I first discovered the game of Rummikub when I was 18. My boyfriend, now husband, played the game all of the time with his friends. I started to join in and was hooked from the very first game. Now, every Friday night, my husband and I, along with two of our friends, get together to play a few games of Rummikub.
How to Play
Rummikub is a game played with 2-4 players. The game pieces consist of 106 tiles with the numbers 1-13 on them. The numbers are in 4 different colors: blue, red, orange, and black. There are also 4 playing racks for the tiles and some come with a tile pouch to keep the tiles in. Depending on the edition of the game, different or more pieces may come with the game.
The object of the game is to get rid of all of your tiles and yell, “Rummikub!” before the other people. Sound easy? Think again! This game can get down right nasty!
The game starts with everyone choosing a tile to see who will go first. The person with the highest tile gets to choose their tiles first and it goes to the left from there. Everyone starts off with 14 tiles.
In order to lay down tiles, they have to consist of three of a kind, of different colors, or a run of three or more, of the same color. You can also add tiles to other people's sets and runs once you have laid down tiles. You cannot lay down any tiles until the total of the numbers is 30.
So, let's say that I have three 2's and a run of 1-2-3-4. The total of this is only 16 so I would not be able to lay down any tiles until I acquired more tiles to increase the total to 30. Once I have a total of 30, I can lay down and start to lay down on other people's set and runs. This is were things can get complicated if you are not paying attention.
If you do not have a total of 30 in tiles or cannot lay anything down on your turn, you have to pick a tile. It can take awhile to accumulate 30 in tiles so be prepared to hold down a lot of tiles when the game first starts.
You can move and rearrange tiles that are in play to get rid of your own however, there always has to be at least 3 tiles in a set or a run. If there are more than three, the extra tiles can be moved and used to create new sets and runs. So, let's say that I have a black 2 and 3. There is a black run of 4-5-6-7 in play, then I can take the 4 to use to create my own run and get rid of 2 tiles. There is a time limit of 2 minutes per person, however when I play we do not use a time limit because sometimes the best moves come after sitting and looking at the tiles that are in play and sometimes that takes more than 2 minutes.
There are also 2 tiles that have a smiley face on them and they are wilds. They can be used in any combination of a set or run to complete the move. If someone else has the tile that you used as a wild, they can replace the wild with that tile and can use the wild for their own purposes. Any time tiles that are in play are moved around, all the tiles that are moved have to be played. There cannot be any orphan tiles on the board and they always have to be in at least a set or run of three.
Give It A Go!
The hardest part is trying to get your moves in before other people mess up the tiles that are in play. You could have a tile that you could use in a specific spot, but the other players can mess it up before your turn. It can get quite competitive when everyone is competing for the same tiles!
Rummikub was first developed in Israel by Ephraim Hertzano. He developed the game in the backyard of his home combining the already popular games of rummy, chess, dominoes, and mah-jongg. He began selling the game door-to door. A few years later it was Israel's #1 export game and in 1977 it became the number one best selling game in the United States.
This game is great for family night or just hanging out with friends. It requires skill and thought to outwit the other players-my husband usually wins when we play! Having the ability to move the tiles mentally and then being able to duplicate the moves when it is your turn is one of the keys to successfully playing Rummikub. To us it doesn't matter who wins, as we do it for the fun of the competition. Socially drinking, laughter, craziness, and Rummikub are the perfect ingredients for a great night with friends. Get yours today and start a game night of your own!
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