Monday, June 08, 2009

#9: Chicken Cha Cha Cha

Zicke Zacke Huhnerkacke (Chicken Cha Cha Cha)
  • designer: Klaus Zoch
  • publisher: Zoch/Rio Grande
  • date: 1998
  • BoardGameGeek rank/rating: 594/6.74
  • age: 4+
  • # of players: 2-4 (up to 6 w/the Duckling Dancin' expansion)
  • print status: in print
  • cost: $25.90 (Time Well Spent)
Don't let the German name of this game (which translates as "nonsense word beak chicken poop" - only substitute an expletive for "poop") keep from playing one of the best memory games in print. The combination of great Doris Matthias art with chunky wooden chickens & great gameplay makes for an incredible playing experience - and one that can easily include kids as young as 3!

24 egg-shaped tiles are shuffled & placed in a large circle on the table... then each player places their chicken with a "tail feather" on an egg. The distance between players is based on the number of players playing the game. Finally, a set of 12 hexagonal guessing tiles are placed in a circle inside the egg track.

The first player looks at the next empty tile (clockwise) in front of their chicken - it's this particular picture that they must match to move ahead. Then they flip over one of the hexagonal tiles... and if it matches, they move forward & take another turn. If they're wrong, their turn is over.

If a player manages to leap another chicken, they grab their tail feathers & put them in their chicken. The objective is to get all of the tail feathers.

Small children are SCARY good at this game... I've watched kids lap the board just to prove that they can, while the adults they were playing with were still struggling to remember 1/2 of the tiles in play.

Part of why this game works so well for small kids is that you can easily "simplify" the game - take out a couple of hexagonal tile and the matching egg tiles & you've got a quicker game that retains the same flavor as the original.

Or, if you want to get a little crazy, you can buy the Duckling Dancin' expansion, which not only adds two players (in the form of duck pieces) but also little wooden piles of poop. (The piles start out behind players and become something else that players must jump - if you step in the poop, you must give a tail feather to the person whose poop it was/is. Man, I'm not really not sure of the correct tense to use with poop - I'm guessing that doesn't come up much in English classes.)

Chicken Cha Cha is part of what BGG calls "the Chicken Family of Zoch" (a series of games connected by theme - chickens - and art - Doris) that has a lot of good games in it, including Au Backe (which is also on the Kid Games 100)!

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