Put on your finest poker face because you’re going to need it for this guessing game of treachery and deceit. The Chameleon, from Big Potato Games, is a social deduction game in which players must expose the mystery person playing as the chameleon before it’s too late.

At the beginning of the game, the dealer will pass out a code card to each player. One of those cards will secretly mark one of the players as the chameleon. Everyone except the chameleon will find out the secret word for each round, which comes from one of the topic cards, featuring themes, such as movies, TV shows, fictional characters, fairy tales, phobias, and more. Then, each player — including the chameleon, who has no idea what the secret word is — will say a one-word clue out loud that relates to the secret word. The witch hunt begins when everyone tries to guess who the chameleon is. The chameleon’s mission is to blend in with the other players without getting caught.

The Chameleon game

If the players successfully corner the chameleon, that person can still save themself by guessing what the secret word was. If they get it right, they escape. So, when players are giving their clues, they shouldn’t make it too obvious or the chameleon will catch on; on the other hand, they can’t make the clues too vague or off base or they’ll be accused of being the chameleon, and the real one will escape. For example, if you’re playing with the TV Show topic card and the secret word is “The Walking Dead,” you don’t want to make your clue “zombies” because that’s way too obvious: None of the other shows on the card (Star Trek, Breaking Bad, Friends, Lost, The X-Files, Mad Men, Game of Thrones, and The Golden Girls, to name a few) are about zombies. You have to think outside the box, and maybe say “battle,” “villains,” or “wilderness” because those words can apply to a few other shows while still relating to The Walking Dead. The game is similar to Codenames in that you have to get creative with your word choices.

The Chameleon works best with four to six players; however, you can play with as few as three people or as many as eight — with some slight changes to the rules. It’s a quick game that you can keep playing over and over thanks to the many different topic cards and secret words that help keep it fresh. It makes a great party game, and it’s a great way to figure out which of your friends are good liars. Very important information.

Remember: Whatever you do, don’t get caught.

Photos: Big Potato Games