5 Second Rule Review
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Players: 3 or more (ages 10+)
Playing Time: Varies

Quick—name three famous bald men!

Let’s see…there’s Michael Jordan…

Hmmm…Bruce Willis…

And…um…Michael Chiklis.

Good. Now try doing it in five seconds or less.

It may seem totally feasible—but once you flip the 5 Second Rule timer, you’ll discover just how quickly that time goes by.

5 Second Rule is a simple game to learn. Really, there’s not much to it. Players take turns being in the Hot Seat. When it’s your turn, you’re given a category—such as “Name 3 famous Michaels”—and you have five seconds to come up with three answers that fit the category. If you’re successful, you get a point. If not, the player to your right gets a chance to come up with three new answers (ones that you didn’t already mention).

Play goes around the circle until either someone comes up with three correct answers or play returns to the original player. If no one was able to come up with three answers, the original player gets the point.

The next player is then challenged with the next category—and play continues for a pre-determined number of rounds (or until your brains are completely fried).

Though the rules are simple, the game is anything but. You’ll have to think fast to come up with the right answers—and a little bit of creativity doesn’t hurt, either. While some categories are relatively easy—and quick-witted players won’t have too much of a problem coming up with a trio of answers—some are incredibly challenging. Sometimes, you’ll draw a complete blank—and you won’t be able to think of a single answer before time runs out. Others will lead to a quick answer or two before you completely run out of ideas. In fact, that’s the way it was the first time I played. The first several cards were so challenging that no one could come up with three answers for a round or two—and we were almost ready to give up when someone was finally able to get a point.

On your first try, 5 Second Rule can be an infuriating (and almost humiliating) game to play. But just hang in there. Once you get the hang of it—and your brain finally starts warming up—you’ll be able to come up with a few answers here and there. And once things really heat up, it turns into one quick and crazy game.

If you’re not a big fan of games that put you in the Hot Seat, though—or if you just need a little extra help—I recommend playing with a partner. After all, two heads are often better than one—and it relieves the pressure a bit.

Either way, though, if you’re looking for a simple but challenging party game, 5 Second Rule is a good choice. It’s a fast-paced game that’s guaranteed to get everybody talking.

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