All the chameleons are trying to catch the plumpest insect—can you spot it and snag it with your sticky tongue before anyone else?
What Is Sticky Chameleons?
Sticky Chameleons Components
- 8 sticky tongues
- 30 Insect tokens
- 6 Wasp tokens
- 30 Yummy tokens
- 1 Insect die
- 1 Color die
The sticky tongues are those rubbery, stretchy, sticky tongues that have been around since I was a kid—mostly a straight line with a wider flat area at the end. They stretch pretty far and grab onto things, and can be rinsed with water to keep them sticky between plays. Although the game is meant for up to 6 players, there are a couple extra tongues so that you have some spares (or you can tempt fate by playing with even more players at once).
The insect tokens are cardboard punch-outs: 6 types of insects in various shapes and sizes that come in 5 colors each. (Technically, they’re not all insects because there’s a spider, too, but that’s the term used in the rulebook.) The illustrations are pretty cute: all of the bugs look very scared to be surrounded by chameleons. The wasp tokens are also cardboard punchouts, and the yummy tokens are used for scorekeeping.
The dice are rounded plastic dice: one has six different bug icons, and the other has colored dots on it. I found it a little odd that, since there are only 5 colors of bugs, that the green is repeated and appears twice on the die, which means that you don’t have an equal chance of rolling each color. I do wonder why they didn’t just go with 6 colors, or else have a “wild” color.
Note that because the game requires you to recognize colors quickly and there aren’t any symbols to distinguish between the colors, this game may not be great for color-blind players. The pink and the purple look very similar to each other, which is another potential issue if you don’t have great lighting.
How to Play Sticky Chameleons
The goal of the game is to be the first to win 5 yummy tokens by catching the right bugs.
Give each player a sticky tongue. Scatter all the insect tokens and wasp tokens randomly on the table, making sure that they don’t overlap each other, and ensuring that the wasps aren’t clumped up in one area. Set the stack of yummy tokens aside—I would recommend somewhere entirely separate, like on a chair. And speaking of chairs, you probably want to push them back as well because this is the sort of game where you probably want to be standing.
Sticky Chameleons is played over a series of rounds.
To start the round, one player rolls both dice on the table where everyone can see them. Then, all players simultaneously try to catch the insect+color combination—the “plumpest” insect—shown on the dice using the sticky tongues. There are a couple rules: you may not use anything but your sticky tongue to pick up the insects. If you catch the plumpest insect, you must take it off the tongue with your hand and place it back on the table to end the round. You may not touch any of the other insects on the tongue with your hand, though you can try to shake them off. Finally, until you get the plumpest insect back on the table, other players are free to try snagging it from you.
If there is a wasp on your sticky tongue when you take the plumpest insect off your tongue, you don’t score anything.
The round ends when somebody has successfully caught the plumpest insect and placed it back onto the table. That player takes a yummy token, unless they had a wasp on their tongue as well. Then all the insects and wasps are collected and placed back onto the table and a new round begins.
Here’s a little video showing two rounds of play. Don’t blink! They’re quick!
The game ends when any player gains 5 yummy tokens.
Why You Should Play Sticky Chameleons
Sticky Chameleons is exactly what you expect from the description: it’s silly and chaotic fun, and (for adults especially) it can also be somewhat exhausting. As soon as the dice are rolled, it’s madness until somebody manages to get the right bug and slap it down on the table. The rule that you can continue trying to catch the bug even if it’s on somebody else’s tongue means that you get a lot of tangled tongues—and that if you snag the plumpest insect, suddenly you’ll have a lot of sticky tongues flung at you. Grabbing the insect off your tongue and putting it back on the table can be quite a challenge when your tongue is getting caught and pulled in all directions. (Fortunately it’s not too difficult to separate the tongues back out.)
Most players will just start flinging the tongues down as soon as the dice are rolled, but you do have to watch for those wasps, or you don’t score anything at all. Of course, aiming the sticky tongues is pretty hard, as is picking up only the one bug you want. Add to that the chaos of everyone yelling and laughing, and it’s sheer madness. If you love that sort of thing, then Sticky Chameleons is definitely one you’ll want to have on your list; if real-time dexterity games give you heart palpitations, you may want to steer clear.
My kids and their friends love it, and will play several games in a row. I enjoy it, but probably one session at a time is sufficient for me. There’s not a ton of strategy (other than knowing that green is twice as likely to come up as any other color), so it’s really about aim and speedy observation. The one caveat I’ll give is that a lot of times bugs will get flung across the room when somebody snags one and then it flies off when the tongue snaps back. We’re now missing a few of the smaller insect tokens somewhere in my basement game room—they may turn up eventually, or else Sticky Chameleons may end up like one of those jigsaw puzzles that just has a few pieces forever missing.
If you like silly dexterity games or you’re looking for something quick for a party, Sticky Chameleons makes for some crazy entertainment, and it’s also fun to watch other people playing!
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Disclosure: GeekDad received a copy of this game for review purposes.