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Winner Winner Chicken Dinner Kickstarter Preview


Quick Look:

Designer: Chad Elkins
Artist: Shawna J.C. Tenney
Publisher: 25th Century Games
Year Published: 2019
No. of Players: 2-4
Ages: 8+
Playing Time: 15-30 minutes

Find more info on BoardGameGeek.com

WARNING: This is a preview of Winner Winner Chicken Dinner. All components and rules are prototype and subject to change.

From the Publisher:

Players take on the role of foxes trying to steal as many chickens as they can from the hen house, then cook them up into delicious chicken dinner.

Players will have a specific character fox, each with a unique ability to be used during the game. Players roll dice to steal chickens from the coop, collect action cards to help themselves or hinder others, and convert their chickens into dinner. Watch out for Toby the farm dog! Rolling poorly too many times and he might scare the chickens out of your bag or could end the game. Action cards can be used to steal from other players, influence dice rolls, and more!

***

TL;DR: Winner Winner Chicken Dinner is fun little dice-roller with healthy dose of take-that. While not explicitly a game for kids, it is simple to teach and learn, and serves as a good introduction to variable player powers, press-your-luck, and take-that. The game does have some silly elements which may be hit-or-miss with certain gaming groups, but life's too short to not reenact the chicken dances from Arrested Development. Overall, it's a fun light game that is mechanically fluid, yet isn't afraid to take itself too seriously. It would be good to break out between some heavier titles on game night.

Review:

Setup:
To set up the game, first put the game board in the middle of your playing area, and place the dog token on the starting space, 15 chickens in the coop, and the bonus die on its allotted space. Give each player one bag, one fox character, and two chicken tokens to put in their bag. Place the card market board next to the main board. Shuffle the all of the action cards and reveal three to places on the three corresponding spaces on the market board, and place the remaining cards face-down beside the market board for later use. The player who last ate chicken goes first.  Give them the six hunt dice and you are ready to start.

Hunt dice with yellow bonus die.

Gameplay:
On a player's turn, they begin by rolling the six hunt dice. Any non-dog roll results can be re-rolled two more times. The roll results determine what a player can do on the next part of the turn.

Foxes allow players to purchase from the market. The cards on the market board range in cost from one to three foxes.

Dogs cannot be re-rolled, but having two dogs allows the rolling player to select an opponent and make them discard a chicken back to the coop. If the player rolls three dogs, their opponent's chicken goes into their bag, rather than the coop.

Chickens allow players to steal from the coop. If a player rolls two chickens, they can take two chickens from the coop.

Legs allow the player to cook a chicken. Cooked chickens are safe from stealing. Two legs allows the player to cook two chickens.

Cooked chickens are safe from stealing.

After the player is happy with their roll, or has met the re-roll limit, they perform the following in any order, if applicable.
  • Move the dog on the dog bark track
  • Move chickens from the coop to their bag
  • Purchase fox cards from the market and resolving any with immediate effects
  • Cook chickens from their bag
  • Play fox cards from hand
Once the player has made their decision and used their applicable dice, the hunt dice are passed clockwise. If a player purchased a fox card, all cards shift to the left on the market board and a new card is revealed on the three-fox cost space on the market.

Fox market

Players continue to roll, resolve, pass until the dog token reaches the ending space (20 for two players, 30 for three players, and 40 for four players), or there are no more chickens in the coop.


Once one of these conditions have been met, players score two victory points for each cooked chicken, and one point for each chicken still in the bag. The player with the most victory points wins.

Theme and Mechanics:
Winner Winner Chicken Dinner is a dice-roller, and as such has a big press-your-luck vibe. It also is very much a take-that style game where players are continually stealing chickens from one another or forcing their opponents to discard chickens back into the coop.

Thematically, you are taking the roll of a fox that is looking to eat some chickens. Each fox is modeled after a famous figure of some sort and has a unique ability to match.



Artwork and Components:
The review copy is a prototype, so I cannot comment on the components. The art is really nice. The fox characters are clever homages and provide interesting variable powers to the players that are loosely associated with the character they are portraying.



As it stands now, as a prototype, I would be satisfied with the art and thematic elements in the cards and components.

The Good:
Uncommon take on a common theme: The first thing that I enjoyed about the game was that the fox isn't the bad guy. I know this may seem trivial, but I feel like I have seen so many kid games/books/movies/etc. where the fox is the antagonist. We get it--foxes steal chickens and farmers don't like that, but a fox needs to eat too. I was relieved when I found that this wasn't another game that revolved around trying to stop foxes, but rather celebrated their slyness and acknowledged that chicken tastes good.



