My Favourite Board Games

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Rummikub: Another Great Word Game

I went window shopping the other day and, of course, I visited my local games shop. In there, I was looking for more word-based games to discuss in this blog later on.

I came across a game I had heard about before. It's called Rummikub, and it is pronounced "Rumi-Cube".

Now, the original Rummikub is not a word game, but a tile numbers game. However, one of its most popular versions has mutated into a word game, as you can see from the above picture.

Rummikub was developed by a guy called Mr. Ephraim Hertzano, like Monopoly and Scrabble, during the 1930s.

I guess not having TV at the time forced people to find new ways to entertain themselves other than sex or card games!

Hertzano made his first sets by hand in his backyard, and sold from door to door during the 1950's, but eventually a couple of shop keepers decided to give the game a go, and its fame spread like wild fire, developing a reputation of being a great game... and it is!

Rummikub ranks as the 3rd best-selling game in the world, and the first best-selling tile number game. It is also Israel's #1 export game!

To appreciate how popular this game is at present, one must only look at the sales records: Rummikub has sold over 40 million sets - to date - in several languages in 52 countries around the world!

The game contains: 106 tiles, 4 playing racks, and the instructions. The tiles are divided into 2 sets numbered between 1 and 13, and coloured black, red, blue, orange, and 2 joker tiles.

The object of the game is to be the first player to eliminate all the tiles from your rack by forming them into sets of runs and groups in a Scrabble sort of fashion.

You must try to keep as few points in your hand as possible. Players decide at the start of the game how many points to reach to end the game.

The rules of the game are too long to be included in this blog (unless requested by popular demand, that is!) ;-)

Ok... you've twisted my arm (ouch! Go easy on that arm!). You can find the rules by clicking on this link Rummikub's Rules.

From my research, I found that the game is so popular that there are Rummikub clubs around the world, with many avid and keen players, but the most popular version of this game is the numbers based version, and not the word version.

My only guess is that this is the case because people normally stick to what they know, rather than trying something new... but that's only my guess.

I have not played the game myself, so I cannot really say if it's fun to play or not.

Enjoying a board game requires learning the rules, and finding willing playing partners... Unless you get the game in a digital format.

Anyhow... there you are... Rummikub...

Posted by Jeff

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