m a r k a n d e y a

Board Game Review: Chicken Cha Cha Cha

Posted by Brian on August 2, 2007

The best children’s games will have an appeal that cuts across generations, making it fun and playable for kids and adults. Klaus Zoch’s Chicken Cha Cha Cha is one such game that puts adults and kids on a somewhat even playing field and provides a fun gaming experience for all involved.

The components are absolutely stellar. The game comes with 12 thick, octagonal tiles featuring cute pictures of chickens, snails, worms, and other animal mascots. These 12 tiles are placed face down in the middle of the table. Each of these tiles has a matching oval pair, which are shuffled together and placed in a circle around the center tiles to form the track. Last, and this is really what sends the components score over the top, are the 4 wooden chickens with detachable tail feathers. These suckers stand about 3 inches high and make the game stand out in a big way. Kids love them, and even a 35-year old senior like me finds them cute. Each player grabs a chicken and the players place them equidistant on the track. Now, the game can begin.

The idea is to advance your chicken to the next spot on the track by finding its matching tile in the middle amidst the 12 face down tiles. For example, if the next tile in front of my blue chicken is the sandwich with the worm in it, I need to find and reveal that tile in the middle. If I find it, I can try again, and my turn will continue as long as I keep finding the correct tile. If I choose the wrong one, the other players get to see the tile I picked (a valuable clue) and then it’s placed face down again in the middle. It’s a simple memory game.

To win, a player needs to collect all the tail feathers form the other chickens. This is done by jumping over a chicken that blocks your path (sitting behind your opponent’s chicken, the tile his chicken is on is ignored and your target is the tile immediately in front of it). When you jump a chicken in such a manner, your chicken receives all the tail feathers that chicken had in its possession (each chicken has 4 holes on its rump for placing the feathers). Once a chicken has all the game’s tail feathers, the game is over and that chicken’s player wins.

Yes, it’s simple, but fun. The real appeal of the game is that it gives kids a fighting chance against adults. Even better, winning is meaningful, rather than just the arbitrary results of a collection of random dice rolls. No doubt a kid who beats his mom or dad at this game would have a lot to feel proud of. And on top of that, it’s a visual treat, with lots of color and cuteness to add to the enjoyment

Chicken Cha Cha Cha is the rare children’s game that can appeal to both kids and their parents. If my wife and I were ever to have children, this would be one of the games I would use to introduce them to the hobby. It’s far more deserving of a place in a young family’s closet than the umpteenth iteration of Monopoly. If you’re a parent and a gamer, it’s definitely worth purchasing.

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