by Amanda Nettgen
Number of players:
Racko is the card-shifting numbers game that’s entertaining for the whole family. It calls for your individual game rack to be organized to win.
The game and gameplay
The Racko game has been around for more than fifty years, but most likely you’ve overlooked it when shopping for a game for your family to play. I think you’ll find that it’s a clever little game that surprisingly fun for its age.
In the game, you begin by dealing ten cards facedown to each player. It’s their duty to carefully place these cards in the exact order in which they were received in the slots of their game rack, from back to front.
Everyone needs to resist the temptation to make sense of the chaos of numbers, as it’s the whole point of the game. The remaining cards form the STACKO, with the top card flipped over and resting next to the pile. This is all part of the set up.
Racko is played in rounds, with a final score of five hundred+ (for two players) to win. On your turn, you may opt to pick up the top card from the discard pile (next to the STACKO), or draw a fresh card from the tower.
No matter the origin you select, you must now swap your new card with one in your rack, aiming to establish some order with each go (if you drew a fresh card, you are allowed to simply discard it, meaning you had an empty turn).
Green Prime cards also come into play any time you discard one. The game says these babies have "special powers" in which you can take an additional turn, mess up two of an opponent’s cards without looking, or get a free extra swap for your own rack. You’re forbidden from picking up a discarded Prime card at the beginning of your turn.
When a person succeeds in arranging his cards in succession from lowest to highest, he shouts "Bingo!" – oh wait, that’s another game – I mean, "Racko!" and the round ends.
You then record everyone’s score on your TRACKO (gamespeak for whatever scratch paper you’re using). Whoever went Racko banks seventy five points, while the others get a measly five points per number in order, starting with the first card (stinks if you got stuck with a high card there at the end).
You can also do Bonus Racko where you are awarded extra points for having a straight (e.g., four, five, six) of three or more numbers in your queue. Bonus Racko is only for those who’ve gone Racko to start with - I guess so you can really cream your fellow contenders.Other games your family might enjoy!Aggravation board gameBattleship board gameClue (Cluedo)Connect FourGame of Life board gameGame of Life: Twists and TurnsGuess Who? gameJenga stacking gameJumanji gameMall MadnessMancala board gameMonopoly the board gamePass the PigsScrabble JuniorSkip-BoTicket to Ride board gameTricky TownTrouble board gameTurn the Tide gameTwister gameWooly BullyYahtzee Free For AllBest family board games guideThe Game of Life for the PCThe Game of Life: Path to Success for the PCMonopoly PC gamePros and cons
Racko is a tidy game of strategy and luck. The game says it might make you go WHACKO when you first start playing it (didn’t know there were so many ways to rhyme Racko, did you?). The cards include factoids regarding the number listed, which is amusing until you’ve read them all.
Turn-by-turn attempts to rearrange one’s rack might be confusing for some youngins, or perceived as uninteresting. You can modify the game play for kids (or just to have a shorter game) to be that a player wins the entire game as soon as he goes Racko.
Overall, Racko is a cheap, travel-friendly family or couples game.
The fun of the game eventually wears off, but it’s priced right in that you’ll get your money’s worth with the number of times you replay it. It’s a sure buy for a lot of people.