Lockdown 3 here in the UK has seen us continue our regular boardgame evenings over Skype with friends. We have however got into a bit of a rut with playing some of the classic old games, so in an attempt to shake things up a bit I went for a rummage in our pile of boardgames and pulled out something new from my charity shop purchases to try – 5 Second Rule.
Now this is a game that I saw demonstrated by University Games at a Toy Fair years ago and at the time I thought that it would work well as a podcast episode for the (now slightly neglected) HandI Pod. The version we played last night I picked up in a charity shop sometime before Covid and it looks like it was probably only played once as one of the sets of cards is still in its cellophane wrapping inside the box.
The general premise of the game is incredibly simple. Players have 5 seconds to name three of something. It could be “name three famous Michaels” or “name three magazines” or even “name three things that annoy you”. If they manage it they get to move one space along the board. If they don’t play goes around the board until all players have a turn. If one manages it then they get the point and it stops there. If no one can do it then the player who had the first go score the point. Play then moves on to the next player.
The five seconds is measured with a spiral timer in which a series of tiny ball bearings run down the tube. It makes a noise when you turn it over, but there’s no real noise when it finishes which made it a tad trickier when playing remotely as we just had to tell the other players when their time was up instead.
The board part of the game has just 12 spaces on it and the first player to get to the end is the winner. On the way there are two “danger zones” and if a player is in the danger zone and doesn’t manage to name three then they miss their next turn.
Incredibly simple really.
The only part of the game that we sometimes found a tad confusing was remembering whose turn it actually was. Whilst you might start with one player trying to answer, you can on some questions move around quite quickly and it then took us a while to figure out who had actually started answering.
An added twist to the game are that each player starts with two “switch” cards and two “pass on” cards. With each of these card types, the player has the opportunity to quickly play the card before they start answering once they have heard the question. The “switch” card allows them to be given a second question to respond to. Meanwhile the “pass on” card is used to pass their turn on to the next player around the table. If they manage to name three then they get the point, but if they don’t then the player who played the “pass on” card gets the points. Useful if it’s a subject that you know the next player has no clue about. Like football in my husband’s case!
Overall 5 Second Rule is a fun, simple game. It game us quite a few laughs. Naming three things might sound easy, but when the time pressure is on it’s much harder than you think. As the player who claims to have an encyclopaedic knowledge of football found when asked to name three England Football team managers! There’s a list here that you can check your answers against or just to swot up with before you play.
If anything we felt that the board could have been longer. With only 12 spaces on there it didn’t take that long for someone to get to the end. Good if you want a quick game, but if you’re planning a whole evening playing you might want to do a “best of 5” type competition instead.
Whilst the version of 5 Second Rule that we played was published by University Games it seems that newer versions are by Interplay. There has also been a flurry of different versions. For completeness here’s a list:
- 5 Second Rule – original version
- 5 Second Rule Jr – a children’s version aimed at age 6+
- 5 Second Rule Mini Game – a version without the board
- 5 Second Rule Spintensity – an electronic version that gives you new challenges on each turn
All the above are published by Interplay, but in addition I’ve also found an additional 18+ version, 5 Second Rule Uncensored by PlayMonster. Let’s just say I wouldn’t recommend you leave this version around the kids, but it would work perfectly for an adults games night, especially at something like a hen party.
Disclaimer: I paid for this game myself and received nothing for this post. The product links above are affiliate links. If you click through and buy anything it will cost you no more than if you’d arrived at the site on your own, but I will receive a small commission. Any purchases and subsequent commission are very much appreciated.