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Chicken Limbo» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Review by Sag, Father of Four rss

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    The time has come to give Chicken Limbo the review that it so richly deserves, as the game is quite entertaining for kids. Currently the Chicken Limbo page has exactly two comments -- both in reference to the recall. I will address that as well as other aspects of this game.

    The game comes in a very reasonable-sized box, but stands nearly five feet tall and four feet wide when assembled. It is constructed of solid plastic and is quite colorful and pretty to look at. The spinner works exceptionally well compared to others I have found in kid's games, and seems to create an even distribution of events. All in all the components are of fine quality, with the one exception that I will mention below.

    Chicken Limbo is essentially limbo for you kids! It's fun, it's physical, and it's guaranteed to burn some beans on a rainy day. The side bars are designed for easy height adjustments that even my three-year-olds handle with ease. The numbers for each height are molded into the plastic legs so there is no need to apply stickers or other markings --- indeed the toy seems designed to last for years.

    On each turn your kid spins the spinner, which indicates how to pass under the bar. Instead of the standard back-breaking method that anyone over 40 cringes at, you can also spin to go under backwards, or on hands and knees, crab walk, "chicken walk" (a personal favorite), or forward bending at the waist. This is particularly good news for us big people, as the height of the bar at the start will likely put us out of the game in round 1 if we had to do a traditional limbo. Little ones get a big advantage at being short, which keeps them in the game generally up to the very end. There are very few games here on the geek where the littlest kid in the house has an advantage -- this is one of them.


    The remainder of the rules are just as you would expect -- if you get under the chicken you continue to the next round, if you bump the chicken you don't.

    Which brings me to the most entertaining part of the entire toy. Who? WHO, you may ask, gets to decide if you've made it under the bar or not? Which amongst those attending gets to make this critical decision? Surely all playing are biased and have an agenda of their own -- no one is to be trusted. HOW DO YOU KEEP THE KIDS FROM BEING AT EACH OTHER'S THROATS WHEN SOMEONE MAKES A BAD CALL? Well friend, the answer is simple -- let the chicken decide.


    Indeed the chicken is the arbiter in all decisions of Chicken Limbo. Carefully inserting two AA batteries into his little poultry butt brings a life to the chicken that few games have. The song for this toy is infectious -- entertaining as hell without the irritation that usually comes with kid toys that have sound effects. It's a simple little chicken song indicates that limbo time is here, and he continues singing until (and this is the important part) SOMEONE BUMPS THE CHICKEN. Since his tail is the lowest part of the bar, someone not making it bumps into his tail feathers, and the chicken's song abrubtly changes, indicating that you're out of the game. His tone is suitable for the purpose -- sarcastic enough to not hurt feelings, but more than emphatic enough to sit down even the stubbornest kid. Volume level is not adjustable, but reasonable. Batteries seem to last for years (we're still on our original set).

Now to talk to the parents in the audience --
1. Annoyance level on this game is low.
2. My six-year-old can set it up by himself.
3. The game's volume level is appropriate for even a small house, but not adjustable. A bit of Scotch Tape on the speaker would likely rectify this if it's a concern. Scotch Tape on the kids squealing while playing it is not recommended (but remarkably effective).
4. It does take up a bit of space, but considering it's nature I don't think it could take up any less.
5. My kids pull it out repeatedly, and are largely self-sufficient when playing it. It generally holds their attention for 30 minutes at a time, but they come back to it through the day.
6. Parents can get into the fun if reasonably physically capable. Note that the mechanism of the game auto-handicaps bigger players, so there is no need to goose the system so the little ones can participate. It is likely your two-year-old will win games.

    Ok -- that one last thing. Let's talk about the recall. The original version of this game had an ingenious setup for the bottom leg of the game. When leg piece #2 was screwed into leg piece #1, a spring-loaded peg would extend from the far end of leg #1 that snapped into the base. Ingenious? Yes! Functional? Well . . . it pretty much worked. But the problem was that it didn't always lock firmly into the holes in the bases and the result was that Chicken Limbo would tumble over if someone got rough with it. Not likely an issue during game play as you're trying your best not to touch anything. But when adjusting the height of the bar this became tedious. The adjustment process invariably required you to set the bar back in its base which was just not practicable for kids playing on their own. It really hobbled the game.

    Now, the entire structure is quite light, and calling this a "safety" recall (my opinion here) was a bit extreme. You could as easily recall CandyLand because the board has 4 sharp corners on it. If a child were laying on the floor beside Chicken Limbo, and the legs let go, and they were not paying attention, and the top of the bar hit the child directly in the face, they could get hurt. Other than that I think it would just be another bump or bruise in childhood solved with a kiss or a tickle.

    But! here's the deal -- the new legs makes the setup far sturdier, and the game far more useful. If you own the game and have not gotten the replacement parts, I recommend that you do just to make the game more fun. Recall details are here -- If you haven't bought the game but see one in a thrift store and are considering it, it's quite simple to figure out if the recall has been applied or not. Look at the photo below --


    Note the bottom leg piece is yellow (not red), and that it flares at the bottom and snaps firmly into the base. Indeed, the replacement part can only be removed from the base with extreme work and patience. It is designed to be permanant. What used to fit neatly in the box now requires two parts to sit beside it on the shelf, but given the increase in usefulness this is a very reasonable price to pay.

    I recommend Chicken Limbo with the recalled parts. I wouldn't recommend it without. The recall costs you nothing and requires just a phonecall. So in my opinion this is a good use of your money, and sure beats your kids sitting in front of another episode of The Fairly Oddparents.

    Get ready to limbo!

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Larry Welborn
United States
South Carolina
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Clemson Tigers #1
Thanks for the good review.
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