Why Did the Chicken...?
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What makes you laugh? More importantly, what makes your friends laugh?
Each round, you'll have two minutes to create funny answers for a randomly generated riddle. But know your audience: One player will be judging answers instead of writing them! The judge's choices for the two best answers earn points. When the game's over, tally up your points to see who's the life of the party
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Feb 11, 2006
Why Did the Chicken...? is a light party game about making up the punchlines to jokes.Watch the video!
I like to write, and I think I'm funny, so this was a great party game for me. Like one reviewer said, you can build on previous rounds, and it gets even funnier. It's also a good family game, and one of the few games my autistic kid likes to play. (Although some of his tries are a bit off the wall.)
If TV weren't run by idiots, you could do a hell of a celebrity game show with this game.
I make no bones about it. I am a creative person. I love to write, and I'm a professional comic. Whereas I don't use the jokes from this game on stage, I find it extremely fun and fascinating. I win sometimes, I lose sometimes. Sometimes I don't agree with the judge, whether it's for or against my joke. But usually, by the time the game ends, someone else has to tell me if I won. I just don't care. It's the journey, not the destination that matters.
People think as a comic, I'll win this game every time. I've lost to computer people, shy people, unfunny people, unemployed people, clowns, and even a pet goldfish. (It's hard to think when you're in a fish tank, drowning. That did have the other goldfish laughing though.)
Win? Lose? I don't care. This game is just fun to play.
I took this game to a "Saturday Night Game" party and people were reluctant to play at first. But this game closed the night down. It was so fun, we couldn't stop playing.
My brother is the funny one in my family and I'm known in my friendship circles as having no sense of humor. I'm a pretty serious person. When I saw this game, I thought that I would be terrible at it and that it would bomb at our game night.
I was wrong. We were all laughing so hard that we were crying. In addition, even the shyest person among us was very successful. Even I was a contender to win this game.
I liken this game to the game Apples to Apples where there's one judge and the judgeship rotates. What I like about both games is that everyone gets to participate all the time. You don't have to wait until it's your turn to have fun.
In addition, the more you play it, the funnier it gets because you can build on previous rounds and add subtlety that wouldn't have been funny in the first round but is funny this time because of how funny the previous rounds were.
As I said in the title, run, don't walk, to go buy this game! Well, I know, not literally, because you are shopping online for games. But you know what I mean.
What makes a good party game? Depends on the party I guess. A good party game presents a certain psychological setting to a group, and brings people closer through competition and cooperation within this setting. So what kind of setting do you want at your party? If you want formal competition with a lot of memory, get something like Trivial Pursuit, the “black tie” of party games. If you want some heavy paranoiac tension try Werewolf— which I think is a great game but it can make for an uncomfortable party. If you want crazy antics with some good amount of deadline stress, open Pictionary or Times Up. But if you want everybody drunk with laughter and creativity, you’ll break out the Chicken.
This is by far my favorite party game, and the only game I’ve played that has managed to make me fall out of my chair, giggling uncontrollably and gasping for air. This game gives a great comic workout and can cause actual pain in the abdominal “laughing” muscles, so make sure you are hysterically fit before opening the box.
The game has a very nice balance between competitiveness and cooperation. The players often unconsciously work together during the game, creating a unique comedic atmosphere. At the end of most Chicken games the winner feels good about winning, the other players feel great for contributing, and everybody feels wonderful from laughing.
There can be many interesting sub-goals in a game of Chicken. One is learning how to tweak each judge’s funny bone. Another is seeing how many players you can make laugh at once. A player might get a kick out of learning to excel at reading and acting out the other players’ lines (we call it “selling” the jokes), or even making “bad” jokes sound hilarious. Players sometimes attempt to use “callbacks” (references to previous jokes) successfully throughout the whole game, and maybe into another game a week later. As the games get sillier—and they will get sillier—players might care more about sub-goals, e.g. making Sue snort soda out of her nose, than winning. Often very few players remember who won; they just remember the jokes and laughter. And of course everybody remembers when Sue snorted soda out of her nose.
This game is a good rarity. Not only is this one of the more fun party games I've played in a long time, but it's incredibly coherent and is incredibly well-designed. It's all the good parts of fun party games like Apples to Apples or Taboo, and none of the drawbacks.
