Pros:Simple, quick, fun, educational
Cons:Card tray could use a design change
What is Racko?
Recommend this product?
Racko is a game by Parker Brothers made for 2-4 players ages 8 to adult. It is a card game and the cards sit in racks, which is where the Racko name comes from.
I confess I didn’t know Racko still existed! I used to play this game as a child when we would visit my grandparents’ house. They’d always drag out Racko to keep us entertained. I was quite surprised about a year ago when my grandma gave my 7 year old a Racko game! I hadn’t noticed it in stores but I guess I was never specifically looking for it, either.
My older two kids and I play Racko quite frequently now. This is one game I like to play since it is quick and simple with easy directions and not tons of little pieces to lose.
Racko comes with a deck of cards that show numbers on them, from 1-60. There are also four card racks that have slots in them to place your cards in during play. Each player gets 10 cards. There are two teal racks and two purple racks. The only other item in the game is a card tray which holds the discard pile and the draw pile. Simple!
After the cards are shuffled, the dealer gives each player 10 cards which are placed into the rack in order of how they are dealt. The cards are upright in the rack, one behind another, so that each player can see his cards and only his cards.
The object of Racko is to get 10 cards in numerical order from low to high. There is no certain order and nothing has to be sequential, but they just have to go from low numbers to high numbers. You can’t rearrange the cards in your rack, so this is where the draw pile comes into play. You can draw a new card and take one out of your rack and replace it. You discard the one you don’t want. If your cards are in a very jumbled order, you have to somewhat guess at where to put it, using reasoning. For example, if you drew a 10, you’d want it in one of the first couple slots in the lineup. You wouldn’t want it in the last slot, or you’d need all cards 1-10 to win!
There is strategy involved as far as placement goes, but the rest of it can be the luck of the draw.
The first player to get his cards in the correct order yells “Rack-O!” and is declared the winner and gets points. The other players get a smaller amount of points depending on how many cards they did get into correct order. You are supposed to play a series of rounds to see who reaches 500 points first. You can use whatever scoring system your family agrees on, though.
Why do I like this game so well?
• Easy to set up -- You hand out the racks, shuffle and deal the cards and start playing.
• No complicated directions -- I despise games that have so many rules that you are constantly referring to the directions (if you can even find them). Children quickly lose interest in games like that, and adults tend to get annoyed after a point. Racko is very straightforward.
•Quick to play -- As a person that hates games like Monopoly, I appreciate that fact. You can play any number of rounds and quit when you’d like. You won’t dread it when your child asks to play Racko.
• No little pieces -- Not only does it help prevent losing part of your game, but this is very nice if you have younger children at home. There are no pieces they can choke on or otherwise get hurt on. In fact, when you play with less then 4 players, you don’t use the full 60 cards. When just three of us play, there is an extra rack and 10 extra cards, so my 3 year old sits at the table with us and plays with her own rack and cards and thinks she is part of our game. It is perfect for keeping her busy and I don’t have to worry about her or the baby getting into this game.
• Educational -- This game helps children develop strategy skills and helps with the numbering concepts, although the kids probably don’t even realize it.
• Inexpensive -- This game was around $6.00 when I saw it in the store on a recent shopping trip. This would be a nice gift at an affordable price.
There is room for improvement in the design of the card tray, which is where the draw pile and discard pile are located. The tray is designed that so that a player drawing a card can just slide the card effortlessly out of the tray. Under the stack of cards is a plastic piece in the tray that runs horizontally under the cards and lifts them up above the tray and gives a see-saw effect. The card stack can tilt this way or that, and the card slides as you draw your card off the top.
This works wonderfully -- if you are one of the players on those two ends of the card tray. If you are a player on an opposite side, the cards don’t slide off the stack that direction and you have to grab the card from inside the tray which doesn’t leave much finger room, or you have to turn the tray and then grab your card. No big deal, just annoying. This can be solved by just skipping the tray and laying the stack of cards on the table surface instead.
This is for ages 8 to adult. My 7 year old had no trouble with it when he received it for his birthday. However, I see that it could be frustrating to a child younger than 8, depending on ability level. I wouldn’t go too much below the 8 year mark unless your child seems able to handle it. The game could quickly be resented if that was the case.
I noticed one other feature on the cards that helps the child get the cards in the correct order. The numbers on the cards are placed on the left side of the card in the lower digits, but as the numbers get higher, the placement of the numbers drifts to the right. This means that when the cards are aligned correctly, the path of numbers will make a diagonal type of line from left in the front to the right in the back. If the child understands this concept, this helps them see at a glance which cards are way out of place.
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