The weekend has come and it’s finally game night. Half your friends want to play Spyfall and the other half want Codenames. Satisfy both groups with The Chameleon, a party word guessing game with a hidden spy role (in this case, The Chameleon).
All players are dealt cards that either have a table with all the possible dice combinations or simply “You are the Chameleon.” One topic card is revealed for the round, which contains 16 words or phrases all closely related. A D6 and D8 are rolled, players who are not the Chameleon consult their table to see the column and row for the secret word. Meanwhile, the Chameleon pretends to be doing the same. On a player’s turn, they must give a clue to hint at the secret word. All players, including the Chameleon, will give one clue for the round. Then players discuss and vote on who they think the Chameleon is. Even if the Chameleon is discovered, they have a chance to win the round by guessing the secret word. Clues therefore need to make it clear to everyone who knows the secret word that you also know the secret word, but be vague enough that the Chameleon can’t easily guess the word.
Of course, one thing with any word game is becoming too familiar with the words. In The Chameleon, there are 40 topic cards with 16 words each. With random die rolls choosing the words, duplication shouldn’t happen too often. The more interesting way the game is kept fresh is with the whiteboard topic card. Creating your own topics is really fun and can make for hilarious rounds. Putting all your friends’ names on the card and then using traits as hints to describe them can put the chameleon in a hot spot when they have to guess which friend they think “crazy”, “nerd”, and “blonde” describe. Definitely one way to liven up a party. The same thing can be done with board games or anything else you can come up with.
Personally, I really enjoy word games and have a lot of fun playing The Chameleon. However, The Chameleon is one of those games that needs to be played with the right people for it to be fun. Some people just aren’t good at bluffing or blending in and some don’t enjoy the challenge of coming up with clue words. When it is blatantly obvious who the chameleon is each round, the game gets a little boring. If your group enjoys games with bluffing like Werewolf and clue giving games like Just One, The Chameleon is a good mix of both game styles. The one knock I have against The Chameleon is that you need to play at the higher player counts for the game to be at its best. For its few faults, The Chameleon is a simple concept that works really well and makes for a good time.
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