Introduction: Crazy Rummy Tiles - Crazy Rules for Rummikub

About: Retired from biotechnology company, PhD in Biochemistry (MIT).
   The tile game Rummikub® by Pressman is OK for kids, but it’s pretty boring for most adults. For a greater intellectual challenge, try playing Crazy Rummy Tiles, as described in this Instructable.
   Crazy Rummy Tiles is not for everyone. It is mainly for those who are truly eccentric — and especially for those who like to feel superior by playing games where only they understand the rules.

Step 1: What You'll Need

Pressman Rummikub® rummy tiles game -- $15 or less, new

Rummikub rule booklet -- it comes with the game

• Learn the standard rules
• Expand upon the rules, as outlined below in this Instructable

Step 2: Criss-crossed Sets

• Sets can run in two dimensions (2D). They can be placed either horizontally or vertically.
• Runs always ascend left-to-right or top-to-bottom, never right-to-left or bottom-to-top.
• Horizontal and vertical sets may intersect. I.e. they may share one tile at the intersection. 

Step 3: Same-color Groups

• Group members (members in same-number sets) can be either all-different in color (the standard rule) or all-the-same color (a new rule), e.g. Red8+Red8+J.
• Since there are only two tiles of each type, this doesn’t ever occur … unless: 1) you use a Joker (as above) or 2) you use one of the crazy rules, below.
• Runs, e.g. 5+6+7, must be all-the-same color (e.g. all Black) as in the standard rules.

Step 4: Runs May Include Zero

• There are no tiles with 0 on them.
• However, Jokers here may be 0 or any non-zero number 1–13 (as in the standard rules).
• Also, see the new definition of 10, below.

Step 5: Runs May Extend Past 13

• 0 is the next number after 13, then it continues 1, 2, 3, etc. (i.e. Modulo-14).
• E.g. Blue13+J+Blue1+Blue2, where J is Blue0.

Step 6: 6s Can Be Either 6s or 9s

• Think of 6s being played either right-side-up or up-side-down. Its color is unchanged.
• Eg. Red8+Red6+Red10; Blue6+Gold9+Black9; and Gold6+Gold9+Gold9.
• A 6 at a 2D intersection can be both a 6 and a 9 at the same time, e.g. 9 in a set running horizontally and 6 in a set running vertically.

Step 7: 9s (like 6s) Can Be Either 6s or 9s

Step 8: 10s Can Be 10 or 0+1

• When used as 0+1, a 10 may part of a two-tile set with either a 2 or a 13; e.g. Red10+Red2 or Red13+Red10, which are equivalent to Red0+ Red1+ Red2 and Red13+Red0+Red1, respectively.
• Other examples: Black13+Black10+Black2, where the 10 is used as 0+1 and Red12+Red13+J, where J is either Red0 or Red10. Note, a Joker is sometimes restricted by its use, but it is ambiguous here. The J here can be used either way in a subsequent play; and, the subsequent play may then restrict its definition.
• A 10 at an intersection can be both 0+1 and 10 at the same time (both the same color); e.g. 0+1 in a set running horizontally and 10 in a set running vertically.

Step 9: 11s Can Be 11 or 1+1

• When used as 1+1, it may part of a two-tile set; e.g. Red11+Red1 or Black11+Black11.
• But NOT Red11+Black1, which would be equivalent to Red1+Red1+Black1.
• An 11 at an intersection can be both 1+1 and 11 at the same; e.g. 1+1 in a set running horizontally and 11 in a set running vertically.

Step 10: 12s Can Be 12 or 1+2

• When used as 1+2, it may part of a two-tile set; e.g. Red12+Red3 or J+Blue12, where the Joker is played as Blue0.
• But NOT Blue12+Black3, which would be equivalent to Blue1+Blue2+Black3.
• And NOT Gold12+Gold13.
• A 12 at an intersection can be both 1+2 and 12 at the same time; e.g. 1+2 in a set running horizontally and 12 in a set running vertically.

