Rummy-O is a variation of the card game Rummy, played with tiles instead of cards. Also known as Rummikub, Tile Rummy, Rummy Tiles, Rummy Cube, RummyKub, RummiCub, Rummicube and Rummycub, depending on the manufacturer, it was invented in the 1930s by Ephraim Hertzano. A game that requires both luck and strategic planning, it can provide hours of entertainment.
Play the game with two to four people. There are 106 tiles in four different colors, black, red, orange and blue, with numbers from 1 to 13. Included in these tiles are two jokers (wild tiles).
Eliminate all the tiles from your rack to win the game. Accomplish this by forming them into melds, which are runs and groups of numbers.
Keep as few points in your hands as possible, since you will lose the number of points you have in your hand when an opponent goes out first.
Mix the tiles face down on the table. Each player should pick up one tile. The player with the highest number on his tile goes first. The rest of the players take turns going in a counterclockwise direction. After determining the first player, each player should pick up 14 tiles and place them on her rack.
Playing the Game
Play a run if you have at least three tiles of the same color in consecutive order — for example, a red six, seven and eight. Play a group if you have three or more tiles with the same number but of different colors — for instance, three tiles with the number six on them, in orange, black and red. Tiles should be placed face-up on the table.
Place the tiles on the table when you have an initial meld of 50 points in one or more groups or runs. These points must come from tiles already on your rack. Each tile is worth the number of points printed on the tile. Jokers may be substituted for any tile and are worth 30 points each. The time limit for a turn is two minutes.
Play “on the table” once you have made your first meld, manipulate and rearrange your previous melds. Ensure that each group contains at least three tiles. You may not take a tile away from a meld that has a joker in it; you may take the joker from the meld by exchanging it for a tile in your hand of the same value it was representing. You must use the joker immediately after taking it out of a meld, in combination with at least two tiles from your hand, to lay another meld on the table. If you cannot add on to previous melds of your own or of your opponents, you must pick up a tile from the table and wait until your next turn to play. Continue picking up a tile each turn until you are able to play.
Score the game when one player has played all the tiles on her rack. Jokers are worth 30 points; all other tiles are worth the face value amount on the tile. Each player totals up the value of the tiles she has laid down on the table and subtracts the value amount of the tiles left in her rack. The winner calculates her score by adding up the tiles she has laid down on the table and adding them to the totals of the tiles other players have left on the table.
Annabelle Lee has been working in the journalism field since 1990. She was a teacher and yearbook adviser for four years and holds two associate degrees from her local community college where she currently teaches computer classes. Lee also writes for a local newspaper and was a proofreader for McGraw-Hill.