How To Play Rummikub: Rules, Setup, Scoring, And Gameplay

How To Play Rummikub: Rules, Setup, Scoring, And Gameplay

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Are you curious about Rummikub? In this article, we at GetMega will help you to get an idea about Rummikub and the Rummikub rules.

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What is Rummikub?

It’s a popular game using tiles instead of cards. Rummikub is a tile-based game that combines features of both rummy and mahjong. Rummikub is also called rummy cube by many.

Did you know it has a very interesting origin? This game was created by Mr. Ephraim Hertzano who was living in Romania at a time when card-playing was banned by the Communist government. He had the brilliant idea to use small tiles instead of cards to play. Soon Rummikub became a popular game worldwide.

What is rummikub

Rummy is generally played by 2 to 4 players.

Originally there were 3 different versions of the game:-

  • American
  • Sabra
  • International

Now, only the Sabra version is generally found in modern Rummikub sets.

Game pieces

Number of tiles in Rummikub- 106 tiles

  • 2 copies of numbers 1 to 13 in four different colors (red, blue, black, and orange)
  • 2 jokers

There are 2 copies of each combination of color and number.

There is also 1 rack for each player to store tiles without revealing their faces to the other players (similar to scrabble).

The object of the game

The object is to remove all the tiles from your rack as soon as possible by making sets on the board/table. The first player exhausting all their tiles is the winner. Your goal is to keep as few points in your hand/rack as possible.

What are the rules of Rummikub?

In this section, we will cover the Rummikub rules. Before we proceed to the Rummikub rules you must understand a few terms.

Group- A group is a collection of three or four tiles of the same number in different colors.

Example- #6 orange, #6 red, #6 black, #6 blue

Not allowed- #6 orange, #6 orange, #6 red

Run- A run is a collection of three or more succeeding numbers. They must all be the same color. The number 1 is the lowest number and 13 is the highest. 1 cannot follow the number 13.

Examples-

  • 4,5,6 red
  • 1,2,3,4 orange

Not allowed- 1,2,3 blue 4 orange

Meld- A group or a run is a set called meld in Rummikub. We have covered melding in rummy in a separate section.

Setup using Rummikub rules

Mix the tiles thoroughly in a pouch. Each player picks a tile. The one who gets the highest number goes first. The game moves in a clockwise direction. Put the tiles back in the pouch and mix them. Now each player takes 14 tiles without showing the others. Place the tiles on your rack.

How to play?

In this section, we will cover how to play the game as per the rules of Rummikub

  1. In your turn, put down tiles from your racks into groups or runs of at least three.
  2. The Rummikub initial meld must be at least 30 points or more.
  3. The value of a tile is the number written on it.
  4. A Joker can be used instead of any tile. The value of the joker is then the tile it represents.
  5. Remember, any player can remove the tiles from the board and replace them elsewhere.
  6. If you do not have any set, you must take a tile from the pouch and your turn ends.
  7. Rummikub is a timed game. If you take more than 2 minutes to place a tile, you lose your turn and have to take a tile from the pool as a penalty.
  8. The round continues until a player has fully exhausted their rack and says Rummikub. After the round ends, the players add up their points.

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Rummikub meld rules

As we have mentioned before, melding is creating sets of tiles by making groups or runs. In this section, we will explain melding in rummy and the Rummikub rules.

You can meld (i.e., make sets) in the following ways:

  1. You can add 1 or more tiles to an existing run.

For example- you have 3 and 7. On the table- there is 4,5,6. You add your tiles to make 3,4,5,6,7

2.  You can take the fourth tile from a set and complete your own set

For example- you have 11 and 8 (orange) and 8 (black). On the table- there are 8 (blue), 9, 10. You can add the 11 to the run and use the 8s to form a new group as follows:-

  • 9,10,11
  • 8 (orange) 8 (black) 8(blue)

3. You can also split a run.

  • For example, a run of 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 is already on the table. You take a 6 tile and add to it so that there’s a 4, 5, 6 run and the balance is 6, 7, 8 becomes a separate run.

