Rummikub Directions

By Christina Martinez

Rummikub, pronounced Rummy-Cube, is a game of strategy that calls for numbered tiles to be placed in specific configurations. As a mixture of dominoes and rummy, Rummikub may seem familiar to those who have never even played it before. It's suitable for ages 8 and up, and two to four players can play at a time. Once you have played that game and gotten the hang of it, it's possible to experiment with different game strategies.

Pregame

Step 1

Put all tiles face down near the playing area and hand out one rack per player. Agree on a set amount of rounds to play.

Step 2

Move the tiles around with your hands to mix them up. Have each player pick a tile. The person with the highest number goes first and then play continues clockwise. Put these tiles back into the pile and mix them again.

Step 3

Pick 14 tiles and set them up on your rack without showing any other player what you have. Each player must do the same.

Basic Play

Step 1

Place a "group" of tiles down on your turn within two minutes. A group consists of three or four of the same number in different colors. For example, the player could put four 8's down of different colors (black, yellow, red and blue).

Step 2

Put down a run of tiles of the same color. A run is much like a straight in poker, with three or more tiles. For example, the player could put down a 5,6,7,8 all in the color yellow.

Step 3

Put down a total of at least 30 points on initial play. This can consist of a combination of runs and groups. For example, a player could put down four 5's which would equal 20, then a series of 6,7,8 which would equal 21. Add 21 and 20 together to equal 41, which is more than 30 and is acceptable for initial play.

Step 4

Start regular play after initial play. In regular play, players use tiles from their racks and build onto sets or group that have already been laid out on the table. However, each group or run must have at least three tiles when you are finished with your turn.

Step 5

Take a tile from the pile if you are unable to play a round.

Step 6

Yell "Rummikub" when you have no tiles left. The first person to lose all of her tiles is the winner of the round.

Playing the Table

Step 1

Add any number of tiles to an already existing run. For example, if you have a 5 and 9 in yellow in your rack and a 6,7,8 run has already been laid out in yellow, your additions would make the end run 5,6,7,8,9.

Step 2

Add a tile of a different color to an existing group in the table. If you have a blue 11, and there is a group of 11's in yellow, black and red, you can add your blue 11 to the group.

Step 3

Split groups and runs already on the table. If you have a 1,2,6 in black and there is a run of 3,4,5 on the table, split the 3,4,5 and put your remaining tiles on the table. The result would be two separate runs of 1,2,3 and 4,5,6.

Step 4

Use numbers from the group of tiles already on the table. For example, you could have 10 and 11 in black on your rack and there is a group of four 12's (blue, red, black and yellow) on the table. Put down your 10, 11 and then add the black 12. The result is separate run of 10,11,12, and you still have a group of three 12's left on the table.

Scoring

Step 1

Count all your tiles in your rack if you are one of the players who didn't go out that round. A 7 equals seven points, a 4 equals four points and so on. These add up to negative values. For example, if you had 21 points in your rack, your score is now -21. Get caught with a joker in your rack and the penalty is 30 points.

Step 2

Add every other player's individual loss with the exception of the round winner. These losses will result in the winning player's gains. For example, if player A had -4, player B had -21 and Player C had -15, add these values together. The result is 40. The winning player of that round gets a score +40.

Step 3

Score every round this way until you reach the agreed-upon round limit. The person with the most points at the end of the rounds wins the entire game.

About the Author

Christina Martinez has been writing professionally since 2007. She's been published in the California State University at Fullerton newspaper, "The Daily Titan." Her writing has also appeared in "Orange County's Best" magazine. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in communications and print journalism from California State University.