played 1 low and worth no points -- so there were a lot of tricks that fell with no points. (Wow, look, I won a 2, a 3, a 4 and a 9!) On the other hand, the 10s were a little more powerful -- sometimes you could win a trick by playing a 10 as the 4th card. The Rook was the highest trump and worth 20 points. (My family would have totally rejected any version that didn't include the Rook card as the high trump.)

I'd play this anytime with my family, even today. It is a fun game and has a lot of good memories attached. However, it isn't a very strategic version. The Rook is just too powerful as highest trump worth 20 out of 120 points. The side w/o the Rook can't bid up the side with it to make scoring interesting. It is difficult to make 80 without the Rook, and it is usually downright easy to make 80 with the Rook and a little support.

So...if I were choosing a variant to play today, I'd probably try a Rook low/20 point variant, just to see how it changes the game. I'd probably try it with either 1-14 (1 low, no points) or 5-14, just because my family totally rejects any version where the 1 is higher than anything or where 1 is worth points! That said, I'd be interested to try other variants, as well.

-Darin
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Jonathan Morton
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Re: Reflections on whether or not to use the Rook card
The version I've played the most and enjoy the most is similar to your 1-High Partnership Variation, but with a nest of 5 cards. The bigger nest adds more risk to the bidding (or not bidding), which to me makes the game more interesting.

I also like what we call "Mystery Partner" Rook, which is a very nice option to have when you have 5 players. Each person bids individually, with the winning bidder naming his partner as the person who holds a certain card (most times he'll call for the Rook or a high trump). Each player except the mystery partner then has to play for himself until he figures out who is teamed with who for that hand. The bidding partnership and non-bidding threesome score together for the hand, with overall score tracked individually.
 
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Re: Reflections on whether or not to use the Rook card
ejamer:
Thanks for your post. The variant you describe is virtually identical to the Buckeye variant mentioned in Rook in a Book, and described in this thread:
Official Rules For Four-Player Partnership Rook
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/185722
Buckeye is called Kentucky Rook on pagat.com's page on Rook.
The only main difference seems to be the value of the Rook that you use relative to the other trump cards (between 10 and 11, instead of above 14). Giving it a relative value of 10.5 is an interesting modification, I'd welcome hearing from others who play this way also, and what are the advantages and disadvantages of this.

Do you find that the proportion of point cards (four out of eleven) is too high in this variant since you don't use the 2s, 3s and 4s? Have you ever tried playing with all cards (1-14), similar to the 1-High Partnership variant? In both the Kentucky Discard variant (3 point cards, cards 5-14) and the 1-High Partnership variant (4 point cards, cards 1-14) the point cards are about 30% of all the cards, in the Buckeye variant they are nearly 40% - I'm curious what impact this has on gameplay.

Thanks also to the other posters for your helpful responses posted thus far!
 
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