Five Straight

Five Straight is a board game for 2 to 9 players.

The idea of the game is to be the first to place 5 of your assigned colored pegs in a straight line, (diagonally, horizontally or vertically). Sounds simple, right ?

This game is addictive, but just the same, it’s recommended for ages 8 and up.

One evening, my daughter and I started playing. We played 17 games straight. We had great fun. Later, we added my husband to the game and played an additional 8 games that evening. Again, great fun.

Even though the box says game play is between 25 and 45 minutes, I have played against my daughter, (solo), and my husband, (solo), and have beaten each in a minutes time…..

Here is a tip for you; If you want people to keep playing with you, without allowing them to win, teach them game strategy, (I’ll go into game strategy later).

Depending on each a person’s understanding of strategy for this game, and quantity of players, expect one game to take between one minute and an hour.

Game Contents

The game comes with a board that has 100 holes in it, (numbered 0 – 99). It comes with a special deck of cards, (of numbers 0 through 99). There are 3 different colors of pegs, (plenty of pegs for game play), and a sheet of instructions.

lets assume, for now, 2 people are playing. Each player takes all of one of the colored pegs for their game play.

3 different colors to choose from

Decide who is to deal first. The deck is shuffled and the dealer deals out 4 cards to each player.

Don’t show any of the cards numbers in your hand, to any other player.

Assessing Your Cards, (beginning and throughout play)

When assessing the cards in your hand, the lowest numbered cards are the most valuable, as they can be played in more holes than higher numbered cards, (allowing you more options for plays).

For example;

A zero can be placed in any hole, (that doesn’t already have a peg in it). That can be as many as 100 different holes to choose from.

A 61 can be placed in any hole, (that doesn’t already have a peg in it), that is numbered 61 or higher. That can be as many as 39 different holes to choose from.

Look at the 2 example hands below, (read the captions). One hand is more valuable than the other.

This hand, overall, is better than the hand below, because most of the numbers in it are lower than the hand shown below
This hand, overall, is worse than the hand above, because most of the numbers in it are higher than the hand shown above, but, this doesn’t have to be a losing hand. I have placed 5 in a row, in the 90 – 99 row and won several times, as have my daughter and husband

Keep in mind, your hand is constantly changing, so a bad hand in the beginning could become a good hand later, (but that will change too).

Play Begins

The other person, (we’ll call them red), gets to play 1st. If there are more than 2 players, the person to the left of the dealer goes first and play continues clockwise.

The red player chooses one of the 4 cards in their hand, picks it out and places it down in front of them face up. They place one of their red colored pegs in the board. The peg must be placed in the hole that is either the same number as the card they place, or higher. A player may never place a peg into any hole number that is lower than the card number they place. This player now only has 3 cards in their hand.

Now, it is the dealer’s turn, (we’ll call them blue). They choose a card out of their hand, place it face up in front of them, place a blue in a hole that is either the same number or higher than the card they placed. As someone has played before them, if there is already a peg in a hole number, they must choose a different hole number than one that is already filled.

Now, it is the red person’s turn. They may choose to either place a card and place a red peg, or draw a card, (they may not do both on their turn).

The play now goes back the blue player. They either choose to play one of the 3 cards in their hand and place a blue peg, or they may draw a card.

During game play, a player may end up with no cards in their hand, but on their next turn, they may only draw a card and may not place a peg. Their turn is over.

No player may have more than 4 cards in their hand, and if all 4 of their cards, can not be played because there are already pegs in all of the holes for the cards they have, this is called a dead hand and they lose.

In this example, there is one player on the left and another player on the right. Play has gone on for a while. You can see that on the last play for red, blue was blocked with a red 23 peg, but now it is blue’s turn again. Will blue see the hole #11 in time to block it? If they see it, will they have a card low enough to block on their turn? If they don’t have an 11 card or lower, and it goes to red’s turn, if red doesn’t have an 11 or lower, they might draw. Problem for red is, hole 17 should be blocked by red, because if blue gets another turn, they may place a peg in 17, making 4 in a row for them with open holes on both ends. This would likely end in a loss for red, (but you never know what might happen).

Game play continues back and forth until a player is able to place 5 pegs of their color in a straight row in adjacent holes, (a win), or until a player has a dead hand, (a lose).

Now, lets talk about strategy.

