Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Special in-depth Chickenhat Round-up

Now that we are firmly entrenched in the holiday season like a puppy in quicksand, the average person will find their party attendance rising by a factor of at least plenty. Family get-togethers, New Year’s parties, work shindigs and soirees held by desperate religious organisations are just some of the possible evenings out that Christmas holds, and historically these have been terrible, depressing affairs.

But last year, a gap appeared in the clouds of holiday party boredom, and the sunlight shone through in the form of the hit party game, Chickenhat.

For people who spent the last 12 months in a womb, I will briefly explain. Chickenhat is a game like Pass the Parcel: while music plays, a circle of people pass a roast chicken from head to head. When the music stops, the person with the chicken on their head gets to take a piece and eat it. The game continues until no meat is left on the bird, and everyone is full of fowl.

Chickenhat was such a resounding success last year that greasy hair became a mark of pride for some people, and it was completely normal to see people in the street with drumsticks behind their ears. The game was an international success, with fans including the Pope, Ricky Martin and the King of Gambia, who now refuses to eat anything that hasn’t first sat on his head.

Flushed with the success of the Chickenhat phenomenon, many companies have released expansion packs and accessories for the game, which I will explore for you now.

Possibly the most eagerly awaited Chickenhat product is the Official Extended Rules System Book, created and released by the Official World Chickenhat League. Several dozen new variations are included in this guide, from the much-loved Welsh Lladdybhoy Chickenhat (in which the bird is filled with melted cheese) and the Swiss version (in which dropping the chicken from one’s head to the floor is punishable by expulsion from the game and stoning). I loved trying out these different rules, especially Speed Chickenhat, which uses the smaller Scots Dumpy breed for ultra-quick games. A word of warning, though: Combat Chickenhat is for experts only. My friends and attempted to play this variation in my living room, and while it was fun for a while, the game had to be suspended after several hundred pounds of damage was created and one competitor became pregnant. That aside, the plethora of new games to try out will brighten any Chickenhat aficionado’s day.

Travel Chickenhat has been released by MG Games for Chickenhatters on the go. I will admit, I can’t see the appeal of playing the game while in a car, ferry or plane, but addicts may well like it. All the essential accessories are included in this kit, including gizzard net and giblet dice. Plus there’s an adaptor for in-flight airplane meals, which is rubbish.

Warner Brothers have made an official Chickenhat Compilation Album, featuring songs to play while engaged in a poultry headwear party. With songs such as Got a Chicken on my Head (Yay!) by Miley Cyrus and Pullet Frenzy by Parson and the Noses, this is a great collection of music to play – stop – eat some chicken – play – stop – eat some chicken.

A quick warning now, to be wary of the many different non-official Chickenhat knockoffs out there. Grousehat, Goosehat, Swanhat and Toasthat are all vastly inferior games, with vague rules, poor equipment and – in the case of Swanhat – the danger of serious neck damage. Avoid.

Finally, Chickenhat: The Fowl Play Board Game is just as much fun as the original game, and allows anyone to play Chickenhat, even if they are unable to play the game proper due to, for example, having a pointy head. Players roll the dice and move their chicken around the ‘head-board’ (get it?), answering questions and riddles while simultaneously trying to avoid the Spaniard who is chasing the chickens around the board so he can put them in a pie. The figurines are extremely detailed, with majestic, regal chickens and a realistically evil Spaniard. This gave my friends and I hours of fun and a genuine distaste for continental Europeans. Of course, it doesn’t match up to the fun of having a real roast chicken on your head, but it’s close.



Red said...

I'm sorry. What is this game called? I think you failed to mention it.

Distributorcap said...

is it an olympic sport yet?

Jillian said...

Do you know if there's a version that people without arms could play? I have an uncle who lost both his arms in a tragic bass fishing accident and I drew his name in the family gift drawing this year.

Anonymous said...

I wish you would stop saying "Chickenhat Chickenhat Chickenhat Chickenhat Chickenhat..." around the house. It's getting creepy.

katrocket said...

This reminds me of a French game I used to play called "Liverbra".

BeckEye said...

Can you substitute a turkey for the chicken? Or, perhaps, a live parrot?

The Imaginary Reviewer said...

Red: It's called Jenga. No, wait, I forgot..

Dcap: It bloody should be.

Jillian: There is, but it requires robots. Does he have any robots?

FMIR: You chose this life.

Katrocket: A variation on Foie Gras Pinafore, if I'm not mistaken.

Beckeye: That's just crazy enough to work!