Published by Board & Dice, this is a game that does exactly what it says in the title. It’s a short filler game where a round should never take more than 5 minutes and where one player is chasing the other. The rulebook includes variants for three or four players but this is primarily an asymmetric two-player game
The premise is that one of the players is making their escape from jail. Having laid out two starter tiles, the other tiles are shuffled and divided into two stacks. The escapee (‘runner’) takes a stack and is laying tiles as fast as he can, taking care all the time to comply with the tile placement rules: roads, obviously, must match up, and the path taken can only go through a police blockade if there are trees on the connecting road. The runner can switch stacks at any time. Their objective is to reach their hideout but they can only lay a hideout card when they have first laid down roundabout cards displaying keys, money and a map.
Meanwhile, the other player is chasing after the runner and trying to catch them. After the runner has laid their starter cards, the catcher advances along the path the runner has taken by placing a marker on the tile that matches the quadrant of the tile with the most faces looking in the direction the runner has moved. These represent witnesses. If the chaser reaches the runner’s most recently placed tile before the runner lays the next one, then they have caught their quarry.
As you might expect, 5-Minute Chase is high adrenaline game because it’s all about speed. There are no turns: both players are placing their tiles or tokens as fast as they can. Each must take care not to make a mistake, however, because any wrongly placed tile or token gives automatic victory to the other player.
5-Minute Chase is certainly a fun filler but you will inevitably find that it is much easier being the chaser than the runner. Players will find it takes considerably less time to count the number of correctly pointing faces on an already placed tile than it does to hunt through a stack to find a correctly matching tile that meets the road block placement rules. The game’s designers, Antony Proietti and Dave Neale, evidently appreciate this as they suggest in the rules the option of extending the runner’s head start by increasing the number of starter tiles they lay down before the chaser can begin their pursuit. The fact that the runner’s role is more difficult is also acknowledged in the scoring when, as the rules recommend, you play 5-Minute Chase over two or three rounds.
On the plus side, the fact that it’s harder to play one side than the other makes this game a good one in which to pitch a child against an adult. We’ll leave it to you decide whether it is the child or the adult who should be required to take on the more demanding role. :-)