Another one for the kids: I like to find games that, while aren't explicitly meant to be an introduction to a certain mechanism, can serve that function. Winner Winner Chicken Dinner is a good introduction to press-your-luck and take-that style games. It is easy teach and learn, and the recommended age of 8+ seems spot on. My 8-year-old had a lot of fun laughing with (at) me dancing like a chicken. The variable play times based on the number of players helped keep their attention throughout the game. I never felt that it started to drag, and they didn't have trouble staying engaged.

The art of the fox: I touched on this above, but the fox characters are subtle tributes to their human counterparts and I thought they were all really clever. Tying in the variable powers with the character they were portraying was another small detail that added to the experience.

A few of the character cards.

Has anybody in this family even seen a chicken?: Anytime a game allows you to recreate this scene, it's a winner.

25th Century Games: I'm a fan of 25th Century Games and Winner Winner Chicken Dinner is a unique and worthy entry to their catalogue. It is different enough in theme and mechanisms that it doesn't feel like they are trying to simply repeat past success, but not so different that it doesn't fit in with their current offerings.Winner Winner Chicken Dinner has been a hit with the family and will likely be the next game to join their list of successful Kickstarter campaigns.

The Meh:
Koo-koo-ka-cha!: There is adding silly elements to a game to enhance fun, and then there is adding silly for silly sake. Winner Winner Chicken Dinner toes that line with some of the cards. Now, this isn't necessarily bad. The kids loved dancing around like chickens and competing in a cluck-off. With some of the adults I played with, there was a group that seemed equally enthusiastic about recreating the chicken dances from Arrested Development. In other cases, some of the adult players were less than thrilled about having to act like a chicken. To each their own, but it's best that you know the people in your group and their willingness to act like chickens. Again, not necessarily a bad thing, but something you should be aware of going into it.

I drink your milkshake (and steal your chickens): Speaking of knowing your group, this game is very much a take-that style game and fortunes can change easily between turns. Playing with adults, this wasn't an issue. We've played our share of take-that games and have enough experience to know that life isn't fair. However, be sure to know your kids temperaments and how well they will/will not handle the take-that actions or when rolls don't go their way. 

Final Thoughts:
I'll break this into two parts--parent and gamer.

As a parent, I thoroughly enjoyed playing this with the kids. It is simple to play, and plays quickly, but it is not so simple that you feel like you're slogging through another roll-and-move game with little to no thought. It's a good introduction to probability and getting used to take-that style games. They enjoyed the theme, and while some of the thematic elements were lost on them, they weren't lost on me and I enjoyed their inclusion in the game. The kids also enjoyed the silly aspects of the game (i.e. dancing like a chicken and cluck-off), and as a parent I enjoyed that it had those aspects without making the silliness the focal point of the game.


As a gamer, I think Winner Winner Chicken Dinner would be a good fit between heavier titles. It plays in under 30 minutes, and can help you reset between a couple of long, brain-burning type of games. And while the game is lighter and will likely classify as a filler for most groups, it is not completely devoid of strategy. Players will need to decide on each turn whether to push on with their dice rolls, or move on and do what they can. Dancing like a chicken wont be for everyone, so know your group's willingness to let loose and act a little goofy. As for me, I don't mind it (again, Arrested Development), but to each their own.

Players Who Like:
Family-friendly press-your-luck games, Arrested Development.


Check out Winner Winner Chicken Dinner on:

https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/238407/winner-winner-chicken-dinner   https://www.25thcenturygames.com/   https://www.facebook.com/25thCenturyGames/   https://twitter.com/25thCG     https://www.instagram.com/25thcenturygames/   https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCv_nFagYZztjNyish6Cq21g  

On KICKSTARTER now. Campaign ends October 16, 2019.



Nick Shipley - Reviewer

Nick is a compliance consultant by day, a board gamer at night, and a husband and father always. When he is not bringing a game to the table, he is running (most often to or from his kids) or watching the New York Yankees. Nick lives in Oklahoma.

See Nick's reviews HERE.
Winner Winner Chicken Dinner Kickstarter Preview Winner Winner Chicken Dinner Kickstarter Preview Reviewed by Nick Shipley on September 24, 2019 Rating: 5

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