Sunday, November 23, 2014

Game Review: Rack-O

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Simple to learn yet tons of fun to play
Cons: None for me
The Bottom Line:
Numbers fall in line
As you race to organize
One card at a time

Organizing Numbers Has Never Been So Fun

There are some games that are so simple it is amazing no one thought of them earlier.  And yet, these are often the most fun games.  A perfect example of that is Rack-O, and I just love playing it.

The set up and equipment are simple.  There are four trays with slots in them, a tray for the draw and discard pile, and a stack of 60 cards with one number each on them.  2 to 4 people can play (and you can take out some of the cards if fewer than 4 are playing).

To start the game, shuffle the cards and deal 10 to each person.  The rest are put in a draw pile with the next card turned face up to create the discard pile.  Each player lines up their cards in their holder so only they can see them, and they must put the cards in the holders in the order received, first in the back, most recent in the front.

The object is to arrange cards in numerical order from lowest in the front to highest in the back.  To do so, you draw either the top card from the discard pile and trade it with a card already in your rack or you draw the top card from the draw pile and either use it in your rack or discard it.  The first person to get all their numbers in order says “Rack-O” and wins.

See, it really is that simple.  Yet it is tons of fun.  My family has had this game for several years, and we always enjoy pulling it out and playing.  The game is part luck (which cards you draw or the person before you throws away) and skill (where you place the cards you decide to use in your rack).  The skill actually does come into play more than you might think since sometimes you can wind up with a gap too narrow or where all the cards are already in use.  You need to pay attention to what everyone throws away.

My family always just plays one round at a time, declaring a winner and then moving on.  However, you can keep score and play until one person reaches the limit.  Each card in order from the front to the back count as 5 points (the points are on the side of the racks), so the first break in your sequence ends your score.  The person getting Rack-O automatically gets 75 points.

The box recommends this game for ages 8 and older.  I’d say you could introduce it younger since all you need to be able to do is count to 60.  You might need to team up with the younger kids early on, but before you know it, they’ll be playing on their own (and probably beating you).

This isn't one of the first games we pull out, but we enjoy it every time we do.  Rack-O is a simple yet fun game that everyone can enjoy together.

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