Can You Blend In and Guess the Secret Word in The Chameleon? | Casual Game Revolution

Can You Blend In and Guess the Secret Word in The Chameleon?

 The Chameleon

Play it cool! They don’t know you’re the chameleon hiding among them. At least not yet!

The Chameleon is a social deduction party game about trying to blend in without getting caught, and guessing the secret word without anyone else figuring out that you don’t already know it.


You take one identity card for each player, making sure that one of these is the chameleon card. You then shuffle them and deal one out to everyone. You also place one of the word cards in the center of the table. Each of these has sixteen words that all fall under a single category. You then roll two dice. All the players then secretly look at their identity cards. Most players’ cards will show a key that indicates (based on the dice roll) which word on the word card is the secret word this round. The chameleon’s card, however, just tells them they are the chameleon — they don't know what the secret word is.

All the players then take a few moments to think up a clue word for the secret word. Then, starting with the dealer, each player says a one-word clue for the secret word. The players want to come up with a word that makes it clear they know what the real word is without giving it away to the chameleon, and the chameleon wants to come up with a word that will fool the others.

After everyone has said their word, they all can debate who they think the chameleon is. After a few minutes, you vote. If the player with the most votes is not the chameleon, the chameleon wins. If the chameleon is the player with the most votes, he gets a final chance to guess what the secret word was, otherwise the other players win.

The Chameleon Components


The Chameleon is light and very easy to teach, but also very tense (in a fun way). It creates plenty of opportunities for bluffing and debate, which is of course the point of this type of social deduction game. However, unlike many similar games (e.g., One Night Ultimate Werewolf), the perception of whether or not you are a traitor is as much about the validity of your clue word as it is about your ability to bluff or win a debate. A player who doesn't want to engage in heated debates can simply say their word and let it stand on its own — making this game ideal for a wide range of personalities.

Coming up with clue words can be challenging no matter which of the two roles you have. Topics vary widely, which offers a lot of variety to the game, but also leads to varying levels of difficulty. An extra word sheet and erasable marker are included for players to come up with their own selection of words, which adds an extra element of fun and variety to the game, as you can personalize it to your group.

On the downside, as the chameleon you have a disadvantage when you are the first to give a clue since you have no information to go by — though pulling off the win in this scenario, when the odds are stacked against you, feels even more rewarding than usual. Also, the lookup mechanism for determining the secret word can be a bit confusing for new players. For several of our plays, there were instances where a player simply misidentified the secret word and therefore gave a bad clue, ultimately allowing the chameleon to go unnoticed based on a technical error.

These are minor gripes compared to the overall fun of the game. If you enjoy party games with social deduction elements, The Chameleon is a very rules-light one that’s easy to teach to newcomers of the genre and has a very quick setup time. It makes for a great opener to a game night.

Pros: Rules light, easy to teach and set up, fast gameplay, good introduction to the social deduction games

Cons: Difficulty can swing substantially based on player order and topic, secret word lookup mechanism can be confusing for new players

Disclosure: we received a complimentary review copy of this game.