Chicken Time Warp

When it comes to board games I’m not a huge fan of overly complicated rules. I struggled with the early Fantasy Flight Games stuff, and thoroughly enjoy the use of a digital device to handle the bulk of the work. I’m also more partial to something like Miskatonic University or The Spirits of Carter Mansion when sitting at a table with friends.

We have a lot of accomplished board game players and reviewers at ATGN, but when Chicken Time Warp arrived at the office I snapped this one up for myself. This is the kind of board game I enjoy playing.

Chicken Time Warp consists of 71 cards broken down to 54 Game Play cards, 11 Timeline cards, and 6 Character cards. The character cards are purely cosmetic and simply allow each player to display conditions (frozen or dead). The Timeline cards are static and are turned up (or back down) as time flows either forwards or backwards. The game is played with the remaining 54 Game Play cards.

The object of the game is to play the Escape Pod card at the end of the Timeline. There is only one Escape Pod card in the game and it’s either in the deck to be drawn or in a player’s hand. Of course you’ll want to be the chicken who escapes so you’ll use a variety of cards to find out who has the Escape Pod and then steal it for yourself.

Each turn you’ll advance the Timeline, play a card (optional), and then draw a card from the deck. If you draw a ‘You Dead’ card you place your character on the Timeline at the current point and you’re out of the game (for now). If you had the Escape Pod card you hand it to the player next to you who isn’t going next. If you draw a ‘Time Slips Away’ card then the highest value Timeline card on the table is removed completely. If a dead character was at that point in the Timeline then they are out of the game for good.

Players can use a ‘Clux Capacitor’ to unwind time and reverse the Timeline, flipping cards face down again. However, you can never restore a point in time that has been removed completely. If a dead character was at a point on the Timeline that is now face down they are returned to play. You may also play a ‘Clux Capacitor’ immediately upon revealing a ‘You Dead’ card from the deck to avoid death, and of course rewind time.

And that’s about it. Pretty simple huh? It’s devilishly fun though, enough so that my wife and daughter whom I took the game home to play with kept asking for ‘just one more game’. Much laughter was had as we swapped hands, blocked swaps, stole cards, and deviously outwitted each other to be the sole survivor.

Chicken Time Warp is designed for three to six players and I feel could easily work well as a ‘party game’ title if you’re looking for something a little more wholesome. Cards Against Humanity does tire after a while. One of the (sadly unreached) stretch goals for the Kickstarter campaign was actually entitled the ‘Extremely Safe for Work Expansion’. Neat!

The box indicates that Chicken Time Warp is for players aged 14 and above, however with it’s simple rules and easy to read cards I’d feel confident the game would run well with younger players provided there was someone a bit older to keep the game in motion.

The card stock is of decent quality (textured but not fabric) with no rough edges. Colours and print are excellent and bright, and the artwork is humorous and suitable. My only gripe (not really) is we tired of flipping the Timeline cards over and over again, so we simply used a counter to keep track of the current time. It wouldn’t be hard to keep a coin or flat plastic marker in the box to facilitate this.

While Chicken Time Warp doesn’t have the depth of something like Munchkin (nor is it trying to), I do hope that the ‘Cluster Cluck’ expansion that was hinted at on Kickstarter is released at some point as I feel the game has plenty of room to expand.

In summary, Chicken Time Warp is simple, easy to learn, and a lot of fun. It will be enjoyed by players both young and old, and is a worthy addition to any board game library.

If you missed out on the Kickstarter, you can pick up a copy of the game for $19.99 USD (~$29.95 AUD) from either the official website or Amazon.

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