Racko Rules: How to Play Racko the Game

If you’re looking for a unique vintage card game, we may have a game that is ideal for your board game needs.

Racko rules are very simple once you get the hang of them, and the best way to achieve this is with plenty of games with the pals.

The game may not be as well known as other contemporary games such as Trivial Pursuit and Operation but it is unique from other card games with its point scoring system of gameplay.

Racko requires players to get cards into numerical order, so if you’ve ever played Rummy or any of its variations like the Pitty Pat card game or Conquian then this card game should be familiar to you.

If you’ve never played Racko or similar games, then worry not as our detailed guide will teach you the Racko rules including setup, scoring and gameplay tips.

What Is Racko?

Rack-O Card Game Info Image

Racko is a game where players get their cards in order and amass points while doing so. It uses a special deck numbered 1-60 rather than the standard 52 decks of cards.

First created in 1956 and published by Milton Bradley, who is now owned by boardgame giants Hasbro. If you’re lucky enough to own a vintage copy of the game then you will appreciate the classic card style and the customary card holder that comes with the game. 

Number of Players Required: 2 – 4 players.

Who Can Play It: Recommended for ages 8+.

Difficulty: Easy.

Length of Play: 10 – 20 minutes per round.

Similar to: Pitty Pat; Conquian; Hand, Knee and Foot; Rummikub; Phase 10

Main Goal: Become the first player to amass 500 points by scoring points by organizing cards into numerical order.

Why we love it: Vintage games are some of our favorites as they are often timeless in their simplicity and the Racko rules are quick for all players to be able to quickly understand. It’s ideal to bust out on family fun nights and be able to play many games.

racko rules gameplay image

Playing Racko – What You’ll Need

To play any vintage game, the best place to start is by sourcing the official board game set. It may be tricky to find an original edition but you may luck out if you go to any thrift shop or yard sale.

Fortunately, you can buy updated modern versions of Racko that also comes with all the stuff needed to play.

This should include:

  • 60 card deck of official Racko cards
  • 4 plastic cardholders
  • Table or space to play
  • Pen and paper to record players scores

As long as you have the 60 Racko cards though, you’ll be ready to play.

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How To Set Up Racko

It’s simple to set up a game of Racko, as all that you’ll need to do is shuffle the deck of cards.

The number of cards used is dependent on the number of players in the game. If there are 2 players, use only 40 cards. 3 players require 50 cards only and 4 players use the full 60 card deck.

One player deals each player out 10 cards each, with the rest placed in the middle as the draw pile.

Overturn the top card from the draw pile and place it face up into a separate pile as the discard pile.

Racko Rules and Gameplay

Now you have the correct board game and it has been set up relevant to the number of people playing, the game can begin.

Starting the Game

Before the game begins and after a player shuffles the deck, have players cut the deck to determine who has to deal the cards.

The dealer then deals out 10 cards to each player. As the cards get dealt out, players add each card received into their cardholder, starting at slot number 50 and working back from there. There are 10 of these in multiples of 5.

Players cannot rearrange these cards at this point in the game. Play continues from the left of the dealer.

How to Play Racko

Racko rules state that the game is in rounds. Each round ends when a player shouts RACKO once all their cards in their cardholder are in numerical order.

Play continues until a player successfully accumulates 500 points.

The game is also played in turns. When it’s a player turns, there are several moves that they can play to attempt to get their cards in order.

When it’s your turn:

  • Start by drawing a card from either the discard or the draw pile.
  • If the top card gets taken from the discard pile, that player must swap with a card from their rack and this becomes the top card of the discard pile instead.
  • If a card gets taken from the draw pile, then you can keep it and replace an existing card. Or you can immediately discard the drawn card onto the discard pile.
  • Regardless of the decision made, a player’s turn ends after you’ve discarded 1 card. Players can only move 1 card per turn.
  • This continues until you or another player is able to shout RACKO. Points are then calculated, and a new round begins if no player has managed to get 500 points.

Scoring In Racko

All players can register a score even if they weren’t the player who shouted RACKO.

Work out scoring out on this basis:

  • The player who arranges their cards correctly and shouts RACKO first gets awarded 75 points. 5 points for each card in order and a bonus of 25 points for being first.
  • All the other players get awarded 5 points for each card that they have in the correct order, starting from the number ‘5’ in their cardholder.

Scores carry over each round until a player is able to score 500 points to win the game.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the Racko rules if 2 players accumulate 500+ points at the end of the same round?

It’s unlikely that 2 players will manage to gain 500 points in the same turn. If it does happen then simply award the win to whoever accumulates the most points.

If the scores are level, have the players with the same score play one last round with the winner taking the victory.

Are there any bonus points awarded for getting numbers in a run?

In normal game rules, there aren’t any bonuses or benefits to arranging numbers in a run (sequence of numbers one after the other).

You can decide to award a score of 100 points extra if this does happen as it is very difficult to do, but this is optional.

What do you mean by ‘cutting the deck’ in Racko?

Cutting the deck simply means shuffling the cards and then splitting them in half. Whatever card is on the bottom of the lifted pile gets designated to that player.

This is simply a way to pick a card at random, but tailor this part of the game to whatever suits you and your group.

Alternative games to Racko

Racko is a game that can be easily introduced and integrated into a board game night with your friends and family.

You may also choose to have a themed traditional board game night that Racko would fit perfectly in, and you can also add other games too.

Refresh yourself on the Twister game rules and Trouble, 2 games that are also classics that we provide comprehensive guides to as well. 

We have plenty of recommendations for card games too. Have a look at more games with their own deck of cards and learn the Mille Bornes rules and the Five Crown rules to really expand your card games.

Or get yourself a standard 52 card deck, so you can play many games in a pinch including Chase the Ace card game, or teach everyone how to play Spoons.

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