Rack-O is a famous card game that dates back to the 1950s. While the game isn’t quite as popular these days, this game still has plenty of fans and is an excellent game for children and families.
Everyone loves a good card game, don’t they? But Rack-O isn’t your typical card game like Go Fish; it uses special cards and the titular rack! So before we look at the rules, let’s take a more in-depth look at the game.
What is the Rack-O Card Game?
Rack-O was manufactured in the 1950s by the American game company Milton Bradley. This game is essentially a number matching game, but it plays pretty differently from other matching games like Old Maid.
Each player has their own card rack and will have to play numbers sequentially. Each rack will have space for 10 cards, and players need to collect cards in numerical order over the course of the game.
The standard deck of cards used in Rack-O usually is 60 cards. However, you only use all the cards if you play with 4 people. The deck is reduced if you are playing with fewer people. Over the course of the game, players will be swapping cards in and out of their racks.
The first player to fill their rack with a full 10 cards will win! But of course, things aren’t quite so simple; we’ll be taking you through everything you need to know in the rules section below. Rack-O might seem simple at first glance, but a bit of strategy is involved.
You can also play Rack-O in several ways and even personalize it with house rules like in Monopoly. However, if you decide to play Rack-O, it’s sure to be a good time and plenty of fun. But to play, you’ll need a Rack-O game set.
What You’ll Need To Play?
Rack-O makes a great two-player card game and can be played with up to 4 people. Rack-O is quite an old game but can still be found in some toy/ game shops. But looking for a Rack-O set online is likely your best option.
Now once you have your game set, you might be a little confused about all the equipment in the box. But don’t worry, we’ll talk you through everything and explain how it all works! Rack-O might look a little confusing initially, but it’s simpler than you might think.
You don’t see many games using racks, do you? But in Rack-O, these handy pieces of equipment are essential to playing Rack-O. Each rack will have 10 spaces across it for you to slot cards into.
Each slot will be marked with a number; these go up in increments of 5, with 50 being the top number. The highest card goes in the top slot while it goes down sequentially; the aim is to get all your cards in the rack from highest to lowest.
You get 60 numbered cards in Rack-O, but depending on the number of players, you might not end up using them all. Over the course of the game, players will discard and draw cards to get their rack in order.
The Card Tray
Finally, another piece of equipment you get in the Rack-O box is a card tray. This is where you’ll set up the draw pile and discard pile. Make sure you don’t get each pile mixed up during the course of the game.
Rules And Gameplay
The Aim of The Game
The aim of Rack-O is simple – you have to be the first player to complete your rack! But what does this mean? You need to be the first player to fill all 10 slots with cards. But the cards need to be in sequential order from highest to lowest. This might sound easy, but you must follow the rules and play carefully.
The first thing to do is choose a dealer. To do this, shuffle the deck and have every player choose a card. The player with the highest number will become the dealer. The dealer’s first job is to sort the deck for the game ahead.
There are 60 cards in the standard deck, numbered 1 – 60, but you might not use them all. Instead, use the list below to see how the cards work.
- 2 Players – Cards 1 – 40
- 3 Players – Cards 1 – 50
- 4 Players – Cards 1 – 60
Once done, place the card tray in the center and give every player a rack. The dealer should shuffle the deck of cards and begin dealing them out. Cards should be dealt facedown one at a time.
Each player will be dealt 10 cards in total, but players will need to add them to their rack as they are dealt. Cards should be placed in the top slot first (number 50) and down sequentially. It doesn’t matter what number is on the cards at this point in the game.
The remaining cards are then put in the card tray in the draw pile spot. Once every player has placed their cards and finished their rack, the game begins!
The player to the dealer’s left will go first. On your turn, you can either take the top card from the draw pile or the discard pile. No matter your choice, you must swap your new card for one of your racked ones.
Place your discarded card faceup on the discard pile. Play then goes to the next player and continues in this pattern. Remember to win at Rack-O; you must get all your cards ordered sequentially from highest to lowest.
It doesn’t matter which numbers are used as long as they are in proper highest to lowest order. If you’re lucky, you might only need to swap out a few cards, but if you’re unlucky, you might need to swap all of them!
When one player completes their rack, they should shout “Rack-O” and show it to the other players. If you’re playing one round, the game is now over. However, Rack-O is typically played over multiple rounds using a points system.
Rack-O Points Play
The rules stay pretty much the same to play Rack-O for points, but there are some additional things to remember. The first is that the first player to win scores 75 points. The rest of the players score points depending on the number of cards they have in order.
- 1-3 Cards In Order – 10 Points
- 4-6 Cards In Order – 30 Points
- 7-9 Cards In Order – 50 Points
Rack-O is then played over multiple rounds until one player scores 500 points (or your agreed-upon amount), and if you like, you can add additional bonus house rules. Some fun rules are card bonuses for players who have specific cards.
This adds some extra strategy to the game because it can cause players to hand on to cards rather than swap them out. To give you some ideas, we’ve listed some additional bonus house rules you can use below.
- Have The Number 1 Card In Your Rack – 50 Points
- Have The Highest Card In Your Rack – 50 Points
- Have The Middle Card In Your Rack – 25 Points
Rack-O – A Radical 50s Card Game
Rack-O might be retro, but it stands out from the many other card games played today! It might seem simple, but a surprising amount of strategy is involved. If you’re looking for something a little different, give Rack-O a try.