OBJECTIVE OF OVER THE TOP: Be the first player to earn 200 points or more
NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 2 players
NUMBER OF CARDS: 44 Rook playing cards
RANK OF CARDS: (low) 4 – 14 (high)
TYPE OF GAME: Trick taking
INTRODUCTION OF OVER THE TOP
Over the Top is a two player trick taking game that uses the 57 card Rook deck. The rules for this game were published by George S. Parker (of the Parker Bros.) in 1918. In this game, players have both a hand of cards as well as a battery of cards in front of them on the table. Players bid and capture tricks in a race to be the first to earn 200 points or more. Points are earned by capturing count cards.
THE CARDS & THE DEAL
From a 57 card Rook deck, remove the 1’s, 2’s, 3’s and Rook card. This results in a 44 card deck. The dealer first doles out ten cards one at a time to each player. This is the player’s hand.
Next, deal five cards to each player face down in a row to begin the battery. Follow that with five more cards dealt face up on top of the previously made rows. This completes the battery for each player.
Place the four remaining cards face down to form the nest.
Deal alternates each round.
The dealer begins the round with a bid of 50 or more. Bids must be made in 5 point increments. If a player does not want to raise the bid, they may pass. Bidding continues until one player passes. Whoever wins the bid determines the trump color for the round. They also pick up the nest and exchange up to four cards from their hand with cards from the nest. In this game, players may not leave count cards in the nest. They must remain in hand or be exchanged.
After the exchange, the nest is removed from play.
LEADING THE FIRST TRICK
Each trick consists of 4 cards.
The player that did not win the bid leads the first trick. They play any card from their hand. All following cards played to the trick must match the color that was led if able. The opposite player plays a card from their hand.
Along with the first two cards, the player that led now plays a face up card from their battery. Remember, the card played must match the color that was led if it can. The following player completes the trick with a face up card from their battery. The highest card in the color that is led or the highest trump card takes the trick. That player leads the next trick.
At the completion of a trick, turn any exposed face down battery cards face up.
If a player’s battery card captures the trick, the next trick must be led with a card from that battery. If a player’s hand card captures the trick, the next trick is led with a card from that player’s hand. Continue playing tricks as described above until all the cards are played.
Play rounds until one player wins.
If the player who won the bid captures enough tricks to meet it, both players earn points for the count cards they capture. 14’s and 10’s are worth 10 points each. 5’s are worth 5 points each.
If the player who won the bid fails to capture enough tricks to meet it, the bid winner earns zero points. The opposing player’s score is doubled for the round.
The first player to earn 200 points or more wins the game.