Synopsis of Toy

It’s tough to find a game that the whole family will agree on: the kids want something colorful and fun like Candy Land, and the adults want something smart and challenging like Risk. Just the same, there were certain games that family members of all ages could enjoy, because they offered the perfect combination of fun and challenges. One of the best examples is Rummikub, a tile-based game that mixed strategy and hands-on fun to create something that can be appreciated by all ages. As a result, it has become one of the most popular board games in the world.

Ephraim Hertzano invented Rummikub in the early 1930’s and hand-made the first sets with his family in the backyard of his home in Israel. He designed the game to combine elements of rummy, dominoes, mah-jongg, and chess. Hertzano’s family sold the first sets door-to-door and on a consignment basis at small local shops. The game soon took off, and the family began licensing it to other countries over the years. As a result, it became Israel’s #1 export game. Rummikub made it to American shores in 1964 thanks to the efforts of Pressman Toys. In 1977, it became the best-selling game in the U.S.

Rummikub can be played with two to four players and consists of 106 numbered tiles. The numbers on the tiles range from 1 to 13 and come in four different colors—usually black, red, blue and orange. There are also two joker tiles that act as wilds. Players put all these tiles face down in a pile at the beginning of the game and draw 14 for their rack. The object of the game is to rid your rack of all its tiles, achieved by emptying your tiles onto the board in the form of “runs” and “groups.” A run is set of three consecutive numbers in the same color, and a group is a set of the same number in three different colors.

To begin placing tiles on the board, a player must have an initial play that is worth at least thirty points, a move called the “initial meld.” If the player can’t make the initial meld or chooses not to, he forfeits his turn and must draw a tile from the pool. You must also draw a tile if you can’t complete your play within a one-minute time limit. Otherwise, players take turns forming runs and groups on the boards. A player can also get rid of tiles by building onto the runs and groups of others, or by splitting them to form new runs and groups. The game ends when a player clears their rack of any tiles and says the word “Rummikub” to close the game.

Today, Rummikub is licensed internationally by Lemada Light Industries, a company formed in Israel by Hertzano’s children. They have turned the game into a powerhouse phenomenon that is sold in 48 countries and has been translated into 24 languages. Through their efforts, it has become the third best selling game in the world. As a result of this popularity, Rummikub clubs have been formed all over the world, and a World Rummikub Championship has been held every year since 1991. The enduring popularity that Rummikub enjoys is proof that this game has an appeal that is truly universal.

Release History of Toy

1960 - Rummikub

Sub Categories of Toys

board games

Toy and Game Manufacturer

Pressman Toy Co.

Other Toy Links