Chickapig was game created by Brian Calhoun with the help of a little-known musician and Calhoun’s good friend, Dave Matthews. It has no real story to it; the goal is just that you want to get all six of your chickapigs to their goal on the other side. The game is very much like chess or chinese checkers but with cute hybrid farm animals, cows, poop, hay, and daisies. It’s seriously very simple, very adorable, and very fun. It only has up to four players but that easily makes it the right amount of strategic for everyone involved.
Now, the goal is to move the chickapigs across to the gate that matches their color (red, green, blue, and yellow). The first player to get all six of their chickapigs into their gate wins the game. But first, you have to determine who starts gameplay and Chickapig makes that easy so that players don’t have call the “house rules” card: it’s the player with the highest roll and it moves clockwise from there. The person going first then rolls the die to determine how many moves you will get. This is the one thing that wasn’t completely clear when I initially read the instructions but one move is counted when you move either a chickapig, cow, or hay bale ONE space either vertically or horizontally and never diagonally. The second you move any of these one space then it will count as a move; thus, moving any two of these one space will count as a total of two moves and so on. The reason that is important is because the chickapigs don’t stop moving until they encounter a chickapig, cow, hay bale, the side of a gate (goal), or the edge of the game board. You have to plan strategically as to where you place everything to get your chickapig in your goal.
Since rolling a one or a two would be a little inconvenient and have the gameplay grow boring and/or repetitive, Chickapig does something a little different. Rolling a one means that you get to move the cow and place it anywhere on the board. Rolling a two means that you get a daisy card. The first time a player rolls a one, it removes the cow fence from the board, and the cow becomes a movable piece for all players. Every time a player rolls a one and places the cow anywhere on the board, it leaves a poop tile. Poop is bad. It doesn’t stop chickapigs but it does make the player draw a poop card. Poop cards literally never help you. They only hurt. They always give you up and they always run around and desert you. While playing the game, my mother (the only person I play test games with, apparently) drew one and it made her miss two full turns. Once you’ve drawn it, you must use it immediately and then it goes back into the deck. When a player rolls a two on the die, they get a daisy card. Assuming that no one is allergic to flowers then these are always good but you can only have one at a time and you can’t use it on the turn that you drew it. I managed to keep rolling this and getting out of a lot of trouble but mostly I avoided the consequences of poops (and I still lost the game).
The last important thing to know about the game is that the instructions deem it illegal to completely block another player’s gate. You can make it harder on them and you can block one half of it but you can never completely stop them from getting in and scoring. I found this to be a really nice rule because it could easily have gotten very frustrating never being able to get to your gate and not being able to move your opponent’s pieces. Then a small added bonus is an hourglass if you want to time people when they are moving. If they run out of time, the next player gets to go. It’s not a necessary element to the game but it can help smooth things along in a four person game.
I, personally, really loved the game. The pieces and artwork are simplistic but cute and engaging; it really brings you into a world where chickapigs exist and everything is as simple as poop and daisies. Furthermore, it’s easy to teach people and it’s good for all ages to play. I would even liken it to the popular family game, Sorry, in many ways. The game is also fun, engaging, and no match takes too long; for my mother and me, we managed to finish it in about 30-45 minutes. I give this game a four and a half chickapigs out of five (more than enough to leave a family satisfied).
Is this a game you would want to check out? Let us know in the comments below!
Image Credits: Blythe Wiedemann