Playing Rummikub

Like the Rummy card games, Rummikub is easy to understand but somewhat hard to master. The concept of Rummikub is simple—a player wins if he or she was able to use all the tiles in his or her rack—but, just like the card games from which it was probably based, it also takes a lot of skill to master. Rummikub requires players to analyze and to predict probabilities, making it a great educational toy for children and a challenging game for adults. While children may enjoy Rummikub because of its bright and engaging design, Rummikub has an adult following because its game play is like that of a card game with all its features and challenges.

Beginning the game  

A Rummikub set contains 106 tiles—104 of these tiles are number tiles while the remaining two tiles are joker tiles. The tiles come in four colors—yellow, black, blue, and red—and the numbers range from one to thirteen. Most sets also contain a tile rack where one can store their tiles without revealing them to the opponent, like the tile rack used in Scrabble. Two to four players can play Rummikub. Each player receives 14 tiles, randomly picked from the facedown pile. Before this, however, players must first determine who gets to play first by picking one tile from the tile pile. The player who picks the tile with the highest value plays first, with the game proceeding clockwise. The initial tiles are then returned to the pool. Once these are established, the players can start playing Rummikub.

Rummikub’s game play

The initial meld of the players must add up to at least 30 (based on the number of the tile). Subsequent players cannot use the tiles of other players to create their initial melds. A player who cannot create the initial meld must pick a penalty tile from the tile pile. Once the initial meld has been made, players must create melds using the tiles on the table on adding tiles from his rack to the tile already at play. The concept of melds or tile combinations was derived from the concept of melds in Rummy. In Rummy, the player can create a meld by creating a group or a sequence or run. The concept is the same in Rummikub. In Rummikub, one can create a run by combining three or more tiles of the same color in a consecutive number sequence (or example, red tiles numbered one to four). A group in Rummikub, on the other hand, is a combination of tiles of the same number, disregarding the color. Obviously, the idea is very similar to the melds of Rummy, with the card suits replaced with colors. However, unlike in Rummy, the players do not keep their tiles while creating melds. Rather, the players in Rummikub have to create melds on the table using his tiles combined to the tiles already at play considering the rules for melds. The tiles on the table will remain on pay until the game ends; hence instructions for the game include players considering the playing space. This is also why players are encouraged to use Rummikub sets instead of cards to play the card. Provided, people can play Rummikub (or, at least, a card game using Rummikub rules) uses cards, but it gets difficult when the cards on a person’s hand and the cards on the table become large. A player who commits a mistake during creating a meld has to pick up three penalty tiles from the tile pile. A mistake happens when the player who initially thought a certain meld was possible was not able to complete the valid combination.

Winning in Rummikub

The game goes on until a player uses up all his tiles. The first person to use all his tiles wins. In the case that all the tiles in tile pile run out, the players have to continue playing until a player cannot make a valid move. In this case, the losing players add the value of their tiles. This score is considered as a negative score. Meanwhile, the winning player adds all the scores of the losing player and this will be this total score. When the tiles in the pile run out, the one with the lowest tile value on this rack wins. The losers’ scores will again be added to make up the winner’s score. As one can see Rummikub is both very similar and very different from the Rummikub card game. However, what is undeniable is that Rummikub is just as exciting and challenging as the popular card game, hence attracting millions of players worldwide.

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