The game was played by an "Initiate" who sat in the centre of a circle of Academy classmates (referred to as "the Inquiry"). The Inquiry gave the Initiate an identity crisis, often by repeating his or her name over and over again until it became meaningless. Drugs could be used to aid in this effect. In time, the identity crisis caused the Initiate's body to enter a state of flux between regenerations. The object of the game was to remain in flux for as long as possible, allowing the Time Lord to see glimpses of his or her own future regenerations.
Eighth Man Bound was extremely dangerous as it could result in triggering an actual regeneration or a complete loss of identity. Up to fifteen Academy students' deaths were linked to the game each semester.
The game was named after a student of the Arcalian Chapter who managed to preview his first seven bodies, but couldn't see "the Eighth Man". Rumour had it that a member of the Prydonian Chapter managed to tie this record, but he denied such an act as irresponsible and reckless. (PROSE: Christmas on a Rational Planet) This Prydonian student was the Doctor. (PROSE: Lungbarrow)
The phrase also appeared in a poem:
- Eighth man bound
- Make no sound
- The shroud covers all
- The Long and the Short
- And the Old and the Loud
- And the Young and the Dark
- And the Tall (PROSE: Lungbarrow)