A travel-sized version of the classic game Rummikub provides just as much fun as its bigger sibling.
I was provided with a copy of this game for review purposes.
As someone who grew up playing both gin rummy and its Chinese tile-based relative mahjong, it’s amazing that I’d never previously played Rummikub, which combines familiar elements of both games.
The game comprises 106 tiles: eight numbered sets from one to 13 (two sets each of four colours) and two jokers. The aim is to be the first player to empty your rack and to accumulate the highest score over a succession of rounds.
To achieve this, players lay down tiles from their own hand to create runs of three or more consecutive numbers of the same colour or groups of three or four of the same number of different colours. As the game progresses, you can manipulate both your own and other players’ sets to enable you to play further tiles and create new sets.
The ever-shifting nature of the sets in front of you requires a combination of having a plan for disposing of your tiles while being able to adapt as things change and each player attempts to manipulate the tiles on the table to their own advantage.
It’s an interesting challenge that requires a degree of both strategy and flexibility, but not so complex that a relatively young child cannot pick up the basics of game-play quickly. The game is recommended for ages seven and up but can certainly be played by younger children. Kara, at 5½, soon grasped the basics with a little help.
Rummikub can be played by between two and four players but we found that playing with three or four, while it made for a longer game, presented more of a challenge as there are more tiles on the table that can be manipulated.
Once we had managed to get our heads around the rules – which are reasonably straightforward – we all enjoyed playing Rummikub. It’s quick to set up and easy to play, and while the smaller tiles of the travel version are a little fiddly at times, it wasn’t a problem.
You do, however, need a reasonably flat, stable surface such as a camping table to play the game properly. This isn’t a game you can easily play in a moving vehicle, as the tiles will move around and fall off the players’ racks.
The one glaring omission is the lack of a drawstring bag to securely store the tiles. However, this can be easily rectified by using a pencil-case or similar.
Selling at an RRP of £14.99, Rummikub Travel is an affordable and enjoyable game, whether you’re travelling or playing at home. It’s already packed safely in a suitcase for our half-term long weekend away.
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