How to Play Rummikub Rules Guide
Players: 2 to 4 | Game duration from: 55 mins | Game Complexity: EASY How to play Rummikub rules in simple steps
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What is the goal of Rummikub?
Form sets of runs and groups of tiles to eliminate all the tiles from your rack. Keep as few points in your rack as possible. Then, as you begin the game, you choose how many points you will need to reach to win.
Setting Up Rummikub Game
106 tiles (2 sets of tiles numbered 1 to 13 in four colors: black, red, blue, orange; 2 Jokers); 4 playing racks, pouch.
Mix the tiles thoroughly in the pouch. Each player picks a tile and play proceeds clockwise from the highest selection. Place the tiles back in the pouch and mix. Players pick 14 tiles and place them on their rack.
Types of sets
There are 2 types of sets when playing Rummikub: Groups and Runs.
Groups are sets of three or four identical tiles in different colors.
Runs consist of three or more consecutive numbers in the same color. The number 1 is always played as the lowest number; it cannot come after the number 13.
Step-by-Step How to Play Rummikub Game Rules
This section outlines the Rummikub gameplay rules. In a Rummikub round, players take turns playing their tiles or taking tiles from the pouch. They compete to place all tiles from the rack onto the table. Each tile is worth its face value.
Player’s initial play to be able to play tiles on the table
You have to play at least 30 points in one or more sets to place tiles on the table.
Players must collect these points from the tiles on their rack, not from tiles already on the table.
Use or Jokers
Jokers can be used for any tile, and their point value equals that of the tile they represent. Holding a Joker results in a penalty of 30 points if another player wins the round.
Player takes a tile from the pouch if no tile is played
When a player cannot enter the round, or intentionally chooses not to, they must take a tile from the pouch and their turn ends.
Players take turns adding tiles to their initial plays or other sets on the table
Players take turns playing tiles on their initial plays. They can also add tiles from their racks to other sets on the table (manipulation). A player who cannot add to the other sets picks a tile from the pool (pouch). Their turn ends and they wait until their next turn to lay down a tile.
Player time limit per turn
There is a time limit of 1 minutes per player, per turn. A player who exceeds the time limit must draw a tile from the pouch and their turn ends.
Players try to play their tiles by rearranging or adding to sets that are already on the table. See steps below.
Add one or more tiles to make new set
You add one or more tiles to a make a new set of runs or groups.
Remove a fourth tile from a group and use it to form a new set
You remove a 4th tile from a group on the table and use it to form a new set with your tiles from your rack.
Add a fourth tile to a set and remove one tile from it, to make another set
Add a a tile from your rack to a set and at the same time remove a tile from the set to make another set.
Splitting a run
Use a tile from your rack to split a run into 2 new runs.
Place a tile from your rack with the tile from a run and a tile from a group to form a new group.
Use tiles on your rack to create multiple sets from the sets on the table.
There are two jokers. Any tile can be used with them. A joker used in the opening set scores its value.
An opponent can retrieve a joker from a set on the table and replace it during his turn with a tile of the same color and numerical value.
To replace a Joker, a player must use a tile from their rack. A tile of either color can replace the joker in a group of 3. Replaced jokers must be used with 2 or more tiles from a player’s rack in the same turn. Before laying their initial set(s), players cannot retrieve a joker. Tiles in a set containing a joker can be added, removed, or split apart. If the joker remains on a player’s rack at the end of a game, it is worth 30 points.
Ways to replace the joker
There are 4 ways to replace the joker in a set.
Replace the joker by each one of the tiles on your rack or by both.
Split the run and clear the joker.
Adds a tile to the run and clear the joker.
Split the run to form 2 groups and clear the joker.
End of Round
Play continues until one player empties his rack and calls, “Rummikub”. The round ends and players’ points are tallied (see Scoring). Once the pool (pouch) is empty, play continues until no more plays can be made; the round is over
When a player clears the rack and calls “Rummikub”, the losing players add up the tiles they hold. A negative score is totaled.
A positive (plus) score is awarded to the winner based on all the losers’ points.
Each player totals his minus and plus scores at the end of each round. Whoever gets the most points wins. Check that the plus score equals the total of the minus scores in each round and in the final tally. The player with the lowest count wins that round if all the tiles in the pouch are used before anyone goes “Rummikub”. Each loser adds up his tile value and subtracts from the winner’s. These results are scored as a minus. The winner gets the sum as a plus. Place all the tiles back in the pouch after scoring the round, and begin the next round by following set-up instructions.
When the last round ends, the player who has won the most games in all rounds combined is the winner.
In the case of a tie, the player with the highest score is the winner.
Rummikub can seem slow at first, but as the table builds, more plays are possible. Holding back some tiles in the early stages of the game will let other players open up the table. Hold back the fourth tile of a group or run and lay only three, so that on the next turn instead of drawing from the pouch you can lay a tile. It is also a good strategy to keep a joker on your rack; however, when another player goes “Rummikub”, you risk losing 30 points.
Rummikub Game Rules FAQs
How do you start a Rummikub game?
Mix the tiles in the pouch. Each player picks a tile and the player with the highest value starts. Play moves clockwise. Place the tiles back in the pouch and mix. Players pick 14 tiles and place them on their rack.
How many pieces do you start with for Rummikub?
Each player starts with 14 tiles.
How many points do you need to lay down for Rummikub?
You have to play at least 30 points in one or more sets to place tiles on the table. Players must collect these points from the tiles on their rack, not from tiles already on the table.