As the plate hits the table, the smell of bacon and fresh farm eggs greet the farmers nose; there is a sudden crash. All he can hear is the chickens in the coop going crazy. ‘dam foxes’ he says to his wife as he gets up from the table and grabs a piece of bacon. As he walks leisurely to the back door he grabs ‘Ruby,’ she looks old and tired, but that 12 gauge will ‘get her done’ as Granny used to say. He yells back to his wife as he exits the back door, ‘we will either have a dead fox or a batch of your famous Kung Pao Chicken!’
Kung Pao Chicken is played over three rounds. In each round, players are either a fox or a chicken, but they don’t know which one. Instead, they know who everyone else is. Through card play, players deduce which team they are on and take actions to help their team win. At the end of each round, players score 2 victory points (VP) if they correctly guess their identity and additional VP for capturing or saving chickens as a team.
- Place the Grassland in the center of the table, using the correct side based on the number of players. If using the double-fox side, remove one Chicken from the deck.
- Place the Score Card on the side of the table. Place a token for each player on the zero space.
- Deal a Barn Card to each player.
- Pick a foxy-looking player to begin
PREPARE SECRET IDENTITY CARDS
- Set the number of chicken and fox cards based on the number of players. The doublefox card is not used in this setup.
- Deal one card face down to each player. Players MUST NOT look at this card. A player’s identify is not known to them.
- Shuffle the remaining cards with the rest of the regular deck and put it in the center of the table.
LOOK AT EVERYONE ELSE’S SECRET IDENTITY
All players simultaneously place their secret identify card on their foreheads, with the animal side facing the other players. Player should view the cards of other players, but not their own. Next, players remove it from their head and place it under their barn.
Players can ask others to put their cards back up on their forehead to check their identity at any time.
DEAL CARDS TO PLAYERS
- Deal an equal number of cards face down to each player from game deck. Players can always look at the cards they receive, but they cannot show or share any information about them with other players.
DEAL CARDS TO GRASSLAND
- Deal remaining card(s) face up to the Grassland
Each round has five phases, which are also explained on the Round Sequence card.
PHASE 1: SIMULTANEOUSLY PASS CARDS FACE DOWN TO YOUR NEIGHBOR
In rounds one and three, all players simultaneously pass a card to the player on the left. In round two, pass to the right. Do this twice. When passing the first card, players add the card they received to their hand then pass any card in hand again.
PHASE 2: PLAY CARDS FACE DOWN TO ANY LOCATION
- Beginning with the starting player, each player plays one card face down to any location, including the player’s own barn. In rounds one and three, take a turn proceeding in clockwise order. In round two, take it in counter-clockwise order.
- Immediately after playing a card, the player may reveal one of the previously played face down cards in the same location. If the revealed card is a fox or double fox, the player may move the fox card to any location that doesn’t have a hound. The fox remains face up.
- Players continue to play cards until they have all placed on barns or the Grassland.
PHASE 3: SIMULTANEOUSLY GUESS WHO YOU ARE
- How? ALL players close their eyes and strike a pose showing which animal they think they are. While holding the pose, have a player count to five. Then ALL players open their eyes.
- All players reveal their identity card and place it in the barn that is in front of them.
- Players who guessed their identity correctly receive 2 victory points (VP) and adjust their score token accordingly.
PHASE 4 CHASE FOX AWAY
- Reveal all face down cards in all locations.
- Resolve foxes in each location (including player’s identity fox card) by removing equal number of hounds and foxes in each barn.
PHASE 5: MEET THE ROUND OBJECTIVE . SCORE POINTS
- Count ALL chickens in locations containing at least one fox. Those chickens are captured by the foxes. Each fox player receives 1VP for each chicken captured.
- Then count ALL chickens in locations containing no foxes. Those chickens survived. Each chicken player receives 1 VP for each chicken survived.
- All players adjust their score token accordingly.
Round End / Game End
If this is the first or second round, begin a new round. The player with the highest score will be the new starting player. In the event of a tie, the player who sits closest to the current starting player in a clockwise direction is the new starting player.
If this is the third round, the game ends. The player with most points wins the game. In the event of a tie, players share the victory.
Kung Pao chicken is a little family and social game, that offers quite a bit more that it appears. It starts off and you think this is just a reskinned celebrity heads, but you have to figure out your secret identity by what the others have. You also have to remember who has the certain roles and when you figure out yours, they become your team. The best way to explain it, is it is a mix of Celebrity Head and Two Rooms and a Boom.
Truth be told, I put me hand up for this game mostly because of the name, Kung Pao Chicken. It is amazing and makes me hungry ever time I play it. Like most games, I normally have a group of friends or an occasion picked out before getting the game. With Kung Pao Chicken, I wasn’t entirely sure; as there were several groups I thought would enjoy this. As it turned out, I got invited to a last minute Christmas night dinner with a couple of friends and they asked me to bring a few games that would be good for beginners.
The 4 of us sat down to a lovely meal and some Kung Pao Chicken. They have only discovered a love for Boardgames this year; funnily enough they both brought each other one for Christmas. We sat down and I explained the rules, as you can see above they are quite lengthy. Once you actually sit down to play through, you will find that it I more a case of over explanation rather than a over complicated game.
My only real complaint about this game is the art. You know I love the art of games and normally rubble on about it way too much. I quite like the art style they chose for this game, a sort of abstracted style but the cards are literally a hound, chicken, barn or a fox. Nothing else, just plan white cards (or in some cases light yellow) with a small abstract character in the center, no bigger than a 10 cent piece. I would have loved to see either a small scene for each character in the background or at least the whole animal with even just a colorful background.
Overall, Kung Pao Chicken is a light, fun game, that would be great in a family setting or for beginner gamers. The games are quick, the memory elements are fun and the turn to team vs team once you have guessed was a lovely touch.
If you are after a light, quick game sparkled with a little bit of team v team, then check out Kung Pao Chicken Kickstarter here.