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Toonerville Rook

This is a version of Contract Rummy played with several Rook decks. See also Rook Shanghai - another Contract Rummy game played with Rook cards.

The information below is more or less a copy of Steve Simpson's former Toonerville Rook page, last seen at

Toonerville Rook Card Game Directions


To have the lowest score at the end of the game. This is achieved by discarding your cards onto the play field and as few points against you as possible (which are left in your hand when someone wins the round).

Number of players

Three to five players per table. You can play tournament style in groups of three to five people. At the end of each round, move to another seat. Keep a master score sheet to record everyone's score as in single table Toonerville Rook.


One deck of Rook cards per person at the table. All decks are shuffled together so if you are sharing decks, it is helpful to have different backs for easy separation. Usually, the host provides a set of cards; four or five decks that can be used for play by everyone at the table.


A run is four or more cards of the same color (suit) in sequential order. "Wrap around" (13, 14, 1, 2, for example) is not allowed.


A set is three or more cards of the same number (and can be any combination of colors).

The Rook Card

The Rook card is a wild card. If the Rook is in a run on the play field, a player, during his turn may substitute the card that the Rook card represents, taking the Rook card and using it to play in his own hand. However, whenever a Rook card is taken in this fashion, it must be played during the player's turn. Note: Only Rook cards that are in runs may be substituted. Rook cards in sets may not be substituted.

A Player's Turn

At the beginning of a player's turn, a player must draw one card from either the deck or the discard pile. At the end of a player's turn a player must discard one card onto the discard pile, except when ending a round. (At the end of Round 11, a player must not discard when ending the round.) A player may not pick up from the discard pile and discard that same card.

At the beginning of a player's turn, if the player does not want the top card of the discard pile, the other players have the option to buy that card before the player draws a card from the deck.

Buying a Card

An opponent states that he wants the card on top of the discard pile by saying "I'll buy that!" If more than one opponent wants to buy the card, the buyer closest to the player's left receives the card. The player buying the card draws an additional card from the deck (two cards total). Then play resumes with the player whose turn it is drawing his card from the deck. After a card is bought in a turn, the player whose turn it is may not then draw from the discard pile and must draw from the deck.

Playing a Round

A player must obtain the specified number of runs and sets for any given round and play them on their field. When to play your cards is a matter of strategy.

A player may play cards on an opponent's play field if

  1. the player has played on his own play field with the required number of runs and sets for that round and
  2. the card played on an opponent's play field follows the rules for runs and sets.
Since play field points are not awarded, playing cards on an opponent's play field is simply a way of ridding your hand of extra cards.

When a player plays his last card on the field or discards his last card on the discard pile the round is over. Cards left in opponent's hands are tallied up and recorded. The player who plays his last card receives zero points.

Round 11 differs from the other rounds in that you must not discard at the end of the round. In other words, the card that you draw at the beginning of your turn must fit into the two runs and two sets you have been gathering so that you can lay your whole hand down at once. So take care in the amount of buying you do in Round 11.


  1. Two sets (deal 12 cards)
  2. One run and one set (deal 12 cards)
  3. Two runs (deal 12 cards)
  4. Three sets (deal 12 cards)
  5. One run and two sets (deal 12 cards)
  6. Two runs and one set (deal 12 cards)
  7. Four sets (deal 12 cards)
  8. Three runs (dea1 12 cards)
  9. Five sets (deal 15 cards)
  10. Four runs (deal 16 cards)
  11. Two runs and two sets (no discard at the end of the round) (deal 12 cards)


Rook rules were transcribed by Mark Metcalfe

Originally posted on the Web by Steve Simpson. This copy maintained by John McLeod.