Sometimes, hurling a timeless classic into modern times can be a formula for success. Case-in-point P-Kama, an Israeli company with $1.8M in funding that purchased the licensing rights to market Rummikub online.
What’s Rummikub, you ask? True, it’s not as synonymous with boardgames as Monopoly is, but the tile-based game sells 3 million units a year globally. Add an avid following since the seventies, and you can quickly come to the conclusion that it might not be a bad idea to try pressing Rummikub’s luck in the times of the social Web.
That is precisely what P-Kama has done with its recently debuted Rummikub for Facebook app, which can also be played right on Rummikub.com thanks to Facebook Connect.
Rummikub is a multiplayer game whose objective is to create either a sets three tiles bearing the same figure in different colors, or sets of runs—three consecutive numbers in the same color.
The first player to place all the tiles on their rack on the table wins.
Rummikub’s main component is a pool of 106 tiles, consisting of 104 number tiles and two joker tiles. The number tiles range in value from one to thirteen, in four colors (black, yellow, blue and red).
Each combination of color and number is represented twice. Players each have a rack to store tiles, without revealing them to the other players, similar to that used in Scrabble.
In Rummikub’s online version, game play takes place in both private and public rooms that accommodate up to four players at a time. Extra bells and whistles include video chat and throwing of tomatoes at slow-playing opponents.
Unsurprisingly, Rummikub is running a virtual goods ecosystem based on ‘Joker Credits’ as currency. The credits can be used to purchase entry to tournaments, as well as gifts and room themes. For example, gifts players can send each other during a game cost 1-3 Joker Credits, room themes can cost up to 20. Pricing is tiered, where 50 credits will run you $5, 150 credits will cost $10, and so on.
Will Rummikub be the next Zynga Poker? Probably not, but with a third of its users being women in the 20-40 yearold demographic (a virtual goods sweet spot), it could still make loot.