In another of our regular board game spotlights, Zatu Games knocks back a tall frosty one at 10am, despite what Jasmine’s been saying. It just feels right, almost as right as The Hen Commandments, the 2015 release from publisher Terrorbull Games and designer Andrew Sheerin.
Which came first, the hen-based theme or the winning pun? Had history played out differently, maybe we’d all be sitting down to macho-religious fusion game ‘The Men Commandments’, Chinese businessman’s daily planner ‘The Chen Commandments’, or passive-aggressive temporal confusion ‘The When Commandments’. But here we are.
The Hen Commandments is a party game that casts players as followers of poultry messiah ‘the Holy Chicken’. She’s pulled an Exodus and provided a series of commandments to Her followers, the difference being that Hers are birthed out on eggs, a messaging method for which the Christian God presumably lacks a necessary orifice.
The commandments are codified, and devout players must do their best to demystify the word of the almighty, and to convince other players that their interpretation is the correct one.
Gameplay itself comprises several phases. First, the big HC lays six random eggs, each with a word on them. These form Her commandment. Players must then select from an array of virtue cards, selecting the virtue that they feel is best encapsulated by the commandment. They reveal their cards, and all those who have chosen uniquely must defend their choice. With words.
Players whose virtues were also chosen by others then become judges, and vote on which of the speakers gave the most compelling sermon. The winning speaker gets two points, represented in this case by corn. A tie gives each speaker one point.
After a thematically appropriate ten rounds, the one with the most corn wins, which is also true of famine.
Terrorbull Games is a UK based board game publisher founded in 2005. They pride themselves on making board games that tackle big important issues whilst maintaining an air of the ridiculous. Essentially, they have re-purposed satire into a playable form.
We are fans of their attitude here at Zatu, just take a look at their mission statement:
"We're on a mission to radicalise the board game. Why should films, books and art change the world, but board games be confined to trading sheep and amassing 'victory points'."
Other titles in their collection include the infamous War on Terror game, a strategic game of global domination liberation. Terrorbull games describe the game an unholy alliance between Risk, Monopoly, Diplomacy, Settlers of Catan and Poker!
Other top titles in their arsenal include Crunch: The Game For Utter Bankers, Pandora's Box and Ewe of the Falklands.
Andrew Sheerin is the founding director of Terrorbull. He is best known for War on Terror, a game in which players take on the roles of either empires or terrorists in a bid to control the world.
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If you’ve always wished religion was more galline, then you need to buy this game from Zatu!