The former First Minister Carwyn Jones has implied that any post-election coalition deal could take "a few weeks" to agree.
The comments were made amid speculation that a coalition agreement could be needed if Welsh Labour fails to secure enough seats by itself to form a sustainable government.
The most likely outcome in that scenario would be an arrangement with Plaid Cymru that has already ruled out being a junior partner in any coalition.
First Minister Mark Drakeford has already signalled his willingness to work "across party lines" with other "progressive parties" should it be necessary.
Jones told BBC Radio Wales' The Leaders' Lounge: “Once everyone sees the numbers, everyone will be making calculations, then there will be a game of chicken – who rings who first? And then the advisers will speak to each other first and prepare the ground. All that can happen in a situation like this."
Asked how long such talks might take, Jones replied: “Expect a few weeks."
Jones pointed to his party's 2007 coalition agreement with Plaid Cymru, saying that there "wasn’t much argument within that coalition" because "everybody knew the detail of the agreement."
He also singled out the 2010 Tory-Lib Dem coalition after the UK General Election as an example to avoid:
"I remember saying at the time this is not a very detailed agreement, this is a recipe for people to interpret it in different ways, and a recipe for chaos, and that ‘s the way it turned out, to my eyes.
“If there is going to be a coalition - nobody knows that – best that it takes a few weeks to put together with a detailed agreement than signing a piece of paper that’s one side of A4.”