Steven D
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This is a mix of a review of the game and a first play with my game group.

A little background on me...
I am an Improv actor. I've performed on the main stage of 2nd City and Comedy Sportz as well as many other local Chicago spots. "Why did the chicken... ?" reminds me of one of my favorite Improv games played often at Sportz, "185". On stage, the team solicits a noun from the audience and their goal is to rapid fire come up with as many punch lines to a joke about that noun. The joke is always the same: 185 nouns walk into a bar. The bartender says I can't serve 185 nouns in here. And the nouns say (insert punch line here). Great improv game, always gets laughs and groans and is very high energy.

So when I heard about "Why did the chicken...?", I put it on my wish list straight away. A friend was nice enough to send it to me for my birthday and first chance I got, I took it to my meet-up game group... with high expectations.

About the game
Components are on par with other party games. Cards are of good stock, there are 6 pencils (with the game name right on them), an hourglass, pads of paper and a sturdy, if over sized, box.

The rules are about as straight forward as any party game can be. Well explained on the 1 page of rules in the box. The Judge for the turn draws a Question card, draws 2 noun cards, reads the question with the nouns inserted into the question as in a mad libs style. Everyone at the table gets a chance to play the judge once. Everyone else has 2 minutes to write their answers. Once complete, someone other than the judge reads the questions and the judge picks their favorite. He who is picked the most, wins.

Play and over all observations

In the past this group has played Apples to Apples and enjoyed it.

Every thing was amazingly easy to explain. I played with 9 people (more than the suggested number) but to keep things manageable people were only allowed to submit one response (the official rules say you can keep writing until time runs out). Everyone understood what they needed to do and how the game would progress.

The first question was asked and there were blank faces abound. I was writing a response and others around the table were looking like they'd been asked to solve a differential equation. As time went on, they were encouraged by others around the table to write something, anything and submit it. This is when I realized (yet again) that a group of board game players might not be the best fit for an Improv style game. Combining my two loves is not always a good match.

Answers came in that were "?" and "I have no idea" on the one hand, and on the other some good funny came spilling out. There were laughs and groans at various submissions.

One of the biggest issues I found was that the person reading to the judge needs to have some sense of comic timing when reading the submissions. If they are read in a blank, monotone, and stumbling voice, it just takes so much of the energy away from the game and it falls flat. There needs to be a true enthusiasm when reading the responses otherwise the energy of the game gets sucked away. There it goes...

As the game went on I'd estimate that about half of the group had fun with it... the other third to half were well out of their water. Comments I heard from those struggling were: "I like apples to apples better, I did not have to think!" and "This is too hard, I have to be creative."


Over all

Unless asked for specifically to bring this back to the game group, I doubt I will. It was made for people that want to jump in with both feet, be over the top, energetic, creative, funny (groaners included) and willing to think about their responses.

On the other hand, I'd love to take this to a show and play it on stage with a good team. And I do believe that it will be fun with some of my less inhibited friends (and a beer or two) so I can't wait to try it there. But over all, this requires the desire to play, and is not something like Yahtzee that can be played with out much creativity.

I think the game is set up to deliver what it promise (although having only 20 question cards is a bit of a draw back). The only thing I wish was included in the box that was missing was a good set of energized people.

If you have that component and are revvvving to go, jump in with bot feet! And while you are at it, give me a call.

I'd rate this on the bump on a log scale. surprise

On a party game scale, well, I'll need to try out that group and then rate it... I expect it will be much higher.

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Chris Cieslik
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With the correct group, this game is excellent. But, there seems to sadly be a lot of bumps on the log out there
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You've hit the nail in the head here. I like making sh-tuff up. Some of my favourite games are those which allow me to do a bit of quick, improvised writing, such as Beyond Balderdash, Quip It!, Why Did the Chicken...?, etc. However, I too have discovered that not everyone is cut out for these "quick wit" type of games. On one occasion, one player was nearly having an anxiety attack with the pressure of having to think of something, and in another game one player was actually close to tears! But if you're with a group of people who you know are into this sort of thing, it can lead to one of the funniest gaming experiences going.
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Thanks for a wonderful review. I am fortunate in that the people I game with are also improvisors or actors (as am I), so I don't have the problems you had. In the meantime, you might also want to try Mad Scientist University -- a game that that improvisors will also love.
 
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David Bohnenberger
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Yes, this game is VERY group-dependent. It can make people uncomfortable when they are asked to be clever or witty. Some people just don't think that way.
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Dave Chalker
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Indeed, definitely group-dependent.

Also, limiting people to one answer means you're going to get worse answers... even bumps can get warmed up if they start writing multiple answers.
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Steven D
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davethegame wrote:

Also, limiting people to one answer means you're going to get worse answers... even bumps can get warmed up if they start writing multiple answers.


I agree. And I don't encourage this type of play with an involved group.


 
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Steven D
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queenc wrote:
Thanks for a wonderful review. I am fortunate in that the people I game with are also improvisors or actors (as am I), so I don't have the problems you had. In the meantime, you might also want to try Mad Scientist University-- a game that that improvisors will also love.


I have played quite a few cool Imporv type games... Looney Bin made it to our practice sessions quite often. I had not seen Mad Scientist University before... I'll have to look at this closer. Looks like a blast! And so many add ons! Thanks for the heads up!
 
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