Step 11: Review

Check out the original image. Does it make sense now ... in a crazy sort of way?

Step 12: Counting Points

• For melding or for keeping score, use the following rules.
• Use the true number.
• E.g. if a 6 is used as a 9, it is still 6 points; if a 12 is used as 1+2, it is still 12 points.
• A joker gets the point value of the number it represents. A joker used at an intersection as two different numbers gets the higher value. E.g. if used as a 6 and a 9 at an intersection, it gets a value of 9. A joker used as a zero, gets a value of 20.

Step 13: Another Variation: Runny Rummy Tiles

• Use standard Pressman Rummikub® tiles.
• Forget the crazy rules, above, except keep the 2D aspect, and add the following.
• Run members can be either all the same color (the standard rule) or all different in color (a new rule).
• E.g. Red1+Blue2+Black3; or Blue9+Black10+Gold11+Red12; or Black5+Black6+Black7.
• But NOT Red7+Red8+Blue9 and NOT Blue9+Black10+Gold11+Red12+Blue13.
• You can try combining Crazy Rules and Runny Rules, but I don’t recommend it. There are so many set combinations that, the game is usually over before you have completed one round!

Step 14: Rule Clarifications

• If you can play anything, you must play something. You don’t need to play everything you have, you can save some for later. This is our agreed upon house rule; call it Option B. Alternatively (Option A), you MUST play all that you can. Option A is difficult to enforce considering honest oversights, stupidity, etc. Finally (Option C), at any turn you may elect NOT to play, even if you have something (and, of course, you draw one tile). Option C is probably the official accepted way to play.
• A Joker’s number and color are determined by the context in which it is played. E.g. in J+Red1+Red2  the Joker is Red0. However, in Blue10+J+Gold10 the Joker is either Red10 or Black10. In Blue10+J+Gold10+Black10, the Joker is Red10; however, if the Black10 is later removed (to be used in another play), the Joker is then either Red10 or Black10.
• If an already-played Joker is replaced by an appropriate tile from one’s hand, then 1) that Joker must remain on the board; 2) it must be incorporated into a new tile-set; and 3) that new tile-set must include TWO new tiles from the player’s hand. The two new tiles do not have to touch the Joker, however, they both must be in the same set of contiguous tiles. In 2D games, one of the new tiles may be played in the horizontal row, while the other is played in an intersecting vertical column, and the Joker need not be at the junction. In any turn, a Joker can be repositioned on the board, without these special requirements, as long as its original number-value and color do not change. If the joker’s color in the first set was ambiguous (e.g. either blue or black), then the player can declare which it is, before reusing the tile for a new set.
• At the start, each player draws one tile – the high tile goes first. (Tying high tiles re-draw until someone wins.) Then you play around the table clockwise. The winner of one round starts the next round.
• A player signals the end of his/her play by either: 1) drawing a new tile (to indicate his/her inability to play) or 2) knocking on the table (to indicate he/she is finished playing). There is no need for talking.

Step 15: Scoring Options

• No scoring. Play “just for fun.” (Why?!)
• Tally the number of games won, no scoring for individual games. Decide beforehand on either 1) how many games to play or 2) how many wins will determine the winner.
• Score individual games; keep a running score. Decide beforehand on how many games to play and the method of scoring. There are [at least] three methods for tabulating the scores:
Option A. Standard American Pressman-version rules: the winner gets the sum value of all tiles left in the rack of his/her opponents. Each loser gets the NEGATIVE sum value of the tiles left in his/her own rack. A joker left in a rack counts as 30. If no one goes out before all tiles are drawn, then the low rack wins. The scores are then determined as above, except that the winner subtracts off his/her rack score. High score wins in the end.
Option B. The winner gets the losers’ tile sum, as above. The losers get zero. High score wins in the end.
Option C. Losers get their own tile sums. The winner gets zero. Low score wins in the end.

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