Rhine Rummy

Contributed by David Mallen

Main features:

  • Table sets of cards and add to tabled sets to get rid of all your cards.
  • A set of at least 3 ‘natural’ cards is required to qualify before you can table cards.
  • You can manipulate tabled sets to form new sets and quickly get rid of your cards.
  • Jokers are ‘wild’ cards.  Only one Joker is allowed per set.
  • Jokers can be replaced by the card they represent and used to form new sets.
  • If you Qualify and Go Out in the same turn you go “Down & Out”!

The Game

The game consists of 10 Rounds.  Players form sets of cards and place them on the table.  They may also add individual cards from their hand to the tabled sets.  This may involve manipulating the tabled sets to form new sets.

The Round ends when one player has tabled all their cards.  The other players then count the face value of the cards in their hand to form their score.  The player with the lowest score after the 10 rounds wins.

This game was ‘invented’ by David Mallen whilst cruising the Rhine River in Germany in 2008.  It is inspired by Rummikub but uses cards instead of tiles.

The Aim
To make sets of 3 or more cards and table all your cards.  (See Sets, below.)
The Pack
2 packs + 4 Jokers.  (Extra packs may be added for more players.)
The Players
Two or more players, playing individually.
The Cards
Jokers are ‘wild’ cards.  i.e. They may take the place of any other card. The other cards are ‘natural’ cards.
Aces may be ‘low’ or ‘high’.  (See Sets, below.)
Sets
There are two types of sets of cards:
1.  A group of 3 or more cards of the same value.  e.g. 4 Queens.
2.  A sequence of 3 or more cards of the same suit.  e.g. 3, 4, 5 & 6 of hearts.
Only one Joker may be used per Set.  e.g. 3 & 4 of spades + Joker (= 5 of spades)
Aces may be ‘low’ or ‘high’ in a sequence.  e.g. Ace, 2, 3 or Jack, Queen, King, Ace.
The sequence King, Ace, 2 is not allowed.
The Deal
Shuffle the cards and deal 10 cards per person.
The remaining cards are placed face down and split to form 2 pick-up piles and placed at opposite ends or corners of the table for convenience.  (1 pile may be used for the 2-player game.)
To Qualify
To Qualify to begin tabling cards a player must first table a “qualifying set” of at least 3 ‘natural’ cards.  After qualifying, other cards may be tabled during the same turn.  If you Qualify and Go Out in the same turn, you have gone “Down & Out”!  (See Bonus, below.)
“Down & Out” Bonus
If you go “Down & Out” you receive a bonus of –20 points.
Variations
There are a number of optional variations to the basic game.  These must be agreed and announced before play begins.
1.   The “qualifying set” consists of one or more sets with the total minimum value of 30 points.  Jokers may be used in the “qualifying set” but their value is only that of the card they replace.
2.   Twos are also ‘wild’ cards.
3.   The points value of each card is similar to Canasta.  (If a Canasta pack is used, the points are printed on the card.)  The exceptions are 2s and 3s that have a value of 5 points only.
i.e. 2s – 7s = 5 points, 8s – Kings = 10 points, Aces = 20 points, Jokers = 50 points.
The Play
Deal 10 cards to each player.  Place the remaining cards face down as the Pick-up Pile(s).  The player on the left of the dealer starts play.
To Qualify:  You must first “qualify” to begin tabling cards by tabling a “qualifying set” of at least 3 ‘natural’ cards.  Once you have a “qualifying set” in your hand you may table it and also table any other cards to add to the tabled sets or form new sets.  If you do not have a “qualifying set” in your hand, you must pick-up the top card from the Pick-up Pile.  The card taken from the Pick-up Pile is placed in your hand to complete your turn.  It must not be tabled until your subsequent turns.
Qualified:  Once you have qualified you may table any number of cards to form new sets, add to tabled sets or manipulate sets to form new sets.  (See Manipulation, below.)  The minimum number of cards in a set is 3.  A single Joker may be included in a set.  Alternatively, if you cannot or do not wish to table any cards, you must pick up the top card from the Pick-up Pile.  The card taken from the Pick-up Pile is placed in your hand to complete your turn.  It must not be tabled until your subsequent turns.
Single Jokers may be added to tabled sets.  Their position in a sequence automatically nominates the card they represent.
Say “Fin”, “Finished” or “Your turn” to advise the next player you have completed your turn.
If you have tabled all your cards, you Go Out and the round ends.  (As you have no cards remaining in your hand, your score is zero.)  If you go “Down & Out” you receive a bonus score.  (See Going Out, below.)
If the Pick-up Pile is exhausted and a player cannot table a card for their turn, play ends for that round.  Other players may not table cards.  The value of cards in your hand counts towards your score.  The player on the left of the dealer, deals the next round.
Manipulation
You may remove cards from, add cards to, or split tabled sets to form new sets using cards from your hand.  The minimum number of cards in a set is 3.  Only one Joker is allowed per set.  You cannot remove a ‘natural’ card from a set and replace it with a Joker.
You may only remove a Joker from a set by replacing it with the ‘natural’ card that it represents.  Once the Joker has been removed from a set it can be nominated as any card.  It must remain on the table.  If it is removed and is not required to form another set it must be returned to its original set (in its original position, if the set was a sequence) and the ‘natural’ card placed elsewhere on the table or back in your hand.
e.g.  4 Queens and a Joker form a tabled set.  You must add another Queen to the set if you wish to remove the Joker.  You may then use the Joker to add to or form another set.
e.g.  A tabled set consists of a 7 & 9 of spades and a Joker.  You must replace the Joker by the 8 of spades if you wish to remove it from the set.  It could be used to form a new set or added to an existing set.  It could even be returned to the original set to represent the 10 of spades and you could add the Jack of spades to the set.
e.g.  A tabled set consists of a 7 & 9 of spades and a Joker.  You may not remove the 7 & 9 to form other sets, then add two 8s to the Joker to form a set of three 8s.  You can only use the Joker by tabling the 8 of spades.
Tactics
You may wish to keep some cards (that can be tabled) in your hand, and table them in subsequent turns, rather than having to pick-up new cards from the Pick-up Pile.  The risk in doing this is that you may not be able to table the cards when it is your turn or, if another player Goes Out, these cards count towards your score.
Table high value cards first.  The Joker may be used to help achieve this.
Going Out
When you table all your cards, you Go Out and the round ends.  The other players must not table any cards after you have Gone Out.  If you go “Down & Out” you receive a bonus of –20 points.  (See To Qualify and Bonus, above.)
The Score
Cards remaining in your hand contribute to your score.  The number on the card is its points value.   2s = 2 points, 3s = 3 points, 4s = 4 points, etc.
Jacks = 11 points, Queens = 12 points, Kings = 13 points, Aces = 15 points, Jokers = 20 points.
Winning Score
The player with the lowest cumulative score after the 10 rounds, wins.