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How To Play Rack-O: Rack-O Rules

Overview

Rack-O is a classic card game that is enjoyed by players from the age of 8 upwards. The game is fun and easy to play which makes it a good choice for a social gathering. Players attempt to stack the cards in their rack from the highest to the lowest to win a round of the game. Points are awarded at the end of each round with the first player to score a total of 500 points winning the game.

Objective

Be the first player to stack the cards in your rack in numerical order I.e. from the highest to the lowest to win a round and earn points. The first player to earn a total of 500 points wins the game.

Rack-O Rules

A player taking their turn must draw the top card of either the draw pile or the discard pile.

If the top card of the draw pile is picked, the player can either exchange that card with one card in their rack or discard the card they picked on the discard pile immediately.

If the top card of the discard pile is drawn, the player must exchange that card with one of the cards in their rack.

Arrange the cards in your rack from highest to lowest and say Rack-O to win a round of the game.

Number of Players Needed

2 to 4 players.

Equipment

A 60 card deck of Rack-O cards

4 plastic Rack-O racks

Setting Up

There are 60 cards in a Rack-O card deck which are numbered from 1 to 60. If four players are involved in a game of Rack-O, all 60 cards are used to play the game. If three players are involved, only 50 cards are used (Numbers 1 to 50). For a Rack-O game involving 2 players, only the cards numbered 1 to 40 are used.

Each player picks up a Rack-O rack. The numbers 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, and 50 appear on the racks and are only used for scoring. A dealer is chosen from among the players. To determine the dealer, have all the player draw a card each from the deck. The player who draws the lowest card becomes the dealer. The dealer then gathers all the cards and shuffle them after which they deal 10 cards to each player.

As each player receives a card from the dealer, they place it in a slot on their rack beginning with the slot numbered 50. This means that the first card a player receives from the dealer goes to the slot labelled 50, the second card goes to the slot labelled 45, the third card goes to the slot numbered 40 and so on until the 10th and final card is received and is placed in the slot labelled 5.

The remaining cards after each player has been given 10 cards are placed face-down in the middle of the playing surface to form the draw pile. The top card of the draw pile is flipped and placed face-up beside the draw pile to start the discard pile.

How to Play Rack-O

Players take turns to play the game, beginning with the player to the left of the dealer. On each turn, a player must draw the top card of either the draw pile or the discard pile. If the player draws the top card of the face-down draw pile, the player can either exchange that card for one of the cards in their rack or discard the card they drew straightaway on the discard pile. If the player chooses to exchange the drawn card with one from their rack, the drawn card must go into the slot occupied the card it is replacing while the displaced card is discarded on the discard pile. If the player draws the top card of the face-up discard pile, the player must exchange that card with one card from their rack. A player cannot return a card they picked from the discard pile.

The game is played in rounds. A round of the game ends after one player has arranged 10 cards in their rack from the highest to the lowest. The highest card will be in the number 50 slot, while the lowest card will occupy the number 5 slot. The card arrangement only has to be from highest to lowest and the cards do not have to follow each other consecutively. For example, a sequence of 3, 9, 12, 15, 27, 32, 44, 48, 53, and 57 is a winning sequence. 

Once a player is sure of that they have a winning card arrangement, they call out Rack-O to notify the other players. That player wins the round and earns a total of 75 points for their win, 5 points for each tile on their rack and 25 points for winning. The other players will receive 5 points for each card that is arranged from the lowest to the highest in their rack. Scoring begins with the card in the number 5 slot and ends where the succession of higher cards is broken. For example, if a player has a sequence of cards arranged as follow; 7, 10, 18, 22, 30, 13, 45, 37, 26, and 52, the player will only earn 25 points as their low to high sequence starts from 7 and ends at 30.

The points earned by each player is recorded and tallied at the end of each round. The first player to score at least 500 points wins a game of Rack-O. To begin a new round, the player to the left of the last dealer becomes the dealer for the new round and the game progresses as described above. If the draw pile gets exhausted while a round of the game is still in progress, the top card of the discard pile is set aside while the remaining cards of the discard pile are flipped to form a new draw pile.

Rack-O can be played in a slightly different way from what was described above to make the game more challenging. These versions are;

Bonus Rack-O: In this version, players aim to score an extra 50 to 400 “Bonus” points for winning a round of the game. To do this, a player must have a sequence of 3 to 6 cards that follow one another consecutively known as “Runs” in their card arrangement before yelling Rack-O. The normal rules of Rack-O apply and the game is played just like the normal version only that players have to choose between going Rack-O immediately they have a high to a low sequence of cards to earn 75 points or the aim for more points. 

For a Three Card Run, 50 bonus points are added and the winning player gets a total of 125 points for that round.

For a Four Card Run, 100 bonus points are added and the winning player gets a total of 175 points for that round.

For a Five Card Run, 200 bonus points are added and the winning player gets a total of 275 points for that round.

For a Six or more Card Run, 400 bonus points are added and the winning player gets a total of 475 points.

Note that only the winning player gets the bonus points in Bonus Rack-O. The other players are scored just like in the normal version. Also, if at the end of a round the winning player has more than one Run in their rack, only the longest Run will earn them a bonus point.

2 Player Rack-O: This version is adapted for when only two players are involved in a Rack-O game to make the game more challenging. The game is played normally and the rules are the same as in the normal version only that a player cannot win a round of the game unless they have at least 3 consecutive cards in their highest to lowest card arrangement. The winning player only gets 75 points for their win though. Think of this version as the Bonus Rack-O but without the bonus. 

2 VS 2 (Team Game): Rack-O can be played as a team game, with 2 players each on both teams. The game is played just like the normal version but the scores of the two players in a team are combined at the end of each round. The first team to score 500 points win.

Winning the Game

To win a game of Rack-O, a player must score at least 500 points. the game is played in rounds and players are earn points at the end of each round. 

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