Get on board:
Triominos and Rummikub

Two quietly satisfying board games

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Two classic but under-rated tile games provide a perfect excuse to sit round a table with all the family post-Christmas. You’ve no doubt heard of dominoes, Triominos’ more famous cousin, but where the former uses rectangular tiles, this one has – you guessed it – triangular ones. Rummikub meanwhile is a number strategy game that, with flavours of classic card games, is as familiar as it is obscure.

Granted, numbers aren’t exactly everyone’s idea of fun, but when the premise of the game involves matching pairs, you can let out a sigh of relief. Rather than a series of dots found on dominoes tiles, each corner of the Triominos tile has a number from 0-5. To complete a turn, one of your tile’s sides must fully match another side on the table.

If the tile is placed successfully you count up all the numbers on the tile and add it to your score. However, if you cannot make a move, you must pick up an additional tile from the pile and play it straight away and five points are deducted from your score. Aside from its unconventional tile shape Triominos isn’t breaking any moulds, but it acts as a nice icebreaker for a games night or something to kill a bit of time.

Rummikub, a classic numbers game, has quite a different style of play. It was invented in Romania in the 1940s by Ephraim Hertzano after card playing was outlawed under the Communist regime. He fully developed it while living in Israel, where he sold it door to door. Very similar to several central European card games that require two decks of cards to play, Rummikub is played with small numbered tiles, which must be played in groups or runs.

When a player can make a set of at least 30 points they place their move in the middle of the table. What is quite different from other games is that players can alter sets in their favour. If a player is stuck, they can break up a set or add tiles to existing ones. There is no actual limit to the amount of tiles played in one go, resulting in game plans being constantly re-evaluated. A bit more tactical than Triominos at its core, Rummikub is Israel’s bestselling export game for a reason.

Neither of these games will have you on the edge of your seat, nor are they raucous party pleasers, but they make a nice change of pace to the increasingly tactical and elaborate trends in tabletop gaming. Let the simplicity of these classics ease you into 2020.

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