The Chain Game
by Amanda Nettgen
The Chain Game
Board game manufacturer:
Out of The Box
Number of players:
3-8 (There’s a typo on the cover that says it’s 2-player)
The Chain Game is an abstract word and thinking game that’s the opposite of Barrel of Monkeys in that you start with all of your links and may have to get rid of them. The main components of the game are a stack of game cards and your brain.
The game and gameplay
A little chart determines the number of chains you start with in The Chain Game. Fewer players will get a bracelet’s worth, while more players probably won’t even bother to connect their paltry pieces. No fair adding “extra” links from your son’s grunge collection, or your bike lock…
The game is almost entirely oral. A card is drawn from the playing pile and is used as the foundation for that round. The person to the Timekeeper’s left must quickly come up with a well-known phrase (max of three words) or compound sound that uses at least part of the original word from the card.
Play continues in this manner around your game circle, with each contender providing their unique take on a new link (while using part of the previous player’s answer).
The round ends when somebody either isn’t fast enough (you only have 5 theoretical seconds!), can’t think of a good link, or gives a bogus link, all at the Timekeeper’s discretion (whom surprisingly, still takes a turn as well).
The offending player is treated to a honk in the ear via a full-size, old-fashioned horn (keep this away from your kids!). They also have to part with one of their chain pieces, which they can never earn back (at least not until a new game is played!). Shift Timekeepers and have another round.
The game is locked up as soon as one person has lost all their links. The players with the more plentiful collections of connectors compare to see who had the most, and that person wins.
Pros and cons
If you already like and play word games aloud, you’ll probably find The Chain Game to be okay. It’s competitive and challenging, and the losing chains concept works well.
On the other hand, if you’re not a fast thinker or aren’t constantly making associations in your head, you’re bound to find The Chain Game to be boring, difficult, and frustrating. I’d recommend you increase the theoretical time limit to 10 seconds at least.
The Chain Game simply lacks substance. Again, if your kids got into it, they’d probably find it more useful than you would by making necklaces out of the game chains and fashioning pretend road rage with the horn.