Written by Ben Reingold
This story begins at Kenyon College in the fall of 2019, my senior year. I was sitting in my Game Theory class, and the day’s topic sparked a vivid and exciting idea for a board game. I furiously scribbled everything I could think of and resolved to pursue this idea as far as I could. (If you’re interested in the Game Theory topic, check out this page.)
Over winter break, my creative impulses returned and my idea became a fully fledged board game! Tentatively named “Chicken Mountain,” I couldn’t wait to try the game with friends.
On the evening of Friday, January 3rd, I invited my friends Meryl, Justine, and Lindsay over to play. We had a blast! Meryl and Justine (twins) told their parents about my game, and their father Kerry invited me over to play the next evening. Six of us played that night, and we had just as much fun. There was drama of promises kept or abandoned, laughter about the Chicken Trick cards, and suspense of risky rolls of the die.
After our game, Kerry invited me to meet for coffee the following afternoon, Sunday, January 5th. At that coffee meeting, Kerry offered to start a business partnership with me. For a partial stake, Kerry would invest the necessary funds to publish my game (at that time still “Chicken Mountain”) and sell it to the world. The board game business was a new adventure for me, still a college senior, and for Kerry, a retired investment banker. I knew then that Kerry’s offer would change my life, and I couldn’t wait to get started.
Before heading back to school, I had brunch with the Rudy twins at Walker Brothers Pancake House, and it was there that we all agreed: “Risky Chicken” it is!
The next few months were chock full of playtests at Kenyon, led by me, and in Boston, led by Meryl. I was so lucky to have enthusiastic, witty, and creative friends to help me fine-tune Risky Chicken. We played time after time, testing new rules and evaluating what worked best. Risky Chicken would not be what it is today without so many great playtesters.
When the world stopped in March 2020, the board game development process continued. We thankfully had around 60 playtests under our belt by then, and I hosted more virtual playtests into the summer.
As we made finishing touches over the summer months, I worked with our talented illustrator and designer, Lawrence Christmas, to bring the game to life. His creativity and craft “wowed” us repeatedly, and you can see just how awesome our art and design turned out! We’ve also produced hats for charity, filmed some great video advertisements, and even ordered a cardboard cutout of Independent Chicken. (You can check out Independent Chicken’s travels on Instagram.)
We hope that you'll consider ordering a game to join the fun. We can’t wait to hear your feedback, and we hope you love Risky Chicken as much as we do. Thank you for your support, and enjoy Risky Chicken!