One player creates a riddle with the help of a deck of cards presenting nouns and questions (e.g., "What happened when a lawyer went on a blind date with a spatula?"). Then, all the other players get to come up with answers to this question. The judge picks his or her two favorite answers, and then the role of judge rotates.
It's incredibly simple and straightforward to learn, and could probably be explained in less than a minute. There's very little down time, and lots of interaction between the players as the answers get read.
I was suprised to find out that the person who designed this game, Kory Heath, also designed a game called Zen-do, which is an amazing game of inductive logic. It's a rare game designer that can produce two games so different in tone and yet both of superlative quality.
I won't repeat the very detailed descriptions you can see in the other reviews, and instead skip the the crux of the matter: I haven't met anyone who has played who hasn't enjoyed this party game. It has just the right balence between using your brain and being able to relax and enjoy and socialize.
And everyone can enjoy it even if they aren't very good at the game, which I think is important for a party game. Its a great buy and, come to think of it, a great gift, because its enjoyed by game players and non-games players alike.
Why Did the Chicken...? gets compared to Apples to Apples a lot, and for good reason. They're both funny party games that involve matching a setup to a funny answer.
I'm here to tell you: the Chicken is better.
I used to really enjoy Apples to Apples. But then I started to realize how limited it was. It lost replay value, which only improved slightly after buying the expansions and making my own cards. On top of that, when I tried to play with any other social circle, I found myself frustrated. People would declare that a certain answer made the most sense, but then wouldn't pick it. Nor would they pick the answer that made everybody else crack up. They'd pick something completely stupid for no reason. I've even seen arguments and a fight break out over the game! That's when I started to play A2A by simply playing the top card of my hand. And started to win that way. That's when I decided enough was enough, that it wasn't a game that you played, just an exercize in frustration.
Then the Chicken came along and solved all those problems.
While it's by no means easy to judge in this game, there's no frustration. The judge picks the two answers that made him or the group burst out laughing the most. They don't have to justify why something makes some bizarre form of "sense" or why they like the card. Here's a joke, it was funny, I choose to reward it, next round.
Not only that, but you're actually playing it. Each round you have tough choices to make, and all of them are based on your own creativity and humor. There are even strategies: go for the running joke? Make some obscure reference in the hopes that others will appreciate it? Make the most puns possible? Even if you're not the best player, you still get to listen to tons of jokes each round! How cool is that? (Answer: much cooler then listening to a bunch of random nouns.)
So at your next party, leave Apples to Apples on the shelf and break out The Chicken. I promise you'll have a better time, and you'll become a funnier person... GUARANTEED*.
*Not actually a guarantee.
To be honest, when I first played, Why Did The Chicken...?, I wasn't all that good at it. The game itself was great, but I had a bit of trouble coming up with the punchline answers. Yet, I had such a good time listening to all the really funny answers other people came up with that it was well worth it to keep playing the game just for that. And as I played the game more, I found that I got much better at it and always look forward to playing it.
Over a few more times playing the game, I started realizing that if I write something, anything, even if I think it won't be all that good, sometimes, those answers get chosen. The answers that come off-the-cuff are often the best received. "Chicken" taps into something really spontaneous in me and brings forth my sense of humor (everyone's actually).
It's great to challenge myself in this way. It helps me to think on my feet (and that helps me a lot because I am a performer and often have to think on my feet in front of an audience).
It's not just a game, really. It's also a really wonderful way to help bring out our humor and our personalities, especially those of us who are shy. It helps people connect to each other through humor and what could be better than that.
I have to start this review by stating that Im hopelessly biased toward this game. I had a hand in its early development as the designer, Kory Heath, and I worked on the first prototype together last summer. Ive carried what became my version of Why Did the Chicken with me ever since then. Its provided many hours of entertainment with a number of groups. At the end of last year, I picked it as the best prototype I played in 2003. Consequently, I was very excited to hear early this year that Korys version of the game would be published by the new company, Play Again Games. I quickly got my hands on a copy and I gave it a try with a few groups.
In a nutshell, this is a game of generating semi-random riddles and trying to come up with funny or clever answers. One player takes on the role of judge each round and he will pick his two favorite answers from among those offered by the other players. The rules fit on one side of a three-quarter sheet of paper. Its that simple, but it offers so much. Colorful nouns and some great starter questions open the door for creative self-expression, surprises and a ton of laughs. When it comes to games in a social setting, I cant imagine what more you could ask for.
