One of life’s greatest questions, “Why did the chicken cross the road?”, has finally been answered. It’s not because it wanted to get to the other side, nor was it because Leonard Nimoy was participating in a book signing at the library across the street. No, friends…it’s because “Frogger” hadn’t been invented yet. (BA-DUM-CHH!) Thank you, thank you…no autographs please!
In “WHY?!”, players will be trying to get their chickens across the road while avoiding traffic in the process. Before we start with the rubber chicken jokes, I’d like to thank Stephanie Marroquin from Victory Point Games for sending me a free copy of “WHY?!” to review. I also want to add that she has been a pleasure to do business with over these last few weeks…she definately has made my experience with Victory Point Games a positive one.
Map – The playing field resembles a main stretch of road with a sidewalk as the starting location.
Tokens – There are chicken and car tokens that will be moved around the map as play progresses.
Event Cards – Event cards instruct players as to how many new cars spawn, as well as how many spaces existing cars move. When playing solo, the “chicken moves” section of the card tells the player how many chickens they may move, though when playing with others, it is ignored.
Die – A six-sided die determines in which lane new cars spawn. The manual states that the die does not come included in the game, more on that later.
Setup & Gameplay
The event cards and the car tiles are shuffled separately, face down. Three event cards are drawn and the cars are resolved appropriately, more on that in a bit. Each player receives a chicken or a group of chickens, depending on how many players there are. A solo player gets five chickens, two players get two chickens each, and three through five players get one chicken each. They are placed evenly on the “START” spaces.
On a player’s turn, they will perform the following actions:
1) Draw Event Card – The current player draws an event card.
2) Move Cars – The event card will list how the “slow” and “fast” cars move under “car movement.” The number of cars shown for each represents how many spaces each car moves. It’s important to remember that cars should always have one space between them if they are in the same lane.
3) Roll For Traffic – The event card will tell players how many times a die is rolled under the “traffic rolls” section. Each number on the die represents a lane…when a particular number is rolled, a car spawns just outside the starting space of the lane. Cars that spawn follow the same “one space between each other” rule and cannot spawn on top of or directly behind another car.
4) Move Chickens – Chickens can move one space up or down and up to two spaces left or right. When playing solo, the “chicken moves’ section of the event card tells the player how many chickens they are allowed to move on that turn. When playing with others, ALL players move their chickens in turn, starting with the player who drew the event card.
Chickens permanently die when hit by a car while playing solo and respawn back to “START” when playing with others. Whoever gets all of their chickens to the other side first wins!
The above is simply an overview of the game. If you’d like to learn more, then please check out the manual here:
Editor’s Note: The manual I received with the game has slightly different rules in regards to car movement. The online manual says that cars will either move at “high-speed”,”normal speed”, or “low-speed” as indicated on the event card. My manual and event cards simply show pictures of both “fast” and “slow” vehicles and how many spaces to move them. I assume the change was made in my version to make vehicle movement less confusing.
Having grown up with the Atari 2600, I am no stranger to games like “Frogger”. WHY?! turns Frogger from a solo experience into a multi-player game that is still easy to play. Playing the game solo is still a viable option, so when my eleven year old complains that he is bored, I can yell maniacally, “RELEASE THE CHICKENS!” and hope to the Lords of Kobol that he doesn’t follow my directions literally. Seeing as I don’t own a farm, I should be okay so as long as I don’t see any miscellaneous eBay purchases come through my PayPal account.
The manual mentions that no dice are included in the game, however a micro-die was included as a “gift.” My failing eyes don’t agree with it and I found it to be unusable, meaning that others may too. The kids were able to use the die, but disliked its small size. While I understand why no regular dice are included in VP games (I’m told that they would damage the cardboard components during shipping), I’m still a bit disappointed. I was also told that boxed versions are in the works which would help fix that problem. In the meantime, I hope that they are able to come up with ways to include regular dice in their games.
Vinnie (11) had a lot of fun with the chickens, and no, not from the ones he purchased off of eBay. He was actively trying to plan his route to the other side of the board based on the location of the cars. There is a bit of luck involved as we didn’t know how the cars would move every turn, so I ended up playing as conservatively as possible. This robbed me of potentially pulling ahead and possibly not having to share the win, but that is the risk (and fun) that comes with playing games with a random chance element. Anthony (16) seemed to enjoy the experience as well, even though the game really wasn’t challenging him much. He was just having a good time and being his usual social self, which makes casual games like this really shine.
Overall, “WHY?!” is a fun diversion that would mostly appeal to younger kids. It’s quick and easy to play and good for when you’re not in the mood for an hour-long play session. People going into this expecting a strategy-heavy chicken management simulator will be disappointed, but those who treat it as a light, casual game for kids will find it more appealing.
Final Verdict: 5/10
You can find more information on “WHY?!” by visiting the Victory Point Games website or on Board Game Geek, located here:
In regards to the flak that I’ve received regarding the dice issue:
In my opinion (I hope that I’ve emphasized that enough), a product should contain all of the components necessary for its use, and it should not be up to the paying consumer to make up for a company’s inability to package their materials. I was told by a few different people (VP reps included), and I’m paraphrasing, that ALL of the gamers they know have extra dice lying around their house. I suppose by that same token then, one could assume that ALL of the gamers that I know have coke bottle glasses too, along with a crippling Mountain Dew addiction? Of course they don’t. I don’t own extra dice, because every game that I’ve ever purchased contained the components necessary for its use. Individuals will have to decide for themselves if this really is an issue. I’m simply fulfilling my obligation to inform potential buyers of what they’re getting for their money, regardless of how unpopular that ends up being. Thank you.