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[Review] Chicken Cha Cha Cha

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Joined: 03/23/2011

Chickens have invaded the board gaming world, and with great success. There is the live chicken bait in Duel of Ages, the chicken tokens in Loopin’ Louie, and the chickens that need to be protected in Pick Picknic and Nobody but Us Chickens. My daughter loves the pictures of the chickens in these games, and now I’ve found a game that has been created for her – Chicken Cha Cha Cha (Zoch Verlag and Rio Grande, 1998 – Klaus Zoch). The large box, the huge toy-like pieces, and the simple rules made this seem like a winner for my just-turned four year old.

And it was indeed a great success with my daughter, although my 1 year old daughter also fell in love with the game and continually made off with the pieces. The game is basically a variation on your basic Memory game – and if you don’t like Memory, you wouldn’t like this game. I would never recommend this for adults, unless humoring a little kid. And I wouldn’t recommend the game for anyone over eight years old. For four to eight years old, however, the brightly colored, extremely high quality pieces might be a big success. They certainly have been in my family.

The game is rather simple to set up. Twelve large octagonal tiles are placed face down in the middle of the table. Twenty-four large egg-shaped tiles are placed face up in a circle around the octagons. Each player takes a very large wooden chicken piece, sticks a wooden tail into the area where tails go, and places it at one of the four “corners” of the circle. The youngest player goes first, and then play proceeds clockwise around the table.

On a turn, a player turns over one of the octagons, trying to match the picture on the tile in front of his chicken (they move clockwise around the circle). If they succeed, they move their chicken onto that egg, and draw again. Once they make a mistake, they must stop, but otherwise, they can keep moving – making sure to turn the octagons back over exactly where they found them. If their chicken passes another chicken, they “steal” all that chicken’s tail feathers, placing them in their chicken’s rump. When one chicken has gotten all the tail feathers – they win the game.

That’s it – simple, really.

Some comments on the game…

1.) Components: Well, they are just absolutely incredible. The tiles are the thickest I have for any game, and are huge! The artwork looks good, and all the pictures are very distinct, but I can’t get over how big the tiles are. I want tiles this thick in my other board games! The wooden chickens are huge – and can actually double as toys, if you are one of those heretics who allow your games to be desecrated in such a fashion. The pieces are bright and colorful – this is a fantastic looking game for those in the youngest grades in school.

2.) Rules: Well, they’re so simple I was able to describe them in two paragraphs. The rules take two pages, but they don’t say much more than I do. (Oh wait, instead of moving the chicken – you “cha-cha-cha” it. Sorry for omitting that.) The game can be taught so quickly that I can’t see any adult finding any kind of depth in it.

3.) Fun Factor: For kids – very young kids – they’ll really enjoy this game, thinking that it’s an elaborate toy. And the truth is, that’s what it is. You, as an adult, will enjoy playing a game with them that has decent components. However, the fun factor for adults is going to drop immensely – because whoever has the better memory is going to win – period. If you find that sort of game fascinating, then pick it up.

I only recommend this game if you have very young children whom you are trying to wean onto board games. It’s certainly expensive, though, and aside from the fantastic components, you’re not getting a game much better than Memory Match. It’s basically the same game, with a pseudo board added. This game will most likely never be pulled out when I have friends over – unless I’m showing them a good game for their kids. Right now, it’s my special game to play with my daughter (aside from Kids of Catan), and will likely stay that way until I can teach her some games with neat components, but a tad more complexity. My rating is maybe a “2”, but my daughter’s is a “10”. And isn’t that worth it?

Tom Vasel

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