Rummikub is one of the most popular tile games in the world and is also variously known as Rummi which is sometimes written Rummey or Rummie. More than 40 million Rummikub games have been sold to date in 52 countries across 5 continents and printed in 25 languages.

The introduction of tiles is said to be due to the certain religious prohibitions in some countries with card games and gambling. Rummikub, however, provides just as much fun and excitement as any card game and can be played by all ages. It blends elements of Dominoes, Mahjong and Rummy making it a fun endeavour of both luck and skill. 
The popular game of Rummikub has been played in many countries the world over and was once the third biggest selling tile game across the globe.
The game has 106 tiles, coloured black, red, blue and orange, numbered 1 to 13, and with two jokers. The goal is to be the first player who has gotten rid of all their tiles. A person designated to “deal” mixes the tiles as they lay face down on the table, and players choose one each to see who gets the highest numbered tile to go first.  After this, all players pick up 14 additional tiles.

To get rid of the tiles, a player must lay down tiles worth 50 points in one or more “runs” or “groups”, which are referred to as “melds.” Each tile is worth the number of points shown. A joker is a wild card and may be substituted for any tile.

A “run” consists of at least three tiles of the same colour, such as #4 #5 and #6 in blue, and a “group” consists of at least three tiles of the same number, such as #7 in orange, red and black. Once a player has placed the initial 50 points’ worth of tiles on the table, they can then manipulate other player’s melds.

If it is impossible to add onto any runs or groups, a tile from the table is chosen and the player must await their next turn. Tiles continue to be chosen until the player can add to an existing meld.

Reaching this point is what makes the game of Rummikub fast paced and intellectually challenging. This is because opportunities abound to use one’s tiles in any number of creative ways. For example, if there was a group of 3 tiles on the table with #6, a player could add another #6 of a different colour.  He or she can then make a run using one of those #6’s and 3 tiles from their hand.  Another example would be seeing a #5 #6 #7 run in red on the table, and adding a red #4 or #8 to it. 

Rules require all runs or groups to have at least 3 tiles, so if there are excess tiles in a run or group, they can be the basis for a new group or run. An example would be a table with a #2 #3 #4 #5 run in red and a group of #5’s in various colours.  A player holding a #4 and #6 black may move the #5 red from the run to the group, then take the #5 back (leaving still three tiles there) and add that number #5 to his #4 and #6 for a new run.

Jokers can replace any tile or be added to any meld, but no tiles may be removed from a group or run containing a Joker. A player can replace a Joker with a tile of the same value, but it must be used immediately with 2 more tiles for another meld.

Players are allowed two minutes per turn, and if they exceed this, they must withdraw a tile from the pool on the table. Another penalty involves a player’s attempt to create a meld but fails; he or she must return the tiles to their original position, take back their tiles, and draw three more from the pool.

To determine scores, when a player has used all his tiles, the others add the numerical values of their remaining tiles, assigning 30 points to the Jokers. This is considered “negative” to the individual losers. All of the losers add their points together and the amount is credited to the winner as “positive”. After a few games, players may have a combination of negative and positive scores, and the person with the highest number wins. Should all tiles on the table get used while every players still has some, he or she with the lowest numerical value wins that game. The others subtracts the winner’s score from their own, and consider it a negative, but the winner tallies up all of the losers’ scores for a positive.

This is the most popularly played version, referred to as “Sabra”. Another version (sometimes called the “American” one) differs slightly by requiring the initial meld to be 21 points, and tiles are arranged in face down stacks on the table, with one tile left face up. In this style of Rummikub, players discard a tile after each turn, which another player may choose instead of drawing from the face down stack. That face up tile on the table can be used only if it will help a person win the game. The game ends when one player has used all tiles but one which would be their discard.
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