REVIEW:THE CHAMELEON

Published by: Big Potato Games

Game Design: Rikki Tahta

Artists: Ben Drummond, Zoe Lee

Plays: 3 to 8 players (5 to 7 best experience)

Time: 10- 15 minutes

The Recipe

  • Word game
  • Deduction and deception
  • Family and party crowd

Going into this review, I started to reminisce about moments with my family playing Guesstures and Pictionary after Thanksgiving dinner. The games we played were part of a tradition, which continued for most of my childhood. In the present, I can comfortably say that most of the games we played then should move towards the back of the closet or donated to the local Goodwill. The Chameleon is a must have for any family’s gaming library and a go-to game for any crowd who is willing to let loose.  This is my overly positive review for The Chameleon by Big Potato Games.

The Setup

The goal of the game is to unmask the Chameleon and to keep the secret word safe. The Chameleon’s job is to blend in and guess the secret word. You begin the game by passing out Code Cards that are used to translate one of the 40 Topic Cards available. While dealing out Code Cards to all players, one player in the group will receive a card that says, “YOU ARE THE CHAMELEON!” The dealer rolls two dice (neon and blue) and players match the results with a coordinate on the Code Card. You take the coordinate and match it up with the secret word on the Topic Card. Remember, the Chameleon has no clue what the secret word is.

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There are 40 Topic Cards available in the box with 16 potential secret words on each. There is a blank custom Topic Card and wipe away marker to make your own category.
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Left: Every player receives one Code Card and one receives the Chameleon Card. Right: Dice are rolled for to match up the coordinates on the Code Card and Topic Card for the players.
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Example of how the Code Card coordinate (right) matches on the Topic Card (left).

The Hunt

On the hunt for the Chameleon, each player says one word that is generally close to the secret word without giving it away. If the secret word is Mermaid, you could say words like water, wet, and scales. But wait, the word “scales”  might give the word away to the Chameleon?  If you don’t know what to say or another player steals your word, you can repeat the word. The Chameleon player only receives information based on the player’s responses. While other players are saying their word, the Chameleon player must rule out as many words on the card before it’s their turn. As the Chameleon, you might say something similar to another player or repeat the previous answer. Being the Chameleon player is the most exciting part of the game. Hopefully everyone gets a chance to be the Chameleon during your play session. You want to see how everyone displays their Chameleon-like talents over a play session or who has the best detective skills to point out the Chameleon every time. During one of my games, I found out one of my friends is not the best at hiding his identity or being deceptive AT ALL. His face was completely red while he attempted to come up with even slightly vague words.  It was almost too easy to figure out, but he was a good sport about it. His fiancée was quite happy he wasn’t good at being deceptive. Good times….The Chameleon = Good times

The Finish

At the end of the game, all players vote on the identity of the Chameleon. The player with the most votes must reveal their card. If everyone is wrong, the Chameleon wins and  still has a chance to guess the secret word. If the Chameleon is right, they score two points and everyone scores zero points.  If the Chameleon is detected, they still have the opportunity to guess the secret word. If the Chameleon is correct, they receive one point or zero points if they are incorrect. I’m not really a fan of the scoring mechanic for this game, but I understand why it exists. I completed six games with a six-player group and I believe everyone enjoyed the game without thinking about point totals. A smaller player count may benefit from a scoring system.

 Verdict

The Chameleon is deserving of very positive review. You can complete a full cycle of the game with four to six players in 15 minutes. I can see families and friends wanting to play this for hours. You are going to have fun, you are going to laugh, and hopefully make memories when you play The Chameleon. I hope this review was helpful to you. Please feel free to comment below. If you like my content please follow my site.

You can find The Chameleon at Target exclusively now and I’m sure you can expect a retail release everywhere soon!

A copy of The Chameleon was provided by Big Potato Games for review. 

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