|Bob Stewart-Sande Stewart Productions|
Global Television Network
USA Network/Champlain Productions
OPENING SPIEL: (Clips of past Bonus Chain wins) Rod: "The game is...The (New/$40,000) Chain Reaction! And here's your host, BLAKE EMMONS/GEOFF EDWARDS!"
Contestants tried to connect words that form a multi-word chain.
Two teams of two contestants competed. In each round one member of each team was the giver, and the other was the guesser. Later shows had two solo contestants compete. The objective was to guess a series of words that connect to each other above and below in some way. All the connected words make up a chain.
The chains consisted of seven words with the top & bottom words revealed at the start. The giver of the team in control can choose to give a letter over or the previously revealed word under the previously revealed word to his/her partner or the opposing guesser. Either way, the letter was revealed (unless it was the last letter, meaning that the letter would stay unrevealed) and the player in control of the mystery word had a chance to guess. Earlier shows credited played who gave the form of the word while later shows had the player on the team in control who said the form of the word get one last chance to say the exact word. A correct guess earned points and kept control, but an incorrect guess passed control to the opponents. If the team got the last word they received double value (or a five point bonus in round one), and the chain was over.
Here are the values of points for each chain:
- Round 1 - 10 points for the first four words, the last was worth 20 (later 15)
- Round 2 - 20 points for the first four words, the last was worth 40
- Round 3 - 30 points for the first four words, the last was worth 60
- Round 4 - 40 points for the first four words, the last was worth 80
The second chain of the day gave one team a chance to win some bonus money. In the first season, the word in the center had a dollar sign ($) next to it (originally an asterisk (*)). The guesser who got that word right won $250 to his/her team. Later on starting in season 2, the money word was replaced with a special chain called the Missing Link chain. In the Missing Link game, the team in the lead was shown a three word chain with the first & last words still revealed at the outset. If the leading team can guess the word, using no letters, they won $500; otherwise, they played for $100 less for each letter revealed.
The first side to reach a goal number of points wins the game. For the teams it's 200 points or more and for solo players it's at least 300 points. Either way, the winner(s) went on to complete the Bonus Chain for a cash jackpot.
In the bonus chain, the top word was still given to the winning team/player but he/she/they were also given the initial letters of the remaining six words and a letter counter which started at seven (originally nine). On each letter, the team/player tried to guess what the word is starting with that letter and connected to the previous word. Giving the correct word moved on to the next letter, but missing the word added another letter & lowered the counter by one. Each correct answer (plus the top word) was worth $100, and completing the chain before the counter ran down to zero won a cash jackpot which started at $3,000 ($2,000 in the case of solo players) plus $1,000 for every day it's not won. The highest jackpot was $16,000.
Champs could remain for five days and in the first season, undefeated champions won an additional $5,000.
The $40,000 Chain Reaction
In the final season of the show, the game was now played in a tournament fashion, with 128 players competing. It also instituted the following changes:
- Missing Link chains were now worth up to $300, with the first letter now given immediately. These were done after the second chain.
- Games now played to a fifth chain worth 50 points for the first four words, and the last word worth 100 points.
- It now took 500 points to win the game
- There was no bonus chain
Each week, eight players competed with the winner of each group of eight winning $7,500. Sixteen $7,500 winners played a single elimination tournament with the four survivors playing the double elimination semi-finals. Then the two winners of the semi-finals went on to play a final game worth $40,000 to the winner.
When Geoff Edwards was the host, CanCon was put into play, causing Rod to appear on camera with a Missing Link for Geoff. He would show the answer to the previous day's puzzle, followed by a brand new puzzle.
"Thru Train" by Bob Cobert
This is a remix of the theme song from the series Supertrain also by Bob Cobert.