Scrabble has been out on Facebook for, well, what seems like forever and now another classic board game is getting the social gaming treatment. The game Rummikub (pronounced 'Rummy-cube') has made the jump to Facebook, bringing along with it the same tile-swapping madness with a few socialized elements like video chat and the ability to send animated virtual gifts to fellow players.
If the first thought after reading this is "Rummy-wha?" here's a general idea on how the game works. Each player gets a handful of tiles (each with colored numbers on them) and the goal is to be the person to get rid of them first by laying them down on the board in either numerical order or in sets of the same numbers. You can also swap tiles that have already been played to make new sets later in the game. For more details on the Rummikub rules, go here. It's actually a lot like Scrabble, but instead of making words on a board, you're creating sets of numbers.
I gave the game a short test drive, and as a Rummikub virgin, it was a little difficult to get into the swing of things without being able to play against a computer opponent first. It looks like that will be an option at some point (there's a Play With Robots button in the main menu that's not active yet), but I was impressed how quickly you are matched with fellow players, and it was easy to send everyone at your table virtual gifts (a toast, good luck wishes, a kiss, if you're feeling sassy) in between turns.
The game allows you to start and customize your own room and those customization options will be extended at an unspecified point in the future. Rummikub.com also offers an almost identical version of this game, so if you've played the game there, the Facebook version will be instantly familiar. You'll start the game out with a certain number of coins, called Joker Credits, which can be used to send certain gifts or buy a new background for the room you're playing in, and when you run out, you can purchase more using real-life cash. It's not clear if you can earn more Joker Credits by winning a game (I haven't won one yet!), so stay tuned.
So, if you like Rummikub in real-life but don't have anyone to play it with or just want to try a game that doesn't involve planting and plowing crops on Facebook, give this classic game a whirl. But, I that recommendation comes with a warning. Before you play, make sure you can spare 15 minutes or so playing the game. Unlike FarmVille, you're pitted against live opponents, and quitting the game will spoil the tile-swapping fun for everyone.
Play Rummikub on Facebook now >