The game Fives has being around for many years and there are three types of Fives with differents sets of rules. The first and most common game is Rugby fives, which is played in a court which is quite long but not so wide the walls are flat and it is a quite basic games. The other two are Winchester Fives which is a game a bit like Rugby Fives except on the left of the court there is a buttress and the court is shaped as a square not a rectangle. Go to Eton Fives for the full rules of this version of the game. The best kept fives courts in the world are found at St Paul's School, London. Which although having no version of the game themselves they have many Rugby Fives courts and these courts are the ones used for championships. Various schools have adopted one version of the fives game so that there is always competition for the teams which play each version.
The ball itself is about the size of a ping-pong ball but it is made out of leather and is quite hard, for this reason it is necessary to wear padded leather gloves. The game is mainly British and the three institutes for the game come from British boarding schools.
The basic rules are thus in singles: You have two players, at the begginning of the game there is a coin toss to work out who serves, you can only win a point if you are receiving. The object of the game is to hit the ball above the white line, not on the line however. You can use left hand or right hand, but not back-hand, you will realise this quickly seeing that there is no padding on the back of the hand (ouch). The game is quite basic after this with scores being set as the first one to reach 15 or 11, (15 is the most common). There can only be one bouce of the ball, (but you can volley it) if the ball hits a wall it does not count as a bounce. You can receive when you have served and you have won the rally (remember you can not win a point when serving) once you have won a rally you receive one point and you can continue receiving until the server wins a point at which point server and receiver swap. Doubles meanwhile has the same rules except your parter always stands diagonally opposite to you. Once you get beaten by the server you then have your partner recieving the ball if he loses then he serves. Then if he loses his serve you get the chance to serve and this goes on from there, with servers alternating until a server wins the point and the opposition doubles team start serving.
It may sound like a complicated game but it isn't and happens to be extremely fun, a great game to stay fit and I hope the sport doesn't die.