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Chicken, also called buzzer chicken or playing (against) the packet, is a game-within-a-game played by competent quizbowl players. In this game, a player recognizes the most obvious answer from a clue or set of clues, and then must decide whether or not to buzz. Games of chicken are very common at tournaments where the difficulty is highly variable within and between packets, or at tournaments where a majority of good questions are combined with a critical mass of bad ones. Hoses and transparent questions increase the likelihood of games of chicken exponentially.

Teams that assume that they should wait for uniquely identifying clues they know may be disappointed when the other team buzzes in with the obvious answer and gets points, while more aggressive teams may be disappointed when the packet was not as easy as they thought. In most good tournaments, a team can change its strategy to become more aggressive or more passive depending on how hard or easy the questions appear to be. Games of chicken occur when there is no clear indicator that a team should change its strategy. Jerry Vinokurov is known to have exclaimed, "The packet wins again!" after losing battles with the packet through games of chicken, even if his team's superior knowledge base still allowed his team to beat his opponent.