If you’ve not seen or heard of the game before you need to know that Rummikub is played with a set of 106 numbered tiles. Players ‘place’ melds or ‘runs’ of numbers on the table, and the first player to use all of his or her tiles is the winner. The rules are simple, and if you have ever played the card game ‘Rummy’ then you know most of them already. The game is very easy to learn, however, there is always an almost endless chain of moves – which means that each game you play is different. It also means that children will be thinking quite deeply about counting, calculation and game strategy.
… oh, it’s also great fun!
Rummikub is already steeped in simple maths work: players must build chains of numbers in order, so a player can play 5, 6, 7 as a run, but cannot play 4, 6, 7. Players are also involved in sorting and matching too.
It’s great just as it is – and we heartily recommend it as a fun family game… it’s a bit bulky to take on an aeroplane, and you certainly can’t play it in the car (although there is a new travel edition). This is a perfect table game for summer evenings.
Now, I hear the pain of the traditional Rummikub players, but there are some (mathematical) advantages to changing the rules a little.
Normally you can only make runs (1,2,3,4,5,6,7…) or melds (5,5,5). Now, if you want to take the maths a little further, and if you have already played the original version,. the following ideas may be useful.
In this (broken rules) version we can run even (or odd) numbers together:
Likewise, it can add more maths fun to allow players to also use any run of a multiple pattern (the image shows multiples of 4’s and 3’s). Or to allow players to use a series of prime numbers:
Let’s go further and allow runs of square numbers:
These new rules involve one additional requirement: the player must clearly explain the meld or run pattern they are making. Normal Rummikub rules then apply and other players can add, split or adjust the runs and melds when they play their next tiles.