Quintet: Play to Live, Pray to Win

Michael O. Varhola

Following are the rules for  Quintet, a game that was the subject of a 1979 post-apocalyptic film. These appeared on a promotional brochure and have had a handful of minor edits made to them for clarity. There do seem to be a handful of holes in these rules, however, and as we identify these — with the help of our game-savvy readers — we will list them at the end of this piece. Comments and feedback are welcome!

QUINTET: A game for six players, the object of which is to be the last player left alive by killing everyone else. During the course of the game, a player may make  alliances as they become convenient but, ultimately, everyone will become your enemy unless they are killed before they have the chance. 

EQUIPMENT: A pentagonal board divided into five sectors, a  killing circle , and the center. Each  sector is divided into five  rooms and one  limbo. Each of the six players has three game pieces, usually fashioned to his or her personality. A pair of dice are used. 

SIXTH MAN:  The most powerful position in the game. The  Sixth Man  is the player rolling the highest number in the first round. Sitting out the first half of  Quintet, called the  frontgame, the  Sixth Man  determines the  killing order  for the other five players. Moving around the table during the  frontgame, the  Sixth Man  advises the players, points out mistakes, and creates diversions, keeping in mind that he will face the winner in the second half of  Quintet, the duel called the  endgame. It is the goal of the  Sixth Man  to promote the survival of the weakest player in the  frontgame, so that he may have an easy kill in the  endgame

KILLING ORDER:  Determined by the Sixth Man, each player is given a victim, the only player he may kill. After each kill, the killing order is changed. The order is represented in a circle composed of one of each of the five players’ gamepieces, arranged by the Sixth Man in the killing circle. The order is read clockwise. 

PLAY: The game commences with the first player, the one who rolled the second-highest number on the initial round. The player rolls the dice and moves in either direction the correct number of rooms according to the two numbers rolled. The player may move one piece the total of both dice or may split the throw and move one piece according to one die and the other according to the other die. The player’s third game piece stays in the killing circle, representing its place in the killing order. Play passes clockwise until all five players have rolled on. 

KILLING: If a correct move enables a player to enter a room occupied by his victim, the victim’s piece is removed from the board. If the victim still has another piece in play, he is still alive and may continue playing. If there is no other piece left, the player is killed and