5 MINUTE CHASE, a 5 Minute Review ...
Antony Proietti & Dave Neale
5 MINUTE CHASE might sound like a quick and easy game, but with 7 pages of comprehensive rules to read and understand, plus the illustrations representing people's faces (and Dogs are included as people which is also quite disconcerning) are definitely more for young sharp eyes under good strong light, and unfortunately my eyes and home lights don't meet those criteria.
The idea of the game is that 2-4 players (aged 8+) split into two teams as Runners and Chasers, with the Runners trying to reach their hideout and of course the Chasers are trying to stop them. Get ready for your first few games to be won by the Runners as the tile configurations are on their side, at least until the Chasers have studied the cards enough to gain quick recognition on the faces and in particular the way they are facing - the direction they are facing is most important.
5 MINUTE CHASE can be played in teams of 2 vs 2 or 1 vs 2, in our opinion it is best played as a 1 v 1 game. The Runners are trying to reach their hideout by laying the tiles as they go and gathering the Map, Money and the Keys, these being found on 3 separate tiles. Once these have been found the Runner/s can attach their Hideout (chosen from the three Safe-House tiles available). The Runners play first as they need to lay tiles before the Chasers can attempt to stop them. Once the first couple of tiles have been laid - they must be placed square on to the last tile played with roads matching up and all rules being observed - the game now begins in earnest and it is fast.
The Runners are placing tiles to get them to their Hideout, the Chasers are placing markers to show they are following/chasing the Runners in the right direction. There are NO turns, well actually there are but only in the roads being laid, as the players have to play as quickly as they can at the same time. The advantage for the Runners is that they get to play the tiles and the Chasers cannot put markers on them until they are laid. Naturally there are rules to placing/positioning the tiles and it is these rules that can slow down the Runners - the Rules for the Chasers placing the markers are equally as limiting. Each tile has various features which need to be taken into account by BOTH teams.
Each tile is divided into quarters (sections) with either a Red or Blue symbol in each as well as a variety of heads (witnesses), Police cars and trees. The Chasers have Red and Blue markers with Triangles & Crosses on opposite sides of the red markers and Stars and Squares on opposite sides of the blue markers. The Chasers begin by playing catch-up, needing to place a marker of the correct colour in the quarter where the majority of heads are facing the way the Runners are going, there must be a marker placed on every tile and in the same order they were played. The exception to this is if the Chaser can place a marker on the last tile played by the Runner before the Runner can place another tile, then the marker has to be in the section where the heads are facing in the opposite direction, back the way the Runner has come.
If the Runner can position a Hideout tile legally onto the end of their run of tiles, having collected the three objectives enroute (collecting means having laid the tiles in which the Map, Money and Keys are shown) then they have foiled the Chaser's attempts to catch them. However the game/round is not then over, not until the route has been checked for inconsistencies (illegally placed tiles and/or markers). Trying to play fast and play correctly is almost impossible (okay it's quite hard) as the other player is always one step ahead; either the Runner is already playing their next tile or the Chaser is considering the direction of the heads and which section they need to play in, thus causing slightly panicked play.
The Runner wins if they reach the Hideout and haven't made any mistakes in tile placement. At the end of the game if only one side has made an illegal placing then the other side wins. If both sides have made mistakes then the side that made the first mistake loses, so for example if both players made a mistake on the same tile then the Chaser would win as the tile had to be placed before the marker could have been.
Legally Placing Tiles:
Tiles may only be placed next to the last tile played and may only adjoin that tile, touching no others.
Police roadblocks cannot be placed adjoining each other nor can they be placed next to an empty street, there must be trees adjacent. This rule counts even if the roadblock is placed first, the next tile placed adjacent to the roadblock must contain trees on the road. Note that there are three exits off of each tile and some of these may contain roadblocks or trees, it is only the road in use that is taken in account.
Roads being used must connect exactly, the tile placed has to be completely square on to the previous tile, no overhangs.
Legally Placing Markers:
Markers must be placed in the section where the majority of the heads, including dog's heads, are facing/looking the way the Runner is going - with the endgame exception.
This really is a crazy, fast game. It is so frantic that you don't truly get the fun from it until it is over as you are too busy concentrating on what you are doing whichever side you are on. Once the round has ended there is the 'phew!' factor as you wipe the sweat from your brow followed by the satisfaction of winning or the frustration at having been beaten at the last attempt, be it by an error or by a quicker-thinking opponent. It is an interesting and different concept to any other pursuit game I have played though it needs to be played in at least two rounds and certainly in equal njumber of rounds so that each player can play both sides on even terms. There are counters for VPs that are rewards for winning a Round and the way they are awarded (1 Perfect VP if a Runner wins and 1 Small VP if a Chaser wins) tends to suggest the designers expect the Chasers to win more than the Runners - we have yet to find this is true, though once the Chasers can recognise the heads/witnesses quickly it may well work that way. The conditions of Victory are one of the following: a. 2 Perfect VPs, b.1 Perfect and 1 Small VPs or c. 3 Small VP markers (note if you already have 2 Small VPs and you next gain a Perfect VP that meets condition b. ).
Nicely produced with good quality stock, at €15.50 it is in just the right price range.