Product Type: Pressman Toys board games
Newest Review: ... I think this would be handy as it means they're less likely to be lost, and also they don't all have to be spread out face down on the tab... more
Great game, shame about the name!
Member Name: redhead78
Advantages: Good game for all the family to play
Disadvantages: Needs a lot of space, definitely not suitable for more than 4 players, long-winded instructions
Rummikub is a game of numbers and strategy that provides great entertainment across the generations. Created by the well known game company Hasbro it is widely available in shops such as WHSmith, Toys R Us and Amazon. The original game will set you back between £15 and £20 depending on where and when you buy it but it is also now available as a travel game and a "compact" game (what the difference is between these I don't know!) for around £20.
There have been many re-releases of this game and between us our family has most of them! Our box is green but the most current version is a nice vivid blue which you shouldn't have any trouble locating on a shop shelf. It has a picture showing a tile stand with some tiles on it, the view a player would have whilst playing the game. It also tells us that it is a game suitable for 2-4 players and that it is for ages 7 and above. It also tells us that Rummikub "brings people together". Personally I prefer this newer version of the box and am almost tempted to invest in a new set as our box is getting worn and tattered now and is a lot duller than this new one!
Inside the box (ours measures approx 16 inches by 9 inches) you should find 106 tiles, much like scrabble tiles only with numbers on rather than letters, 4 plastic tile stands and the game instructions. The tiles are numbered 1 to 13 in four different colours - red, yellow, blue and black and there are also a number of "jacks". The instructions are quite lengthy and detailed so it might be a good idea for one of the more switched on in your group to sit down for a few minutes going over them. Our family has been playing this game for years and we still keep the instructions handy when playing, for quick reference.
How to play.
Each player is given a tile stand and then all the tiles are placed face down in the middle of the table/game playing area. Everyone then takes 13 tiles and places them on their stand, keeping them out of sight of the other players. Each person then chooses another tile at random and whoever gets the highest number on their tile goes first, play then continues in a clockwise direction. It is very similar to the card game Rummie and is like a cross between that and Scrabble.
You have to put your tiles down in groups of 3 or 4 in either the same number in different colours or in a number run of the same colour. For example you could put down a red 2, blue 2 and yellow 2 or you could put down a red 2, red 3, red 4 and red 5. However, you cannot make your first move until the tiles you are putting down equal 30 or more. If you cannot make a move you have to pick up another tile from the table. The aim of the game is to be the first person to get rid of all of their tiles - this player then has to should Rummikub for the round to end.
Each Jack is worth 30 points so people don't like to keep them for very long! A Jack can be used as anything so if you have a blue 10, blue 12 and blue 13 you can put them down along with your Jack but you have to declare that you're using your Jack as a blue 11. Then if another player has a blue 11 they can then take your Jack and replace it with the proper tile on their turn.
This is a great game to get people thinking and being devious! When it is your turn you aren't just limited to using your own tiles, you can also use tiles that have already been placed on the table. So, for example if you had a red 4, red 6 and red 7 and there was already a full group of 5's down on the table you could take the red 5 away from it and place it with your tiles to complete your run. Alternatively if there was a group of three 5's down on the table - red 5, yellow 5 and blue 5 - but you had a black 5 in your hand you can replace the red 5 with the black 5 (so still leaving a group of at least 3 on the table) and use the red 5 yourself. The ways you can do this are unlimited, as long as you leave at least a group of three on the table at all times. Sometimes this can get very complicated and people end up making 6 or 7 different moves all at once in order to get rid of their tiles.
Winning the game.
This is a versatile game in respect that you can make it last for as long as you want. If you're short of time you can just play one round and whoever wins that round wins, or you can play a set number of rounds and whoever has the most points at the end wins, or you can set a target to reach so that the first person to reach 100, for example, wins.
At the end of a round the winner will have no tiles left on their stand. The other players count up the values on their remaining tiles and this becomes a negative number on their score. The winner of the round is awarded the total of all of the other players tiles. So if player one has a total of 7 left their score would be -7, player two has a total of 14 left their score would be -14 and player three has a total of 11 left their score would be -11 and the winner of the round would score 32.
I'd be lying if I said no. Whilst this is a game we all love to play there are a few problems with it. The first one is that when the tiles are all placed in the middle of the table it can get very crowded and confusing with the face down tiles waiting to be picked up and the face up tiles that players have placed down. To solve this my mum made a little drawstring bag so we place all our tiles in this to choose our initial 13 from and then pass it around as we play the game and players need to take one from it when they can't go. This saves a lot of space and confusion and moving around of the tiles on the table.
The scoring can get very confusing with the negative numbers and so you need someone that is quite good at maths to do the scoring, otherwise it can start to take ages at the end of each game to tot the totals up.
The instructions really are quite in depth so I would definitely recommend a couple of thorough readings before playing and keeping them close to hand during the game. It seems like every time we play we discover a new rule (eg you can't pick a Jack up from the table on your first turn and each turn should last a maximum of 1 minute - something we only discovered after about 7 years of playing it and a rule we tend to ignore!).
Because of the number of tiles and the number of stands provided this really is only suitable for 4 players so isn't a good game to bring out when there are lots of people. I also, personally, don't think it's as interesting or exciting to play with only 2 players so my husband and I very rarely play it by ourselves, only when we can make it up to 3 or 4 players.
As a family we LOVE this game. It is a rare get together that doesn't see Rummikub make an appearance. The good thing about it is that people from all generations can play and enjoy it. We don't have any very young children to play, but generally there are usually 3 generations of our family that play it at any one time. Once you get the hang of it it's very easy to understand and, as a game can last as long as you want or for as short a time as you want, it's a good one to get out when you're waiting for dinner to be ready and you can also split it so you have a round between each course for example. My mum especially likes this as she can tell us all to go play another round and leave her to get on with things in the kitchen without everyone getting under her feet trying to "help"!
Whilst initially it is quite tricky to understand all the little rules we have found that if a new player "shadows" a more experienced player for a couple of rounds they soon pick it up. Similarly, when our neighbours came around with their children the kids (who are 7 and 9) could easily get the hang of it with guidance from an adult. It is a great game to help with maths and strategy and includes not only counting and logic, but negative numbers as well. I used to be a primary teacher in a previous life and this was always a popular game for the quicker workers to play in numeracy lessons after they'd completed their work. They didn't even realise they were still doing maths in most cases!
When I saw that there was a travel version of Rummikub my immediate reaction was that I would just HAVE to have to one for our holidays this summer, but thinking about it rationally the travel version would be a bit of a waste of money I think. There is no way you could sit and play it in the departure lounge or in a moving car, for example so it's only a game that you would play at your destination. Our version is perfectly transportable when taken out of the box, which really is oversized for what's inside it, so if we took the stands and bag of tiles with us it wouldn't take up much room in a suitcase at all.
If you don't already have a Rummikub set then I would highly recommend it. It really is a game that brings everyone together (my 84 year old Grandma loves it and regularly plays it with her friends!) and that gets people thinking. It has become a tradition in our family that whenever someone gets married they receive a set as a wedding present (and in a recent divorce the non-family member insisted on taking their set as part of the settlement!!!) so that whoevers home we happen to be at we can always play it. We have other games that we like to play such as Jenga, Trivial Pursuits and Cranium but Rummikub is definitely the favourite and our "go to" game. I'm taking one star off simply because I can't really list those negatives without taking one off, but given the choice I'd rather just take a half of one off.
Summary: A fun game of numbers and strategy that everyone can enjoy playing
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