Heres a little more detail on the game play. The judge draws a question card and two noun cards. The question card has (surprise!) a question on it, but the question will have two blanks. The nouns from the noun cards will be inserted in those blanks in an order chosen by the judge. So, for example, if the question card is Why does love and the two nouns are a fisherman and a lawyer, the judge could ask either of these questions:
Why does a fisherman love a lawyer?
Why does a lawyer love a fisherman?
Many times the order wont change the question much, but even so, with 20 question cards and about 300 noun cards, that makes for well over 850,000 possible questions.
As soon as the riddle is read to the other players, they get two minutes (sand timer included) to write down as many answers to the riddle as they choose. If theres any drawback to this game, this is where it will become evident. It requires some creativity and some people may feel their answers are too inadequate. I can say from experience that, by far, most players Ive introduced this game to have enjoyed it immensely. Ive been surprised that some people who I thought would hate it loved it. Others who were initially cold to it warmed up to it and have even won.
As an aside, I should mention the only difference between Why Did the Chicken...? and the game I've been playing the last half year is this idea of the two-minute timer and the opportunity to submit multiple answers. It turns out this is a great addition to the game. So, while most of my experience with the game has been with an early version, I can say with confidence that the published version offers much improvement in gameplay.
When the timer runs out, all submitted answers are read aloud by one player. The judge considers them and picks his favorite two. The players who submitted those responses take one of the noun cards. Of course, since players may submit multiple answers, its possible that a player will get both cards. Cards count as points at the end of the game. We usually play until everyone has been the judge three times.
Some comments on
Components: You get six pencils, a sand timer, several pads of paper (blank sheets), 20 question cards and about 300 noun cards in the box. The cards are quite thin, with only text on the front. The backs are illustrated with either a chicken (noun cards) or a question mark (question cards). Thats it for illustrations. Im not one to be drawn to a game because of its components, so a slightly low-budget production doesnt matter to me. Its very functional and if the choices for materials and the look kept the cost down, all the better!
Fun & Replayability: With most groups, this game is non-stop fun from beginning to end. The questions themselves can cause everyone to burst into laughter, but the answers are hilariouseven the horribly lame ones! Most of the time they wont seem as funny later on. On the other hand, I still crack up when I remember some of the better ones. With thousands of questions possible and so much room for creative expression this game is off the scale, in my opinion, when it comes to replayability.
House Rules: I suggest dealing six nouns and three questions to each player at the start of the game. They can use these to make the three questions theyll judge during the game. Dealing them out this way at the start of the round allows players to create the best questions they can using more options than offered in the standard rules.
Also, theres one small thing we do that, I believe, adds to the humor of the game. Weve found the answers have an added punch if the judge reads the question aloud each time before the answer is read. When it comes to humor, timing is everything, right?
I believe any group of creative individuals will thoroughly enjoy this game. As I stated above, Ive been surprised to find its even worked well with groups that I didnt view as particularly creative. For those who are intrigued by the description, but still have misgivings as to whether or not the game would work with their group of friends, I encourage them to find a way to try it before buying. Id hate to see anyone miss out on what I think is one of the best party games ever created.
I love party games, as they are versatile and can be used in group settings quite frequently, leading to some of the most fun moments Ive ever had in gaming. I have quite a few party games, but very few of them are good enough to crack my top three - Times Up, Beyond Balderdash, and Apples to Apples. Finally, Ive found one - Why Did the Chicken (Play Again Games, 2004 - Kory Heath) - that has shot up to my number two party game and definitely one of the most fun games Ive ever played.
When I get together with my family, we invariably play Balderdash, and our Balderdash games invariably deteriorate; with no one caring who wins. Instead, everyone eventually writes definitions designed to make others laugh. This has produced extremely hilarious results, with uncontrollable laughter and a general good time. It doesnt make much of a game; however, because the one person who maintains some kind of serious demeanor ends up wiping the floor with the other players. What I love about Why Did the Chicken is the fact that it encourages the writing of silly definitions, yet the laughter is just as loud and long as it was with Beyond Balderdash.
