What: a four-way sliding Chess remix with a defecating cow
Players: two or four people, but best with four
Time: 30 minutes
People: Anyone old enough to know not to eat the pieces
Available: to back on Kickstarter now
Why we recommend it
Currently in the midst of its already-successful Kickstarter at the time of writing, Chickapig is a cute game conjured up by an American fella called Brian Calhoun. It’s a game with an interesting back story, and has been more than a decade in the making.
All the components – from little chickapigs to circular cow poos – are made by hand, mostly within a few miles from Brian’s home in Charlottesville, Virginia. Amazingly, the cow pieces are handcrafted by his own mother, a touch that helps make this game feel far more personal and meaningful than something from a bigger publisher.
The game takes place on something resembling a chess board, with players lining up their six chickapigs along one side of it. Opposite them will be a pair of goalposts. The objective, of course, is to get the chickapigs across the board and safely between them.
To move, you can roll a dice to work out how many times you can move a chickapig. The pieces sliiiiiiiide rather than moving, so set a (chicka)piggy on its way and it’ll keep going until it meets a barrier – either the edge of the board, or some other obstacle like a hay bale or another player’s chicky(pig).
Instead of moving a chickapig, you can also move blocks of hay around. This might help you plot routes to safety, but it’s much more funny to use them to foil your opponents’ plans. Block their goalmouths and trap them in corners for maximum lulz.
There’s also a cow, which can be moved around by anyone, albeit slowly. Roll a one, however, and you can pick the cow up and place her anywhere on the board (hot tip: anywhere that will cock up another player’s path to the goal). As the cow leaves a space, she leaves behind a solid turd, a present for players that will stay on the board until a pig slides through it.
Soiled piggies mean players have to pick up a poo card. Poo cards unsurprisingly mean shitty consequences, like having to skip a turn or even resetting a chickpig back to its starting position.
So basically it’s a game where you can move chickapigs, cows or hay around with the ultimate objective being to secure your piggies on the other side of the board. The reality is that players will plot careful paths through the many hazards and potential collisions in their way, but by the time they start getting closer to success, the landscape will have completely changed.
Skilled or lucky players will get one or two chickapigs to safety early on, but as their opponents start to block off key routes and place poo all around the goals, the game quickly descends into a slaughterhouse, with pig after pig being flung into the centralised carnage.
The Best Play team couldn’t agree on whether the mid-game gridlock was a good thing or not, but at its best Chickapig is amusing and enjoyable in equal measure.
It’s a game optimised for four players, and it shows. With a relatively short runtime, if you’re four people looking for a quick game to pass the time then this is one of the best solutions out there.