Scoring in Rummikub rules

This section will help you to understand the scoring in Rummikub rules

  • After a player has won, the other players add up the value of the tiles remaining on the racks.
  • This score is recorded as a minus (negative) amount. The winner of the round gets the total of all the losing player's points as a positive amount.
  • After each round, the scores are added up as above
  • At the end of the game, the one with the highest score is the winner.
  • Remember, the plus score will always be equal to the sum of all the negative amounts in each round and also at the end of the game.
  • In case, if the pool of the tiles in the pouch is exhausted before any player uses all the tiles on the rack then the player with the lowest number of tiles on the rack wins.
  • If another player wins and you are holding the joker then you face an additional penalty of 30 points.

Let’s understand through an example-

Players- A, B, C, D

A wins, B has 5 points, C has 10 and D has 3. So player A gets a total of 18 and B gets - 5, C -10, and D -3.

Rummikub rules for joker

As you know, Joker is a blank tile that can be placed anywhere. In this section, you will learn the Rummikub rules for joker

  1. The value of the joker is the tile it represents
  2. You can add a tile to a meld with a Joker.
  3. However, you can not take a tile away from a meld that includes a Joker.
  4. You replace the Joker with the actual tile it represents. For example. In 4,5, Joker,7 you can remove the Joker and place a 6
  5. If you remove the Joker you must immediately use the Joker and 2 more tiles from your rack to add another meld to the table. You cannot keep the Joker for later use.
  6. Remember to try and use your Joker as soon as possible. If any other player wins and the Joker is still on the rack, you get an additional 30 points penalty.

Strategies for playing the game

The ideal approach for playing Rummikub in a team of 5 to 6 players is to set your sights on the tiles and your brain on the game. This method is implemented by remaining focused and attentive to the game. Due to a lack of concentration and focus, you may miss out on important movements or a play that might assist you to gain a competitive edge in the game.

Because you only have a finite amount of time on your moment, Rummikub rules require you to constantly think of new methods to reshuffle and insert tiles to the table, even if it is another player's turn. It's a good idea to keep note of which tiles have been utilized in the past to avoid confusion in the latter.

Rummikub strategies

Forgetting to do so may result in you forgetting to contribute to a run or set on the first turn, and the chance to play there may have passed you by the time it returns to you.

Most opponents may wait until the fourth tile from a set or run is laid down, allowing them to play a tile on the next round rather than choosing from the pool. Employing your original set to just get rid of your greater value tiles is also advantageous since you won't be stuck with a number of negative points if someone screams Rummikub early in the game. Another strategy is to have four of a particular number but only use three of them in a combination, keeping the fourth one for the final round.

Rummikub 6 players rules

The normal Rummikub is for 2 to 4 players. You can purchase a 6-person Rummikub game. In the 6-player version, there are 160 tiles. The tiles are numbers from 1 to 13 in four different colors and four jokers. The game also has six tile racks for 6 players.

However, you can also add another Rummikub game (sort of like playing with 2 decks of cards). That way, 8 people can play together.  The other Rummikub rules of Rummikub remain the same.
With this, the Rummikub rules come to an end. There are more Indian card games that are equally popular. Rummy is one such game on GetMega. Play contests and tournaments with 100,000+ players and win more than 10,00,000 on GetMega. Download the Rummy app now!

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About The  
Author

Rohan Mathawan
Rohan Mathawan

This article is authored by Rohan Mathawan, who is presently working as the Vice President of Media Sales and Operations at Techstory Media. Rohan started his career as an online gaming and technology content writer and has written more than 5000+ articles for reputed brands and companies like Techstory Media, MarketingCrap, and a few other ad agencies in the last 4 years. Rohan loves to read about online gaming during his pastime. His passion to create content about online gaming drive him to dive deep into the research of the topic and the result is a highly relevant and captivating piece of content that is appreciated by his readers.

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