If you read the caption under the picture of the board above, you have learned a little about strategy.

Generally, it’s better to have more cards in your hand than less, (this allows you more options for peg placement).

If you are dealt or draw a 99, play the 99 card as soon as possible, (getting it out of your hand). Any number can be placed in hole 99, but only 99 can go in 99.

If you have the 99 card, but can place a peg and win in another hole, don’t play the 99, place that peg in that other hole, so you can win !!!

A dead card is one that can’t be played, because the hole it could go into and all of the numbered holes above it have been filled. A dead card can not be played, as it has nowhere to go. Don’t let anyone know you have one, two or three dead cards. If you have 4 dead cards, you are out of the game, you lose.

During game play, try to set up your pegs so that you get 3 in a row, then 4 in a row, with both holes on either end of the straight row open. This almost always get a win for you. I’d recommend that you don’t do this all at once though, (placing one after another in a row, play after play), as your opponent will see what you are doing, and block your work. Be stealthy, take your time, set up other possible winning rows for your pegs. Just the same, I’ve got to tell you though, I’ve won a few games because my opponent didn’t see what I was up to, (even though I thought it was obvious and they totally could have blocked it at just about any time).

Don’t forget, you’ll need to block your opponents plays, which can mess up something you are trying to set up, but, that’s the way the game goes.

Something you can’t do is say anything or motion to another player, to help them or someone else see a play that could or should be made, (no mumbling, clearing of the throat, flapping of the arms, Morse code, etc.) !!!

More Than 3 Players

When you play with 4, 6, 8 or 9 players, you play in teams, (don’t ask me about 5 or 7, cuz I can’t do fractions). You might be able to play 8, but the pegs would be spread pretty thin.

When playing with 4, 6, 8 or 9 players, and one teammate says they have a dead hand, the whole team is out and loses. Game play continues with the remaining teams, (if any).

4 Players

4 players will sit as follows; To the left of the dealer is player 1. To the left of player 1 is player 2. To the left of player 2 is player 3. To the left of player 3 is player 4, (the dealer).

The dealer and player 2 are on a team together. They share a color of pegs.

Player 1 and player 3 are on a team together. They share a color of pegs.

Play starts with player 1 and continues clockwise until a team makes 5 straight in a row.

6 Players

6 players will sit as follows; To the left of the dealer is player 1. To the left of player 1 is player 2. To the left of player 2 is player 3. To the left of player 3 is player 4. To the left of player 4 is player 5. To the left of player 5 is player 6, (the dealer).

The dealer and player 3 are on a team together. They share a color of pegs.

Player 1 and player 4 are on a team together. They share a color of pegs.

Player 2 and player 5 are on a team together. They share a color of pegs.

Play starts with player 1 and continues clockwise until a team makes 5 straight in a row.

8 Players

Well, if you’ve gotten this far, I’TS A PARTY !!!!!!

8 players will sit as follows; To the left of the dealer is player 1. To the left of player 1 is player 2. To the left of player 2 is player 3. To the left of player 3 is player 4. To the left of player 4 is player 5. To the left of player 5 is player 6. To the left of player 6 is player 7. To the left of player 7 is player 8, (the dealer).

The dealer with players 2, 4 and 6 are on a team together. They share a color of pegs.

Players 1, 3, 5 and 7 are on a team together. They share a color of pegs.

(Yes, pegs are spread thin)

Play starts with player 1 and continues clockwise until a team makes 5 straight in a row.

9 Players

9 players will sit as follows; To the left of the dealer is player 1. To the left of player 1 is player 2. To the left of player 2 is player 3. To the left of player 3 is player 4. To the left of player 4 is player 5. To the left of player 5 is player 6. To the left of player 6 is player 7. To the left of player 7 is player 8. To the left of player 8 is player 9, (the dealer).

The dealer with players 3 and 6 are on a team together. They share a color of pegs.

Players 1, 4 and 7 are on a team together. They share a color of pegs.

Players 2, 5 and 8 are on a team together. They share a color of pegs

Play starts with player 1 and continues clockwise until a team makes 5 straight in a row.

Some Advice from Jan

Five Straight cards are unique. I don’t know if they sell replacement decks for the game, so take good card of your cards, (open cups of liquid are your enemy). !!!!!

If you would like to go back and find another game to read about, click here.

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