This evening we played Rummikub. Richard doesn't seem to have had much of a break this week (the latest entry on his blog explains why!) and it's all too easy for us all to be at computers in the evening. Dan goes away to the Doulos in 10 days so we wanted to do a few things together as a family before life changes for us all.
To 'start' in Rummikub, players have to put down runs and/or groups of tiles whose numbers add up to 30 points or more. If they don't have that much, they have to pick up another tile. Every so often there's a round where three people have started, and one keeps having to pick up more and more tiles. We theorised once what was the maximum number that someone could collect without being able to start, and it was a pretty high number. But that would rely on VERY bad luck.
However it looked as if Tim was going to keep on collecting tiles for an entire round this evening. He had too many for his rack before he could start.
Yes, we were 12 rounds into this game and Tim still couldn't start. The total he could put down from his hand came to 18 points. We had to play another three rounds before he had managed to pick up pieces he could use to get that vital 30. A black six was the vital one:
Once had had gone down, he could start to enjoy himself. Using what we had already put on the board, he could add to them, replace the jokers, and put down more sets of tiles. With careful thought and much manipulation of the tiles already placed (ensuring that they all had a minimum of three as a group or run, of course)... he managed to go out. So he just had one turn in that game, but it was a very successful one!*
Just before Tim did this mammoth effort, we realised we were running short of tiles to pick up. We pass them round in a bag... what would happen if there were none left? We couldn't find the instructions. Or rather, the only instructions we could find were in Chinese. If Tim hadn't been able to start, I don't think any of us would have been able to get rid of all our tiles and go out, as he had so many useful pieces in his hand!
So we decided we would adopt a new rule, in such a contingency. If there were no tiles left to pass around, we would open a box of chocolates and pass that around instead.
* In case any Rummikub experts look closely at the photo and think he made an error... the tiles on the right need to be read up and down. He took yellow and black 1-2-3 sequences, a red 3 that was on a longer run and a blue 1 from a set of four 1s, and got rid of his final blue 2 that way. Three 1s, three 2s, three 3s. Just not ordered horizontally.