Why did the Chicken...?

A Game Review

Maybe I'll replace this later with a little fiction like the restaurant and book tales, but for now, I'll just gush.

We spent the weekend playing games. We fell with maniacal glee into the Why Did the Chicken...? trap. Oh, you see it time and time again. Two innocent waifs wander into a coffeehouse where some local game company is demonstrating games. The waifs are drawn into a game and everyone seems to be having fun until fourteen hours have passed, two small forests have been cleared for paper production, and even the game designers shout, "For the sake of all that is holy and good, please stop playing this game and let us go home to our families and/or loved ones!"

Oh, and we did it to ourselves twice. We tried to sample the other fare available, but we ended both sessions late for another appointment because we just had to scribble one more little, itty-bitty punchline, even when we knew it wouldn't be funny enough.

Well, it would have been funny enough, if it was delivered in that evil voice.

Why Did the Chicken...? is a party game. The game flow is much like Apples to Apples. In each round, one player takes the role of questioner. Everyone else is a joke writer. The questioner draws a joke set up (like "What do you get when you cross blank with blank?" or "Why was blank envious of blank?") and two nouns to fill the blanks (like "airplane pilot" and "rutabaga"). The erstwhile Bob Hopes spend two minutes writing punchlines. When the time is up, the questioner sets up the joke and one of the players tries to sell each joke.

This is where the game can really take off. When the comic sells each joke, there is merriment galore. The questioner is given the unenviable task of picking the two funniest punchlines. I'd like to see the game played with less talented joke deliverers, though, to say whether this format will always succeed. Many of the winning punchlines were chosen more for presentation than content, but there was nothing wrong with that.

Like Apples to Apples, winning this game requires you to tailor to your audience (one table of players was full of pre-teens, so the word "poop" came up a lot in their punchlines). But this game is one step more advanced, requiring more depth and creativity. When the answers are random, it's generally because the player intended it to be random. On the other hand, a general feeling of goodwill and party atmosphere tends to liven up even the most tedious of groaners.

Highly recommended.

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