Each player is given a pad of paper and a pencil. A box of cards is placed in the front of the table, divided into two sections: twenty question cards and three hundred noun cards. One player is chosen to be a judge, and the first round begins. During each round, a question card is chosen from the box (examples include What happened at the wedding of... and ...? and Whats the difference between ... and ...?) Two noun cards are drawn to fill in the blanks, giving rise to questions such as, Why does a bride always win a fight with a pair of combat boots? A two-minute timer is flipped, and everyone except the judge immediately writes down answers to the random riddle. The participants can write as many answers as time allows, piling them up in the middle of the table. Once the time runs out, the pile is shuffled, and one player is chosen as a reader. The question is read aloud, and then the answers are read aloud. The judge chooses whichever two answers he thinks are the funniest. The players (or perhaps only one player) who wrote the answers get one of the noun cards. After every player has been the judge three times, the game ends, and the player with the most noun cards is the winner!
After those incredibly short rules, some comments on the game...
1.) Rules: The game is extremely simple to play, and can be taught in less than a minute. I usually tell people its all the funny parts of Balderdash, just with a riddle.
2.) Components: The box is attractive and very sturdy. Its larger than necessary, but at least there is plenty of space to include the massive amount of paper I store in it. Several tablets came with the game; but after only two games, I already ran out of paper. This, of course, is easy to remedy, but I try to keep a lot of paper in the game. Since players can write as many definitions as possible, quite a bit of paper is gone through. Very nice pencils with the logo of the game are included - an extremely nice touch. The cards are of good quality and come with a little cardboard divider in the card box to separate the questions and nouns. I wish that some blank cards had been included to allow player-specific nouns, but overall, the game comes in an attractive, well laid out package.
3.) Fun Factor: Its hard to describe how fun the game is - its a real riot, and Ive laughed until I cried. Of course, Ive also noticed how almost every game with new players doesnt start out this way. At first, during the first riddle, Ive always heard some people muttering about how hard it was to think of something funny. And yea, verily, some of the first answers arent funny at all. But gradually, people suddenly come to life - sometimes those you least expect - and the laughter and noise level of the game increases. Answers in previous riddles are referred to, as well as local and world events. Jokes begin to build on each other, and sometimes the winning answers have nothing to do with the questions! Since players can write on the card that they want the reader to sing their answer, wave their hands, or do whatever is necessary to make the card funny; hilarity ensues. When I first played the game with the company representatives at Origins, I sat there, a little overwhelmed at the massive silliness factor that was occurring at the table. But when I took the game out at a teacher convention the following week, it was a smash hit. People were constantly asking me to play the chicken game, and several of them vowed to buy the game immediately. Marathon games began that lasted for hours, and then players wanted to immediately play again. Its the most successful party game Ive ever taught except for Apples to Apples, and its certainly one of the most fun.
4.) Time and players: The game box states that the game is for four to eight players. I successfully played it with more, but it surely is necessary to cut down on the number of times each player is judge; because otherwise the game can stretch out to immeasurable lengths. Most games Ive played have lasted an hour to ninety minutes. This is longer than some folk want a party game to last, but we kept playing until we tired of the game. If strict adherence is given to time constraints, then the game should run just under an hour.
5.) Variability: I think that the company did a good job including nouns in the game. Obligatory joke nouns were included: such as a lawyer, Santa Claus, and a banana; and many of the nouns automatically make one think of a joke situation. Even though only twenty questions were included with the game, I think the combination of them and the nouns make for enormous replayability and a lot of funny jokes.
Its hard for me to believe that the designer of this fantastic party game, Kory Heath, is also the designer of the brain burner Zendo. But he has done a great job in taking a simple concept - the fun parts of Balderdash - and turning it into a game that everybody loves to play. Ive seen people balk at the idea of playing the game, and by the end they become as enthusiastic as everyone else. If you only buy one party game this year, then this is the one to get. Its top notch and will definitely produce a good time.
Real men play board games.
Why 5? Because it will take 30 seconds (or less) to learn the game. And then within 5 minutes you'll be in the second round. Unless you're exceptionally gifted, you'll probably spend the first round not quite knowing what to write. But by the second round things start to move and the humor juices start to flow. At least that's how it's worked for me and the people I've played with.
It's one of those games that starts out silly and gets sillier as the night goes on. If you have ever played Balderdash or the dictionary game and wished you would actually get points for those witty answers that made everyone laugh, this is definitely the game for you.
