Can You Play Rummikub With 5 or 6 Players? (How To Do It)


Can you play Rummikub with 5 or 6 players?

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Have you ever been playing Rummikub and you wished that there was a way to play with more than 4 players? Maybe you have heard some rumors about how you can do it, but you want to make sure the game still works if you do them?

Well, in this article we are going to talk about how you can play Rummikub with 5 or 6 players.

So can you play Rummikub with 5 or 6 players?

Although you can play Rummikub with 5 or 6 players, you cannot just use one Rummikub game for that many people. You will need to purchase a 6 person Rummikub game or add a second game to yours and then maintain the same rules you were playing with before. Adding a second game allows you to play with up to 8 players at one time. 

If you want to know more about playing Rummikub but be warned they sell out quite quickly.

You can also check out the video below if you prefer to learn that way.

Is there only one Rummikub?

There are actually three different versions of the Rummikub game known worldwide. They are American, Sabra and International. Currently, modern Rummikub sets include only the Sabra version rules though.

Rummikub was invented by Ephraim Hertzman who was known to have made the first sets with his family in the backyard of his home. With time, Rummikub was licensed in other countries, and it became Israel’s game that sold the best via export.

In the year 1977, the game became a bestseller in the United States of America. Although very few people actually know this, back in the 1970’s Rummikub was actually called Rummikid. 

Whether Rummikub can be played with 5 or 6 players depends on players’ understanding of the Rummikub original game, the number of jokers sets introduced, and the rules and strategies employed by players.

Rummikub original game

The game Rummikub is based on allows from 2 to 4 players. There are usually 104 number tiles in the game which are typically valued 1 to 13 in four different colors. These numbered tiles each have two copies of each color and then two jokers making a total of 106 tiles. 

Each of the players has to draw 14 or 16 tiles at the beginning of the game. Once the game has begun, then they take turns putting down tiles from their racks into sets or runs of at least three. If they cannot play on their turn, they must draw a tile.

In the version called Sabra, which is commonly played, the first player that uses all of their tiles scores a positive score of a total of all of the tiles that are left on the all of the loser’s racks. Each of the losers gets a negative score of the total sum of the tiles remaining on their rack. 

The main characteristic of Rummikub is the fact that players can work with the tiles that have already been played by the other players and can move them around as they see fit as long as all the tiles that were laid down still make sets or runs of at least three tiles. 

The game has a pool of tiles which consist of 104 and two joker tiles with values from one to thirteen. The tiles contain four colors, which are blue, red, orange and black. Every single combination of color and number is represented twice.

Each player has a rack to store tiles without revealing the face of the tiles to the other players in the game.

Rummikub Rules During Game Play

Playing a group or a run makes a set, also known as a meld. On the first turn, the objective is to lay either groups or runs down on the table that add up to at least 30 points. If your meld or melds don’t add up to 30-points yet, you will simply draw a tile and end your turn.

You can draw a tile if your tiles are not adding up to 30 or close, but you cannot play the drawn tile until your next turn.

It is the players’ job on every turn to scope out places where the tiles can be added to a run or a group that is already on the table. This run or group is the action of the game commonly referred to as melding.

There are actually a couple of ways to meld.

You can meld by: adding a specific tile to an existing run or group, or collecting the fourth tile from a run or group to finish your set that you lay on the table.

You can also meld by adding a fourth to another group and taking a different tile to create a new set or the splitting of a run. For example, a run of 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 is on the table. If you take a six from your rack and create a 4, 5, 6 run and make the remaining 6, 7, 8 its own run that is allowed by rule. 

Strategies for playing the game

When playing Rummikub in a group of 5 to 6 players, the best strategy is to keep your eyes on the tiles, and your head in the game. This strategy is employed by maintaining focus and concentration on the game. Lack of focus and attention will lead to you missing out on moves to make or missing a play that would help you gain an advantage in the game.

Rummikub demands you to continually analyze ways to rearrange and add tiles to the table even when it is another player’s turn since you have a limited amount of time on your turn to do so. 

It is wise to keep track of what tiles have been used for the future. Failure to do that may end up causing you to forget to add to a run or set on your turn and by the time it gets back to you the opportunity to play there may be gone. 

Some players also hold off on laying the fourth tile down from a group or run which allows you to play a tile on the next turn instead of picking from the pool. Using your initial set to get rid of your higher value tiles is also beneficial as well because if someone shouts Rummikub early in the game, you’re not caught with a bunch of negative points.

Another tactic would be to have four of one number but only play three of them in a meld, retaining the fourth one to be your last tile played to win the round. 

Winning at Rummikub

The objective of the game is to place all your tiles on the table as part of a meld. When someone successfully does this, that person can shout out Rummikub. Losers then add up the value of the tiles that they’re still holding on their racks, and the score is counted as a negative of that number for their score. 

The winner of the game gets a positive score that equals the total of all the loser’s negative points. What helps when checking the figures is that the winner’s score should equal the sum of the negative scores for each round.

There are rare cases that all the tiles in the pouch are used before any player’s shouts Rummikub. When this happens the player with the lowest point total on his rack wins that round. 

Playing the game with 5 to 6 players

When producing and distributing the game of Rummikub, there was an emerging issue where people all over the globe demanded to be able to play the game with more than four players even reaching up to 6 players in one game. Because of this emerging trend the production company developed a version of the game called Rummikub XP.

Rummikub XP is a six-player version of the Rummikub game. This version of the game contains 160 tiles which are numbered from 1 to 13 with four different colors and four jokers. It also has six tile racks and rack holders to allow for the increased number of players in the game. The problem is that most people cannot find this game as it is not made anymore.

Most people just buy two games and put them together instead.

The rules and strategies are pretty much the same with the difference being the increased number of tiles and racks in the game working for up to 8 players when you use two Rummikub games combined.

Conclusion

Now that you know you can play Rummikub with 5 or 6 players, you can go and enjoy this amazing game with more of your family and friends! Because the rules really do not change when you play with 5-8 players by adding a second game to the mix, many people are able to enjoy the game and have all of their family play at one time!

If you need to buy your second Rummikub game to add to your first game, this is the best place to get one. 

Matt Robbs

There is nothing quite so enjoyable as bringing back memories from your childhood. We used to spend hours playing pinball in my friends basement and that really got me involved in everything retro!

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