Five by Five is the best short game I have read in a long time.
I came across this game at exactly the time I have been thinking about how The Last of Us' has changed how I think about games. Five by Five is the answer to that question. Why is that? Firstly; the basic essentials missed by so many games: Bookmarks, clear rules examples and uncluttered layout. Five by Five has all of these. Secondly; its concise! 48 pages gives me the rules, two adventures and an explanation of the math behind the rules. Nice. Thirdly; great rules! The dice mechanic is roll 2d6 and multiply, low is best. Six = 0 and is an auto success. Rolling doubles is an autofail with a side reward to offset the pain. The combat system is dynamic with interesting tactical options. Fourthly; A Trait system is wedded to a set of defined combat skills to empower characters for any genre. A Trouble Trait rewards the player for pushing their character outside the comfort zone and is an easy win for emulating genre's that can by surprisingly difficult in RPGs, eg; theI'll be back in a moment' action in survival horror.
Finally; Five by Five made me wanna play it. This is the icing on the cake. Plenty of games tick some or even all of the first four boxes, few tick all of them. This is the best game I have read since STALKER RPG and I consider that game the high tide mark in game design and writing.
So I give it 5 stars. It is cleverly compiled, gets to the point, has great rules, interesting character design opportunities and I want to play it.
[5 of 5 Stars!]