Reviewed by Louise Totton
Trying to spend less time engaging with gadgets and gizmos and focussing on spending more time engaging with each other? Like most families, we have a few long-time favourite board games, and for us, one of the key tests for whether a game will stand the test of time is that the parents will enjoy it as much as both the eldest and the youngest kids in the house, and that the youngest players can play with minimal support.
We have a 7-year-old and a 10-year-old in our house and whilst that clearly isn’t a massive age gap, it’s enough that lots of games mean that we often can’t have a ‘fair game’, as the youngest clearly has gaps in her knowledge that the older one doesn’t. So, for the most part, we have to avoid trivia games, meaning that we lots of the games we are left with can be the more physical ones. We do really enjoy these but sometimes that’s not what’s called for and we want to play something that stimulates the grey matter and gets us all thinking.
This week, we have been trying out University Games 5 Second Rule Jr., a version of the popular 5 Second Rule specially adapted for the whole family to play. This game is for 3 or more players, aged 6+ and can either be played individually or in pairs. Contained in the box is:
- Playing board
- 5 Second timer ‘zoop’ timer
- 200 question cards, containing 400 questions
- 6 x coloured playing pieces
Playing the game is wonderfully simple, as they best games are! The youngest player goes first, and the question is read by the player to their right. The questions are easy to read; my youngest is 7 and had no problems reading any of them, so I would imagine the majority of children over 6 would be fine with them, although the instructions do suggest that an adult or older child can help if there is a problem. The questions all ask you to name three things, so three things that are blue, three Christmas things, three things to do on a car journey etc.
The player then has the duration of the timer (5 seconds) to complete their task. If they are able to do so, they progress one place on the board, if not, they have to stay where they are. Where it gets interesting is that if the player is able to complete their task, the player to their left then gets a shot too – play passes round the board with the same question until someone isn’t able to complete their task. It does actually get quite tricky after a while, and really forces all of the players to focus. If there is a big age difference in the players, or you have younger kids who are struggling, the rules state that these players only need to answer 2 questions to get their point. We also made it a bit harder for the adults, requiring them to name four things.
As well as being able to adjust the questions slightly to suit different ages and abilities, there are also a few bonus squares spread out over the board that allow the player to get two turns of the timer to come up with their answers. We have really enjoyed playing this game – it is great fun and I loved that we were all able to play a game together that didn’t disadvantage the youngest player in any way. It’s genuinely good fun, gets everyone thinking and each game takes around 15 minutes, which we found to be the perfect length for keeping the kids engaged. We have quite often played two or three rounds of it too, as once we finished, the kids want to play again.
It has been great to spend time together playing and the kids haven’t in any way been keen to get back to their screens – they’ve been happier playing this and enjoying everyone’s company which is wonderful to see. As we are getting closer and closer to darker nights, it will be lovely to spend some nice cosy family time playing this together.
Available to buy from Amazon here.