Play Rack-O


Rack-O first debuted in 1956, but I just bought it at an estate sale and let me tell you, it’s stood the test of time well. The rules, modified from, are below:

1. Remove cards from the deck according to the number of players you have. If the game includes three players, remove cards with numbers 51 to 60. For two players, remove cards with numbers 41 to 60. Do not remove any cards for a four-player game.
2. Place the card tray in the center of the table with the pile of cards in the draw pile. The other side of the tray will hold discards. Give each player a RACKO rack.
3. Deal each player cards one at a time, face down, until each player has 10 cards. Return the remainder of the cards face down to the draw section of the tray. Turn over the top card and place it face up in the discard pile.
4. Stack your cards into the rack one at a time as they are dealt, starting at the rear slot–labeled 50–and moving forward until all slots are full.
5. Start game play with the player on the dealer’s left. That player can take either the top card on the discard pile or the top card on the draw pile.
6. Replace a card in the rack with a newly drawn card, with a goal of getting all of your cards in the rack in order from lowest to highest, moving front to back. If you take a card from the discard pile, you must play it in the rack. If you take a card from the draw pile, you can immediately discard it, if you don’t want to place it in the rack.
7. Continue playing clockwise around the table until one player calls “RACKO” by getting all 10 of his cards in numerical order. This first person who calls “RACKO” is the winner or….
8. Score the round. The player who achieved RACKO earns 75 points. Each other player receives five points for each card in proper numerical order from front to back on his rack. Cards arranged in proper order after the first break in order do not count. For example, a player whose rack reads: “5, 9, 13, 24, 25, 32, 4, 35, 42, 55” would score points only up to the point at which the “4” card breaks the proper order. Keep track of the score on a piece of paper. Play rounds until one player reaches 500 points; that player is the winner of RACKO. If two players surpass 500 points on the same round, the player with the higher score wins.

The great thing about Rack-o, besides its simple objective that is easily repeated to those with memory loss, is that since it’s heyday was a few decades back, it, and its rules, may be stuck somewhere in the dusty parts of the person’s long-term memory, meaning that it should be easier to play than learning a brand-new game. Of course, you can always modify the rules as needed to make it even easier (use fewer cards, for example) if necessary, or play in teams so someone can help the person with memory loss.

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