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Chicken Cha Cha Cha (Zicke Zacke Huhnerkacke)

One of the best memory games

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Chicken Cha Cha Cha

Chicken Cha Cha Cha

Image courtesy of Rio Grande Games
Don't let the German name of this game (which translates as "nonsense word beak chicken poop" -- only substitute an expletive for "poop") keep you from playing one of the best memory games in print. The combination of great Doris Matthias art with chunky wooden chickens and great gameplay makes for an incredible playing experience -- and one that can easily include kids as young as three!

Earn Your Tail Feathers

Two dozen egg-shaped tiles are shuffled and placed in a large circle on the table, then each player places their chicken with a "tail feather" on an egg. The distance between players is based on the number of players playing the game. Finally, a set of 12 hexagonal guessing tiles are placed in a circle inside the egg track.

The first player looks at the next empty tile (clockwise) in front of their chicken -- it's this particular picture that they must match to move ahead. Then they flip over one of the hexagonal tiles. If it matches, they move forward and take another turn. If they're wrong, their turn is over.

If a player manages to leap over another chicken, they grab all of that chicken's tail feathers and put them in their chicken. The objective is to get all of the tail feathers.

Great for Young Children

Chicken Cha Cha Cha

Chicken Cha Cha Cha

Photo © Erik Arneson
Small children are SCARY good at this game. I've watched kids lap the board just to prove that they can, while the adults they were playing with were still struggling to remember half of the tiles in play.

Part of why this game works so well for small kids is that you can easily "simplify" the game -- take out a couple of hexagonal tiles and the matching egg tiles and you've got a quicker game that retains the same flavor as the original.

The Chicken Family of Zoch

Or, if you want to get a little crazy, you can buy the Duckling Dancin' expansion, which not only adds two players (in the form of duck pieces) but also little wooden piles of poop. (The piles start out behind players and become something else that players must jump: If you step in the poop, you must give a tail feather to the person whose poop it was/is. Man, I'm not really not sure of the correct tense to use with poop -- I'm guessing that doesn't come up much in English classes.)

Chicken Cha Cha is part of what BoardGameGeek calls "the Chicken Family of Zoch" (a series of games connected by theme -- chickens -- and art -- Doris) that has a lot of good games in it, including Au Backe (which is also among my favorites)!

Details

Chicken Cha Cha Cha is for 2 to 4 players (up to 6 with the Duckling Dancin' expansion), ages 4 and up. It was designed by Klaus Zoch and published by Rio Grande Games / Zoch.

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