Rummikub is a tiled game for 2 to 4 players, pronounced as ‘Rummy-Cube’.
It was created by Ephraim Hertzano, a Romanian Jew, who wanted to replace the traditional card games with colour cubes. Hence, if you are familiar with the Rummy card game, you will find it easy to learn how to play Rummikub. Oh yes, some even call Rummikub the American-style Mahjong.
- 104 tiles of 4 colours (orange, red, blue, black)
- Each colour has 2 tiles of each number, and the numbers range from 1 to 13.
- The last 2 pieces are the wild tiles, also known as the Joker tiles.
- Every player gets 14 tiles at the start of the game.
- The first move of each player begins with placing a valid set(s) of at least 3 tiles on the table. It could be a sequence of tiles of the same colour and in increasing order OR a group of tiles of different colour and the same number. To increase the level of difficulty, the first move of each player must fulfil the earlier requirement AND that exceed a value of at least 30 points.
- If players are unable to play their first move, they draw 1 tile from the draw pile and pass their turn. This repeats until the player is able to play out their first move
- Once players make their first move, they could either make a new set(s) with the same criteria as (2) or make manipulations on existing sets. Players need to draw the number of tiles that they have passed out during their move.
- Types of manipulations
5.1 adding tiles to the existing set(s)
5.2 split existing set to create a new set; each set has at least 3 tiles
5.3 the joker tile can be used to substitute any other tile
5.4 replace the joker tile with the valid number and use it for another set. note that you cannot keep the joker tile for the next move
5.5 players can rearrange the tiles to dispose of more of his/her tiles. similarly, you cannot keep the tiles for the next move
- Play continues until a player clears all the tiles. This player is the winner.
- If no more tiles are in the draw pile, the play continues until a player clears all the tiles. This player is the winner.
- If no valid plays are possible, the player with the least number of remaining tiles is the winner.
Rummikub is a brain burner. It develops the working memory and logical thinking; it reinforces STEM skills like sequencing, pattern recognition, planning and decision making.
Rummikub is also a good activity for reinforcing social lessons; playing as a team, learning to be a good sport, turn-taking, and how to lose gracefully. I bet you will still be talking about the fun after the game!
If you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got.