How to Play 5 Second Rule Game

If you think you and your friends are funny, wait until you’ve put them on the spot playing the 5 Second Rule game. It might look like a regular card and board game, but 5 Second Rule rules are designed to make the game ridiculously hilarious, fast-paced, and challenging at the same time.

It is a question-answer board game but is nothing like Guess Who where you have to ask the right questions to win. Quite contrastingly, in 5 Second Rule, you’ve got to know the right answers in the right amount of time to have a chance at winning.

If you’re excited to see who’s the wittiest one among your lot of friends and family, let’s cut straight to the chase and discover the details of the 5 second rule game.

What Is 5 Second Rule? 

5 Second Rule Board Game Info image

5 Second Rule is a racing board game where players have to name 3 things, people or places to be able to score and proceed on the board. It involves wits, quick on the spot thinking, spontaneity, and of course, the presence of mind.

Number Of Players: 2-6

Ages: Ideal for 10 years and up. 

Difficulty: Easy.

Length Of Play: 10 – 20 mins; varies highly according to the number of players.

Main Objective: Think fast and answer questions spontaneously to move forward.

Why We Love It: More than a race against each other, this board game is a race against time. The answers that are blurted out in haste can be ridiculously hilarious and add to the zest and fun of the game. The questions are easy enough for kids to understand and answer, but unique enough to apply quick thinking. 

Brief History Of The 5 Second Rule Game 

The 5 Second Rule board game is known to be the brainchild of one Michael Sistrunk who happened to come to terms with the inability of humans to recollect things under pressure. 

The basic idea behind the game was that in a casual setting, anyone might be able to name 3 bald celebrities but when in a competition, playing to answer under 5 seconds, the same names would become extremely difficult to recollect. The idea was first applied with his small gathering of friends and was evidently a hit.

The prototype was then proposed to Play Monster; a game developing company that grabbed the idea with eager hands and made a bestselling board game out of it.

What You Need To Play 5 Second Rule

All you need is a 5 Second Rule game kit and you’ll be set. In a kit you will have the following:

  • 376 Question cards.
  • 12 Pass On cards and 12 Switch cards (2 of each type is distributed to each player at the beginning of the game).
  • 6 Playing Pawns.
  • 1 Board.
  • 1 Spiral timer.
You can either buy the regular family version by Play Monster or an uncensored version that’s specially curated keeping in mind that adults might want more mature questions for a fun game and drinking games night.
Our Pick
5 Second Rule Game – New Edition
$24.99 $13.75
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02/16/2024 08:37 pm GMT

5 Second Rule Rules, Gameplay, Instructions, and Tips

The game begins by pre-deciding a specific number of rounds to be played (if the board is not being used). Since winning is actually about effort, knowledge, and smartness, a prize or the power to give a silly punishment to the loser is also often associated with the game.


The group can choose if the youngest would be the first one to answer or the owner of the game. The player at the left of the answering player has to pick a card from the card box and read out the question to the player on the hot seat. 

As soon as the player is done reading the question out aloud, the spiral timer is placed upside-down and the balls start rolling (the clock starts ticking). True to the game, the balls roll down the spiral within 5 seconds, during which the answering player has to name the three elements that are required by the picked card.

If the player is not able to complete 3 names, the question is passed on to the next player. The rule is that the answers cannot be repeated. So, if any question is passed on after a player attempts at answering it, the difficulty level is going to increase with every passing turn. 

If the player successfully says aloud 3 names within the 5 seconds, the player gets to move his/ her pawn by a space. There are also danger spaces that can cause a player to miss a turn. The game continues in this fashion like simple racing board games like Candyland.

Here’s The Tip:

Answer as many names as possible, even if you don’t know all the three. Because if the question completes an entire round with no one being able to answer, the player with the maximum number of answers gets to move ahead by a space; in most cases, it is the first player who received the question.

Playing The Pass On and Switch Cards

As the names suggest, pass on and switch are cards that can be used to avoid a question. A player who uses the pass on the card can pass on the question to a player of his/ her choice. A player can use the switch card to switch the order of answering.

This can be done either to skip a player who might know the answer or do the opposite by being generous to that player. For instance, if A doesn’t know the answer, but A knows that B knows the answer, A can either pass the question to B (if B is losing and A wants to give B the chance to win some points) or skip B and pass to C (if B is ahead and winning).

One of the most important 5 Second Rule rules is applicable here –the player can only use the cards during the span of 5 seconds. If the silver balls reach the bottom, the player effectively loses the chance to use these cards.

Making the decision about whether to pass, switch or not, and whom to pass to within the 5 seconds is not easy either. So don’t make the mistake to think these cards are an easy way out.

Here’s The Tip

Use these cards only when the question is easy but you just can’t remember the names.

Don’t use the card just whenever you think that the question is too hard for you to answer. Quickly scan the players and use your knowledge to predict if any of them would be able to answer the question. If there is even any 1 common answer that others might know, spit it out and let the question be passed on to the next players.

This way, if your prediction is right, the players wouldn’t be able to use your answer and none of them will be able to name all three, owing to the difficulty. That means, the question will ultimately reach you again and you might end up scoring a point!

Scoring and Winning

Like most racing board games, the player who reaches the end first wins the game. However, this win is determined by both wits and luck (landing on the danger zones can slow you down). In order to keep scores of who is winning in 5 Second Rule, we have a tip. 

Scoring Tip:

When a player manages to answer successfully, the player gets to keep the card for the game. Towards the end, the player with the maximum number of cards wins in witts. 

Playing 5 Second Rule game image

5 Second Rule Game: Frequently Asked Questions

Can Younger Kids Play 5 Second Rule Game?

Kids around the age of 6-10 might find it difficult to think on their feet, and might also not be able to answer questions like ‘3 celebrity names with Michael’ due to their lack of general knowledge. However, there’s this 5 Second Rule Junior Board Game available for younger kids which they can comfortably play and win. 

How To Decide If An Ambiguous Answer Is Acceptable Or Not In 5 Second Rule?

There might arise instances where players may be confused about whether the answer actually counts as a correct answer to the question on the card. 

For instance, if the question is ‘name 3 dips’ and the player answering the question names chocolate among them, it might not be agreeable to many. At such an instance you can either go with looking up the answer online or deciding by mutual consensus if the point should be awarded.

How To Break A Tie In The 5 Second Rule Game When Multiple Players Answer The Same Number Of Names For An Unsuccessful Question?

For instance, when none of the players could answer with all 3 names, the players with the highest number of names should play another round with a different question to break the tie.

Similar Card and Board Games That You Might Like

If you loved the race and pace of this game, we have a few suggestions that might pique your interests.

Have you tried Spendor? It’s a card and board game but with a completely different kind of strategy and wits required to win. If you’re feeling competitive and cannot get enough of question and answer games, there’s always the Battle of the Sexes game to spice up the party.

Want to keep the kids involved? Go for the classics like Hedbanz. Loving the variety already? We’re here to help you find interesting board games and much more for all your game nights (or days).

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