The objective of the game is to fill in the "missing links" of chains of words. Every consecutive pair of words in a chain, when read from top to bottom, forms a common two-word phrase, person, place or thing. The first and last words of a chain are always given to you.
In this particular example, DOWN, UP and GHOST are all reasonable guesses for the missing link above TOWN, suggesting the possible two-word phrases DOWN TOWN, UP TOWN and GHOST TOWN. However, every chain has only one chosen solution.
The solution shown for the example is comprised of the following pairs of words:
After every incorrect guess at a missing link, a hint is revealed. Hints are letters that appear in the missing word. The letters are not necessarily in the exact position of the missing word, but they will be displayed in the same relative order as they appear in the missing word.
In this example, the hints for the missing word between TREE and KEEPING are O, S, and E. The missing word in this example is HOUSE (to form the two-word phrases TREE HOUSE and HOUSE KEEPING).
Note that O, while being the first letter in the series of hints, is not necessarily the first letter of the missing word. However, the hints indicate that the O appears before the S, and the S appears before the E in the missing word.
In a 2-player or 3-player match, there are three main chains where players alternate taking guesses at missing links, three possible bonus chains where one player gets one guess at completing a chain with one missing link, and one final chain where players wager on completing a chain with one missing link. After the final wagering chain, the player with the highest score wins.
First main chain: The order of play is randomly chosen at the beginning of the match. The first player selects either the missing link below the first completed word, or above the last completed word. A missing link will be chosen at random if the player does not choose before time expires. The player then types their guess before their time expires. A correct guess is worth 10 points and the player gets to go again. An incorrect guess reveals a hint and play continues with the next player.
A note on scoring: every successive correct guess before another player has a correct guess is worth an additional 10 points. For example, if a player guesses three words correct prior to another player guessing a word correct, the player's next correct guess is worth an additional 30 points. In the first round, this would be for a total of 40 points (the initial 10 point value per correct guess plus 30 bonus points). Thus, the longer the "chain" of correct guesses, the more points the player can rack up.
First bonus chain: If a player succeeds in solving the last missing link of a main chain, the player is presented with a bonus chain with one missing link. The player has one guess at the chain. If correct, the player scores the 10 points plus the additional bonus points as noted in the preceding paragraph on scoring. If incorrect, play resumes to the next main chain with the same player going first.
Second and third main and bonus chains: Play proceeds like the first main and bonus chains, except correct guesses are initially worth 20 points in the second main chain and 30 points in the third main chain. The player with the active streak of correct guesses from prior chains carries over their bonus to the current chain.
Final wagering chain: In the finale, each player makes a wager from 0 to their current score in secret. A chain with a single missing link will be presented that all players will guess simultaneously in secret.
Prior to making the wager, one of the given words of the chain will be revealed as a clue (although its position in the chain is not revealed until after all the wagers are entered).
After wagers are entered, players are presented with the chain and they have 20 seconds to enter their guess for the missing link.
After all the guesses have been entered, the wagers and guesses of each player are revealed. Correct guesses will add the player's wager to their score, and incorrect guesses will subtract the player's wager from their score. The player with the highest score at the end of the finale is the winner.
The single player format follows the duplicate style of play, where the player solves a chain that other players have already solved or will solve in the future. The player's final score is compared with other players' scores for the same chain to determine their final duplicate result.
Gameplay is similar to the multiplayer format except only one main chain is presented (there are no bonus or final wagering chains).
The player starts with 1,000 points at the beginning of every game. The player selects either the missing link below the first completed word, or above the last completed word. A missing link will be chosen at random if the player does not choose before time expires. The player then types their guess before their time expires. A correct guess is worth nothing, but every incorrect guess reveals a hint and subtracts 10 points from the player's score.
After the chain is completed, whatever remaining score the player has is compared to the scores of other players that have played (or will play) the exact same chain. The results are tabulated in the duplicate dashboard available in-game or in the duplicate tab in the Chain Words lobby.
How to play: Chain Words
How to play: Chain Words