Our Risky Chicken review, what we have to say about the light and breezy press your luck and prisoner’s dilemma board game. The game consists of a series of “mountain climbs”, each involving two players at a time, the “leader” and their chosen “sidekick”. As players ascend the mountain, the potential payout grows, but so does the risk of falling, and it becomes wise to chicken out. At each level of the mountain, the leader and sidekick discuss whether they should continue climbing. This is a simple and to the point game that has plenty of depth because of the player interaction present throughout.
We took a look across fun, replayability, player interaction, quality and art & style to come up with the overall score for our Risky review. See the breakdown by category below.
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– CATEGORY BREAKDOWN –
Fun (7 out of 10)
For the fun section of the Risky Chicken review, we award a great 7 out of 10. While the game is very simple, the interactions and your own internal turmoil make for a fun and exciting experience. The first person to a certain number of coins wins and the path to getting there is always interesting. First, you are playing the luck, you roll a die to go higher, and it gets increasingly more difficult as you go, placing importance on knowing when to quit. This would be fun on its own, especially with all the chicken puns you get to laugh about, but then it is paired with having to take someone with you and generally collectively agreeing, but always with the concern that they could turn on you at any moment.
You are doing a simple thing but each path has many choices and things to consider. You have tons of freedom in your choices and every action you take follows you along for the entire game. This is exciting from many different directions and that makes for a very fun experience.
Replayability (6 out of 10)
For the replayability section of the Risky Chicken review, we award a good 6 out of 10. Since so much of this game comes down to an interal struggle with your own understanding of your current standing in relation to the other players, this is an easy one to play over and over again. The mechanics of the game do not get stale, becuase they are just tools to explore some unique traits of humanity. This isnt about how you climbed up a mountain correctly, it is about trust and hedging against luck.
All that being said, there isn’t that much that changes so after a while, you do feel like you are playing the same game over and over. Depending on who you are playing with, the novelty of when to stab one another in the back does ware off. One aspect that changes and keeps things interesting are the chicken trick cards. These can only be used once, but they basically act as a variable player power and if you have ever experienced this type of thing, you know that even the slightest of advantages and disadvantages can completely turn the tide of a game.
Player Interaction (8 out of 10)
For the player interaction section of the Risky Chicken review, we award a fantastic 8 out of 10. The game uses the “prisoner’s dilemma” mechanic, a terribly underutilized mechanic in the board game world, which might be one of the best ways to introduce player interaction into a board game of all time. Initially formulated by the American mathematician Albert W. Tucker, this is a paradox in decision analysis in which two individuals acting in their own self-interests do not produce the optimal outcome. The typical prisoner’s dilemma is set up in such a way that both parties choose to protect themselves at the expense of the other participant.
The way it is used here is that a player gets a turn to try and climb a mountain, getting up higher gets riskier but the payout gets better, but they must take a “sidekick” with them in the form of any other player. To climb the mountain, you both need to secretly agree to make the same move. This will lead to the most ideal situation, but one person can lie, and put themselves in a position where they will gain and their partner will lose. Riding the line of when you should be able to trust your partner and when you maybe shouldn’t is the entire basis of this game and makes for quite the phycological conundrum as you move through gameplay that makes for some very satisfying player interaction.
Quality (7 out of 10)
For the quality section of the Risky Chicken review, we award a great 7 out of 10. Whenever you can have a game that is incredibly simple, but still robust and satisfying, you have won. The most popular board games in the world are the ones with the simpliest rules that achieve this. Risky Chicken is just two mechanics, push you luck and prisoner’s dilemma, smashed up in a succinct and well balanced game flow. That deserves some credit.
As for the package as a whole, it is generally well produced. The components are nice and get the job done. Nothing in the execution is going to blow your mind, but it is solid and should have no problem standing the test of time.
Art & Style (6 out of 10)
For the art & style section of the Risky Chicken review, we award a good 6 out of 10. Everything feeds well into the overall “Chicken” theme but everything feels just a tad generic. The game board, for example, is pretty big and there is almost nothing on it. Or the cover art is nice, but then the typography choice seemed like an after thought. It is all nice, but just nothing to ride home about.
One cool thing that is an exciting piece of style are the chicken trick cards. These are specially tricks you get randomly at the start of the game and can use once. There are 12 of these and they are all well thought out puns and chicken jokes. Look out for Chickenstein who can bring chickens back from the dead, or the clucknapper who maliciously take another chicken’s place or maybe just the Spring Chicken that gives you a big jumping levels boost. They are fun, funny and play into the theme well.
– IN CLOSING –
Risky Chicken Review | Board Game Halv
Risky Chicken is a very simple and straightforward board game that mashes up the mechanics of press your luck and the prisoner's dilemma to make for a streamlined and exciting experience set against a fun world of Chicken puns. You have tons of freedom in your decision making and since so much of how you proceed touches on special aspects of human nature, the player interaction and replayability are very good. This cartoonish and not too serious title is well constructed and great for all players from the whole family to a heated matchup between career gamers. This has been our Risky Chicken review, we hope you liked it!
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See the full explanation of the judging criteria here.