1,2,3,4.......Match 5! MATCH 5 is a family friendly, fast playing, real-time word and idea association game for 2 – 8 players (age 10+) from Coiledspring Games and Synapse Games. It’s super easy to learn and is a really revealing party game experience! It was also nominated for a UKGE Best Party Game award last year!
How To Play
Each game lasts just two rounds. Each round, 5 custom dice (one of each colour/category) are rolled and placed in corresponding slots on co-ordinated category boards. Then the included timer gets flipped over and all players have 3 minutes to find connected words/phrases for each of the 10 2 x colour combinations shown on their answer sheet.
For example, an answer matching HOBBY (pink) and WATER (yellow) could be “Canoeing”. Or SLOW (blue) and HOLIDAY (white) could be “Cruise”. I seem to be following a nautical theme here but it’s not intentional! When the timer runs out, players read out their matches and the other players vote on whether their match is “accepted” or “contested”. Accepted links earn that player 1 point. But, if the answer matches that link also made by another player that round then it scores 2 points! After round one, you flip the category boards over and then roll and place the dice in the appropriate slots. Then the timer is turned for the second and final round. The winner is the player with the most points in total after two rounds
This is hyper colour word and idea association party game play. Words can be linked of course but you always need the idea behind the connection to really make it fly with those judges!
And MATCH 5 feels like it’s all about giving points - validating connections and doubling down on celebrations where multiple players have the same ideas. And that’s a really nice and unusual feeling – getting points awarded by your competitors!
The best bit of MATCH 5 for us is getting a glimpse of how each other's minds work - what words/phrases and ideas players put together when given a bunch of random things. And that's great for family game night or a party game with more think than throwing (as many party games involve!).
In some ways, not matching any other players’ answers is even better as it really does reveal the weird and wonderful ways we link things together. Our son, for example, comes up with the best answers. He’s only a few weeks shy of 8 (so under the publisher’s recommended age), but he got this game instantly. So much so that when he linked SLOW+TECHNOLOGY he answered "mummy playing switch" ! had to give him a house-rule bonus point for that one as he has never been more accurate! Haha
Having played it at 2P,3P and 4P, we feel like MATCH 5 shines brightest at higher player counts as a game night experience because of the voting mechanism and increased number of answers we all get to hear and marvel over. As player count increases, so does play time as everyone gets a chance to read out all their answers, as does the debate over whether something is accepted or not. We haven’t had any real disagreements over judging a link yet. Indeed, there have been some fun discussions as to whether some associations are accepted or contested. And hearing each other justify the connections is often as funny as it is mind boggling! But there are no arbitrary right/wrong answers so interpretation can work in your favour (or against you!).
But that’s not to say it doesn’t work at 2P. At a lower count, we use it as a really fun learning through play game that boosts our son’s (and our own) vocab, logic, and communication skills. The colourful components are lovely – those custom dice are nice to hold and roll and fit snugly into the boards. And with the randomness of the dice rolls, you’ll be guaranteed different combination every time you play!