by Growing Needs | Apr 3, 2023 | Lifestyle & Wellness, Lifestyle habits
Now that Singapore’s social distancing rules are easing up, many families will be finding it easier to meet up for social gatherings. Besides the usual option of gathering for meals, or going out for movies and shopping, are there any fun-filled group activities that can keep both the young and old across different generations equally interested and engaged?
One excellent candidate that fits the bill well is Rummikub. Walk into any elderly activity centre in Singapore, and chances are, you will find this game being played there on a regular basis. It has even been affectionately referred to as “Healthy Mahjong” by some seniors.
Rummikub is simple enough to be picked up quickly by both children and elderly alike. The game play however is dynamic and engaging, requiring a combination of both luck and skill to win. This keeps the game interesting as no one is an obvious winner until the very end. Our Team at Growing Needs Sg have played the game with our elderly parents and found it to be a great way of bringing the family together for several hours of fun filled and engaging interactions.
Rummikub is a 2 to 4 player game suitable for ages 7 to 77 and beyond.
The game is made up of 2 Jokers and 8 sets of tiles numbered 1-13, displayed in four colours: Red, Blue, Yellow and Black. (106 tiles in total).
The objective of the game is to be the first player to dispose of all the tiles from your rack, by forming the tiles into sets.
Sets can be formed in two ways:
A run is a set of three or more consecutive numbers in the same colour.
13 is the final number that can be used in a run. It cannot be followed by the number 1.
A group is a set of either three or four tiles of the same number in different colours.
No repeated colours are allowed.
At the start of the game, all the tiles are flipped faced down and shuffled in a common pool. Each player picks up 14 tiles to place on their rack. To determine who begins the turn, each player flips a tile from the pool. The player with the highest value starts first. The flipped tiles should be returned to the pool and shuffled.
At each player’s turn, sets must be formed from each player’s own rack of tiles until the number value equals 30 or more. After reaching 30, players can further form sets by adding on to other sets that have been played, or taking tiles from sets that have been played to form new sets. When taking tiles from other sets, players are to ensure that the remaining tiles which they did not pick still forms a set on its own.
In the event that a player is unable to form any sets, a tile will be picked from the pool of shuffled tiles and the turn is passed on to the next player.
There are two jokers in the game. Each joker can be used as any tile in a set, and its number and colour are that of the tile needed to complete the set. On future turns, a joker can be retrieved from a set on the table by a player who can replace it during his/her turn with any tiles that can keep the set legitimate. This tile can come from the table or from a player’s rack. In the case of a group of three tiles, the joker can be replaced by a tile of either of the missing colours.
Rummikub requires players to recognize numbers and colours to match the tiles into sets. This keeps the cognitive functions of both the elderly and young active and nimble. At the same time, critical thinking is required to strategize how best to clear all the tiles on one’s rack. For the very young and elderly, fine motor-coordination is also being practiced as each player shuffles, picks and sets up the tiles for play. In this way, Rummikub helps develop and maintain cognitive functions, critical thinking and fine motor coordination and reduces the risk of intellectual decline which may result in Dementia or Alzheimer’s.
Rummikub has been a best-selling game for many years and sets for purchase can be easily found online. For those who want to get a feel of how the game play is like before making a purchase, you can try out the online versions of the game too. Google Play and Apple Store also have free versions of the game which can download for playing on handphones. Note however that while the online versions provide a free and easy way to access the game, nothing beats gathering face to face to play the actual version of the Rummikub . After all, the real attraction of the game lies in that it is able to bring people across different ages together for hours of joyful fun.
Growing Needs grew out of our own encounters with caring for our aging parents and reflecting on the Growing Needs that we ourselves would face as we advance in years. We hope to build a community that will learn, share and contribute towards caring for the growing needs of our loved ones.