Talk:Chicken Run

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Ideas On The Table[edit source]

Summaries of Potential Changes[edit source]

There are three basic problems, annotated next to the rules (below) which attempt to resolve them:

  • The Blockade Problem (B)
  • The Stall Problem (S)
  • The Roll-Off Problem (R)
  1. A tied roll can always be used to move a Chicken, even if it is captured.(S)
  2. A larger family member may tackle smaller opposing family members, pushing them to an adjacent orthogonal square.(S)
  3. High-roller (or tied-rollers) must use all movement points, even if that requires uncapping a Chicken. If the highest roll results in no possible moves, then the high-roller must move Spectators instead of family members (but not Chickens).(S,B)
  4. Both sides may use their rolls, high-roller moving first. In ties, previous low-roller moves Spectators or Chickens first, then previous high-roller moves Spectators or Chickens.(R)
  5. During a roll, low-roller moves Spectators or Chickens first, then high-roller moves his or her family members. Ties resolve the same as current (previous low-roller moves only Spectators or Chickens, previous high-roller does nothing).(R,B)
  6. In a tie, both players may move Spectators or Chickens (previous lowest roller moves first).(B)
  7. A family member or Spectator may trample same-size-or-smaller pyramids.(B)

Comments from Cerulean[edit source]

The best thing about this game is the turn order/initiative roll at the beginning. It broke up the predictability of turn order, helped avoid turns with too few movement points, and made things seem to happen simultaneously. Kudos on this mechanic! I liked it so much I might apply it to some of my own designs.

I also thank you for the well-written rules. Just about every question I had in the learning process was addressed already. I did not detect any holes or omissions. Nice work!

I did have to draw my own 5x9 board, which was easy to do and didn't deter me from playing this.

I played two games against my wife, and they both went almost the exact same way. The large 'mids raced for the middle chicken, which moved one square in either direction. Once it was captured, the smalls sprinted for the small chicken, which didn't move. The winner was determined by whoever got to the medium chicken first, which didn't move much, being boxed in by the large chicken and the spectators. Both games were over by the seventh turn. In neither game did a pyramid get trampled.

My wife says Chicken Run has potential, but needs more interaction from the spectators and ways to confront a capture.

First thing I noticed was how little the spectators moved. If I won the roll-off, I moved my family towards the chickens, my only good option. If I had to move chickens/spectators, my obvious choice was to move the chickens towards my family, thus helping me and hurting my opponent. If I couldn't move a chicken, only then did I move a spectator, using it as a blocker. Between the rare opportunities to move spectators and the much better movement options at those times, I didn't utilize the spectators if I had any other options and felt they only prevented the chickens from moving sideways.

If I understand the rules correctly, there's no way to take a capture away from another player. Once they're on a chicken, there's nothing that can be done about it. What this game badly needs is some way to tackle a family member off of a chicken, or to have a chicken squirm free from its captor's grasp. This would make better use of the spectators and add dramatic tension to what otherwise felt like a scripted game.

I have a suggestion to get the spectators moving around more often. In the roll-off, each player rolls a die. FIRST the player with the lower roll uses those points to move chickens/spectators, THEN the player with the higher roll moves their family. Break ties by previous turn usage, like you are currently doing.

I'm curious about why the families and chickens are restricted to the 3x9 area. Why did this rule come about? I think the family members and chickens should be able to enter the spectator rows. It fits the theme better, and it's amusing to think of yokels stomping around in the grandstands chasing an errant fowl, hopping from head to head. Plus it gives more player options; that's a good thing!

