What is a valid challenge?

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Compatibility: Requires iOS 7.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. This app is optimised for iPhone 5, iPhone 6, and iPhone 6 Plus.

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The Rules


Just a Minute is played by from 2 to 6 players and one chairman.

Each player in turn is given a subject to talk about by the chairman.

As soon as the chairman starts the clock (by touching it), the player whose turn it is must try to talk about that subject for 60 seconds without Hesitation, Deviation, or Repetition. 

It doesn’t much matter what is said, as long as those three rules are not broken. So knowing something about the subject is not really needed, nor is it even much of an advantage. It’s quite possible to talk complete rubbish and still win the game! Buzzers can be on the four corners of the Chairman’s iPad, or on iPhones and other iOS devices, linked over Bluetooth 4.0.

The other players listen, with fingers poised over their buzzers. When one or more of them hears that the speaker has hesitated, or deviated from the subject, or repeated something, they buzz, hoping to be the first to do so.

Quite often, several players might buzz almost at the same time. The app detects who buzzed first and only that challenge will register on the chairman’s screen. Later buzzes are ignored.

The chairman then asks: “What is the nature of your challenge?” - or words to that effect. The challenger must allege Hesitation, Deviation, or Repetition. The chairman then decides whether or not to uphold the challenge. A challenge for anything other than breaking one of these three simple rules is not valid in a Just a Minute game, no matter how plausible it may appear, and the chairman’s decision is always final, even when he’s clearly wrong!

When a challenge is upheld, the challenger gains a point and takes over talking about the same subject for the remainder of the minute. If the challenge is denied, the speaker gains a point and continues with the subject for the remainder of the minute. After giving his ruling on the challenge, the Chairman restarts the clock by touching it.

The player who is speaking when the whistle sounds at the end of the minute gains another point.

If a player manages to talk for a complete minute without any challenges at all, that speaker gains two points.

A game consists (usually) of about 6 to 8 rounds. Each round has a new subject, which is displayed on the chairman’s screen as well as on all of the buzzers.

If a player returns to a subject, having had it taken over by a successful challenge, he can be successfully challenged if he repeats any of what he had already said before that interruption, during the same round.

Points are awarded automatically by the app. And there may be occasions when the chairman would like to award bonus points, for example when one of the players has said something particularly funny. Points can be added or removed manually by touching the plus or minus symbol next to that player’s name.

The players’ names are always sorted into score order on the chairman’s screen. So be careful when adding multiple points as that player’s name may have moved up the list.

At the end of the final round, the player with the most points is declared to be the winner. But this is an English game, so winning is less important than taking part and having a lot of fun!

The rules described above are the same as those used on the popular BBC Radio Four programme Just a Minute. They were defined by Ian Messiter, who invented this game many years ago.

If you have never heard it, we recommend listening to some episodes by tuning to BBC Radio Four, or buying recordings online from the BBC, or searching YouTube for “Just a Minute” - where several great examples are to be found.