OBJECTIVE OF ROOK SLUFF: Take at least the amount of tricks bid, if not more, to earn points.
NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 6, 8, or 10 players
NUMBER OF CARDS: 2 Rook decks
RANK OF CARDS: 1 (high), 14, 13, 12, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2
TYPE OF GAME: Trick-Taking
AUDIENCE: All Ages
INTRODUCTION TO ROOK SLUFF
Rook Sluff is a North American card game that was adapted to be played with Rook cards. Rook Sluff is a derivative of Spades, which proves to be obvious by comparing their distinctive bidding styles and the Sluff bid, which is equal to the Nil. However, Rook Sluff uses a double deck and can accommodate 6 to 10 players (even numbers only). Players divide themselves into two equal teams, with players sat alternating teams (one person is sat between two members of the opposition).
THE CARDS & THE DEAL
A rook deck consists of 57 cards in total. The cards number from 1 to 14, with ones being the highest ranking cards, followed by 14, and downward sequentially. Rook cards come in four colors, as opposed to four suits. The colors are: red, green, yellow, and black, including a bird card. In Rook Sluff, the birds are removed from the deck, as are some lower ranking cards (depending on the number of players). The black cards are always trump cards.
- If the game has 8 players, all cards are used except for the birds. 112 cards
- If the game has 6 players, remove 2s (expect the red 2), 3s, 4s, both red 5s, and one 5 from the other colors. Each color is complete down to 6s. 84 cards
- If the game has 10 players, remove one red 5 and one green 5.
The dealer shuffles the deck and the player to their left cuts. Cards are dealt one at a time and face-down.
- 6 or 8 players – 14 cards each
- 10 players – 11 cards each
After each hand, the deal passes to the left.
The bid begins with the player sitting to the left of the dealer. Each player takes turns bidding the number of tricks they think they will take. Players cannot bid negatively. The bids of teams are summed. For example, on one team Player A bids 4, Player B bids 2, and Player C bids 1; their total bid is 7 (4+2+1).
A bid of zero is called a Sluff. A player who bids zero attempts to take no tricks.
The player closest to the dealer’s left who holds a red 2 leads in the first trick. Play passes to the left and each player tries to play a card of the same color or follow suit. If a player cannot follow suit, they may play a trump card (a black card), or if they do not have a trump card they may play any card in hand.
If a trump card is played, or multiple trump cards are played, the highest ranking one takes the trick. If there are no trumps in play, the highest ranking card of the color led with takes the trick (wins the trick). However, in the event there is a tie, the card that was played first takes the trick.
The winner of a trick leads in the next trick. This mechanism continues until a new round commences. Players may lead with trumps whenever they choose.
For more information on Trick-Taking cards games, click here.
Cumulative scores are kept for both teams.
- If a team takes as many tricks as they bid, they score 10 points for each bid on the team + 1 point per extra trick taken.
- Teams that take fewer tricks than bid score 0.
- For players who bid Sluff, if a player succeeds, their team scores an extra 50 points. If they fail to take 0 tricks, their team loses 50 points.
However, it is important to note that players who bid Sluff and take tricks, those tricks count toward reaching their team’s total bid.
The game ends after each player has dealt one time. The team with the highest total score wins the game!