Don't give up on this design, David. - Cerulean 11:34, 20 February 2008 (EST)

Comments[edit source]


One strategy that came to mind is to move the large spectators on either side on the opponent's half of the field one square in as soon as possible. This, if successful, builds a wall of large pieces that prevents the opponent from capturing the small and medium pieces until and unless a tie is rolled during initiative to move the spectators away.
  • Spectators can only be moved during a tied initiative
  • Smaller family pieces can not trample larger pieces (spectators or chickens)
This seemed to give whomever tied the initiative first with a three or better result a significant advantage. If successful in moving both spectators, the opponent must then hope for a tied initiative to a) remove the spectators or b) move the large chicken further from him/her to get quicker access to the small/medium chickens

David Artman Responds[edit source]

First, yes, I noticed the Blockade Problem but couldn't figure a way out of it other than to trust the dice to distribute wins on those 50-50 conditions. Yes, a weak deferral of the problem. Really, the whole notion of the simultaneous rolls lead to the issue of dealing with ties lead to the addition of Spectators and their movement rules--it all sort of emerged from the basic die mechanic. So maybe I could change trample Rule to allow a family member or spectator to trample same-size-or-smaller pyramids, not just smaller?

Second, I am surprised to hear that the Small Chicken didn't more much: it should be the one most likely to sprint nearer the family, the better to be Capped by the small family member once it is out from under the medium and large.

Third, I keep the chickens and families on the field because, well, it's a playing field. Arbitrary, basically. We could see what happens if the whole grid is accessible by any pyramid.

Fourth, what if a team had to capture all chickens to win? One would have to have a tackle rule, to avoid stalemates... OR NO! One could have a rule that all movement points must be used! That latter rule--much like in Martian Frisbee--would create some "forced unCapping" situation, as (say) a roll of 2 (versus 1) would mean the medium family member HAS to move one square or the small HAS to move two squares, if possible. If no move is possible, either (a) the turn would be nulled (both sides roll again) or (b) the winning roll player may move spectators, or (c) the winning-roll player may re-roll his or her die (repeat until a valid move is possible). Of course, there could come a time when NO valid move is ever possible (i.e. any roll 2 to 6 makes for invalid family moves: a "Trap") and, thus, option B is probably the way to go. It would also let the spectators move more, mostly during endgame... which sort of fits the tone of them getting more liquored up and wanting to bash the family that's making Traps.

Fifth, I considered the notion of making Spectators (in the 2HOUSE version) families as well, and adding a rule that spectators may not trample their own family members. Then I figured this would wither (a) not have much impact really or (b) would just jam up the playing field with pieces that can't trample each other. I reject the basic idea because of that, but I could reconsider/retest with that in place.

So does anyone have other ideas, or have an opinion about mine above?

Doug Orleans[edit source]

On Thu, Mar 20, 2008 at 3:56 AM, Doug Orleans <> wrote:

Chicken Run - 2. This game is similar to Timelock (and backgammon), but it has the same problem: higher rolls are always better. In fact, you only get to move at all if you roll higher than your opponent, which makes it boil down to a series of dice-offs, rather like War [5]. The only interaction comes from moving neutral pyramids to block your opponent or unblock yourself, but they can only be moved if both players roll the same number, which only happens one sixth of the time on average. This means they play a very small part in the game, and in fact the first time I played I think we only got matching rolls once before the game was over. I won't go so far as to say this game is broken, but it would need some significant changes before it would really work.

Thanks for the feedback, Doug. ... I invite you to expand upon it with a suggestion or two as to what would reduce the "dice-off" aspect and amplify the strategy. I'll confess that the core notion of the game began with opposed dice, but perhaps a simple change would work: BOTH players are allowed to move, whatever they roll, and the ties let each player move a Spectator or Chicken. The highest roller moves first; and in a tie, the lower roller in the previous un-tied roll moves first. I'll noodle around with a few other options. --David Artman 10:36, 20 March 2008 (EDT)

Resolved[edit source]

Suggested clarification on first turns[edit source]

"The results are identical values - This round is the round to act for whichever player least recently had a round to act (i.e. if Black acted on the previous round, then White gets this round to act; and vice versa)."

I'd append "If the results are identical on the first round of the game, roll again." just to make things utterly clear. Firedrake 05:11, 8 November 2007 (EST)

Yep, I thought of that last night, as I was explaining it to someone. Thanks for noticing/reminding! --David Artman 07:54, 8 November 2007 (EST)