Anyone who has dipped a toe into my Zatu Blogs will know that I am a Rummikubber. I love the way the age-old set collection, card game, Rummy, has been switched up into a tile laying game. Because, quite frankly, who doesn’t love tile laying games?!
If you weren’t aware, Rummikub has actually been around for more than 90 years. It also won the lofty Spiel des Jahres Game of the Year award back in 1980. But fast forward a few years to 1983 (and yes, I was alive way back then, but only just!), and the designers decided to swap the numbers for letters. Welcome to Rummikub Word!
S Is For SET!
In Rummikub Word, just like its numeric cousin, your objective is to get rid of all your tiles. You do this by making complete words (“melding”) consisting of at least 3 letters or adding your tiles to existing words already on the table (“manipulating”). You don’t have to add tiles just to the ends of existing words – you can break them up and re-jig them and basically insert your tiles wherever you can fit them.
All you have to ensure is that by the end of your turn, you have added at least one tile from your rack to the table, and all the words make sense. Oh, and just one more thing; the longest new word on the table has to include at least one tile from your rack (or more if you can manage it – using all the tiles on your rack in one turn get double points!).
If you can’t lay, you pick up a tile and add it to your rack. If there are still tiles in the bag at the end of your turn, you draw back up to 7 tiles. Two smiley face Joker tiles are wild and can represent any letter – these can be super helpful to offload some tiles on a given turn. But of course, they can also be re-used by other players if they can swap it for the letter, it currently represents. Plus, at the end of the game, if you are still holding it, that is a 30 point penalty at end game scoring! Ooft!
With a lawyer and an engineer in the house, words v numbers are often a battle we face. I love writing. My husband loves maths. But, when it comes to puzzles, we both love a good Su-Doku as much as a crossword.
Okay, so I punish myself with the cryptic clues whereas he prefers the more literal quiz. And he goes straight for the killer-dokus whilst I mosey through the intermediate options. But we both love Rummikub and Rummikub Word is a really interesting twist on the solid gameplay of the original.
Like a very flexible Scrabble (and I mean VERY flexible), you’re using your own letters and your opponents’ letters to make new words for points. But there’s no restrictive grid or high scoring letters to worry about. Each one is worth a point, and you only score the longest word you make anyway.
Rummikub will be an ever-green game for us. The tension caused by number crunching is inversely proportionate to its simplicity, and we love that brain-cracking feeling. But Rummikub Word has its merits too. Mini-Meeple really enjoys making words and breaking up existing words to form his own. And that mixture of fun and development is golden for a parent gamer like me!
It also feels more relaxed and chilled out than its numeric counterpart. Although, having said that, you can ramp up the challenge by setting a timer per turn, or even theming a game so that only certain words can be played and/or scored.
Ultimately, if you love word games where you can meddle and mess with other players’ efforts, but not in a way that feels overly restrictive, then Rummikub Word could be a good addition to your collection!