In addition to the pure fun value I also like that the card mechanism for creating questions allows for millions of possible questions, providing lots of replay value. It's not one of those party games that you need to run out and get expansions for to keep enjoying. There are a bunch of question cards with 2 blanks in them and then a whole lot of noun cards that are used to fill in the blanks, creating the questions. You end up things like 'What did a telemarketer say to a mouse?' or 'Why is a supermodel envious of a penguin?'
Even some of the people in my group who didn't think they had any ability to be funny are starting to discover their inner comic. I'd recommend this to anyone who has friends and a sense of humor.
One of my favorite games over the years has been "Wise and Otherwise." I love games in which the point is to laugh. "Why Did the Chicken . . .?" now rivals "Wise and Otherwise" in my list of top creative games. Two advantage this game has to other similar games are that there is a two minute time limit for answers and every player can submit as many answers as he wants to submit in that time. So there is no down time and no having to choose just one answer to submit among multiple funny, creative answers. The game provides for a lot of laughter and is very easy to learn.
One variation that I have found helpful for the game is to allow the judge to choose two noun cards from among five pulled from the stack. This allows the judge to pick two nouns that complement each other in a way that the first two he pulls may not do. This variation, in some instances, provides for more variety and a more enjoyable time for the contestants submitting answers.
Gamers may also consider creating their own riddle cards for more fun. Some of the riddle cards don't seem to lend themselves to the game as well as others do.
Overall, it's a great idea, great game, and one I will definitely keep in my stash.
You've probably all heard the cliched "Why did the chicken cross the road?" joke. It's an old classic that has spawned all kinds of imitations, and if you like that kind of humor, Why Did the Chicken...? is for you.
The basic concept is that cards with random nouns will determine an unusual riddle, e.g. "What do a turkey and an electric guitar have in common?" or "Why is a marshmallow better than a barber?" Players are then given time to come up with witty answers, which are then voted on. Think Balderdash - but with a good sense of humour added.
This is not going to work with everyone, but we love it, and when played with the right people, it can be a real blast! You need some creativity plus a good dash of humour, perhaps even to the point of zaniness, but if you can find a group like that, Why Did the Chicken...? is going to bring out their very best. If you and your friends or family find this kind of wacky humor appealing, then you definitely need to consider whether this is the kind of party game that might be for you.
I just played Why Did the Chicken for the first time a week ago, and have now played it about 3 times. It took me a long time to get up the nerve to play as I thought the game was a bit intimidating. I'm no comedian, and don't know what it takes to make people laugh.
So we gathered up some nerve and gave it a try. The biggest drawback of this game is that it intimidates everybody. It just sounds too difficult to come up with something funny. Very few people think they are funny.
Invariably, one player puts too much thought into their answers and ends up not getting even a chuckle. Then someone else who wrote something ridiculous and assumed it would come in dead last, wins. This can be really frustrating for the loser.
Therein lies the key to Why Did the Chicken. Know your audience. One judge may be the type that likes a more intellectual joke, while others may like the silliest answers.
I have had issues convincing people to play, and one particular game saw very little laughter. But this game still rates 4 stars for 4 very important reasons:
I would recommend this game for some light- hearted party fun. I would not suggest it for small groups, or people who lack a good sense of humor. Why Did the Chicken is not the best party game (that would be Time's Up!), but it does provide some hearty laughter.
This game was generally disappointing. We played it with teens and adults, and maybe what's funny to one groups isn't funny to the other. Whatever the reason, we mostly were hoping for the round to end and the game to be over.
One plus for this game is that it is pretty quick.
We play other family games, and much prefer Wise and Otherwise, Blokus, Settlers of Catan, Ticket to Ride, Time's Up, or Wits and Wagers. All of those seem to accomodate a range of ages better than this one did.
I hate to be so negative, but I have played this game twice now and both times were not fun for me. I feel tricked by all of the great reviews. I bought the game expecting it to be a lot of fun. To be honest, there were a few answers that had all of us laughing, but mostly we were all stressed about trying to be funny and having the jokes not come off very well. Actually, the funniest part was when the judge chose the most horrible answer simply because he wanted to know who had written such a dumb answer. No one decided to claim the point! That WAS pretty funny.
Anyhow, you should know that this game is probably fun for the right crowd, but can fall flat with people who are a but shy (like me and some of my friends). If you're looking for a game that will help bring you out of your shell, do not buy this game!