Hail Caesar! while he still lives…

box design

Lets look a little more in depth at the overlooked Chicken Caesar from Nevermore Games. My first impression of this game, i am not shy to admit, was wholly negative. The pun, the kickstarter, even the cover art… something in making a game when you’re unknown to a community should be in perception, right? Game-makers Bryan Fischer and John Sizemore, have made themselves an excellent negotiation game.

The good: The table is full of open information that doesn’t shy away from real, direct confrontation. This kind of interaction between players is so rare. Honestly, if shown this game without any theme, i really think i could sell it to just about anyone who walks into my store.

The bad: the game hits at 4-5 players without much wiggle room.

Who should check this out? anyone who likes lying and betraying their friends, RIGHT IN THEIR FACE! Welp, I suppose you can play this game a little nicer. Any big bad wolf among you is going to have quite a feast!

here’s how it works:

CknC board

So your chickens have decided the coop could use an overhaul. The roman government is the (obviously) best choice.  Its politicking(politiking?), focus on intellectual discussion, and ultimate treachery seems very cock-like. The Caesar shall be accountable for health and happiness. The tax guys will decide on tax-things, guards will be bribed and monuments to our fallen fowls with be built.

Chicken Caesar is played out over around ninety minutes. Each player represents a powerful chicken-family. Chickens wheel and deal themselves into some of the 5 different government positions. The aediles choose how much to tax the citizens, lining their pockets will also mean that blood is spilt. The Praetors will assign the guards to watch the officials in each office, often sending the traitorous guards after those who are building themselves up too fast. The consul will deliberate on their fallen cohorts; Often taking some financial incentive to build out a monument of an opponent’s family. The Caesar and censor make one important decision during their often short term. The Caesar may veto any one vote as it is placed. This can prevent death of a former beneficiary. The censor will send one chicken into exile until the next offices are seated. They can in fact exile themselves to prevent death.

chickens!

In any round in which a single chicken has died, so shall the Caesar. If his censor is still seated, he will be demoted. All remaining chickens will ascend to their new offices and voting shall continue to place remaining chickens into the empty seats. The game will end when an entire family has been eradicated, or when there are not enough remaining chickens to fill the seats of a new round.

I’ve to date won half of my games of Chicken Caesar. Sometimes it has been throwing shade at the craftier opponents, sometimes trying to fly under the radar of others. Being sweet and simple is not something i’m known for, so this tactic will only work with folks who do not know me. I would totally do this, if opportunity allowed.

The scoring of Chicken Caesar is interesting. It is easy to know when you are winning or losing, as all scores are open. One well-placed monument can put any player over the top in scoring. The chart is an optimization-based score, like Agricola. Individual chickens will earn an insignia for each office they serve from round, to round. If they survive multiple rounds, this develops an “extra” insignia. These can then be offered up to the consul to be built onto your fallen chickens. For every chicken that carries the same kind of insignia, a score will be reached. The Caesar’s insignia is the greatest number of points, as it is very difficult to obtain, and even harder to survive into an extra insignia to be built later.

So the game is built upon good timing, and better negotiation than the next guy.

Overall i would recommend this as a great 5 player negotiation game. Much better than the Bang-werewolves-resistance style, if you’re trying to fill an entire evening of play.

Advertisements

Wordsmith: A Quick and Clever game on Kickstarter

This week I had the pleasure to meet Alistair Wong, designer of a new party game on Kickstarter, called Wordsmith. He politely offered to show off the game play, and pulled a pretty-looking deck of cards out of his bag.

Setup entails setting out 10 cards on the table facing up and handing each player a hand of four cards. Each card has two letters, with a value from 1 to 5. The numbers act as a score at the end of the game. The higher the number, the more difficult the pair of letters is to create a word. Wordsmith has no turns, so play begins and players can use one card from their hand to create words, using cards on the table. Players leave the card from their hand on the table, taking the cards that began on the table into their score-pile.

Alistair was lightning fast, but I started getting a flow after a little while. It was quite fun to try and play cards from my hand in quick succession, hoping he wouldn’t pluck them up before I could. The play reminded me a lot of playing Set for the first time.  It was very fun and the style is nice and efficient.

All-in-all the quality of the cards and novelty of play should make this game quite popular.  I can see taking this along to dinner parties or happy hours. It’s simple enough to not intimidate non-gamers. I do have a preference for games that will fit into my purse though.