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UMass women’s basketball falls to North Dakota 82-52 -

November 22, 2017

Home-and-home with Quinnipiac up next for UMass hockey -

November 22, 2017

Carl Pierre’s breakout performance helps UMass men’s basketball over Western Carolina -

November 22, 2017

Pipkins’ double-double leads UMass men’s basketball over Western Carolina -

November 21, 2017

Luwane Pipkins leads the UMass men’s basketball shooting show in 101-76 win over Niagara -

November 19, 2017

UMass to face tough test with Niagara backcourt -

November 19, 2017

Hockey Notebook: John Leonard on an early season tear for UMass hockey -

November 18, 2017

Clock runs out on UMass men’s soccer’s dream season in NCAA opener -

November 17, 2017

2017 Basketball Special Issue -

November 16, 2017

UMass men’s basketball prepares for transitional season in 2017-18 -

November 16, 2017

Author Viet Thanh Nguyen discusses how history and humanity is remembered -

November 16, 2017

CMASS completes seven-week discussion series -

November 16, 2017

UMass women’s basketball resets and reloads, looking to improve on last year’s record with plenty of new talent -

November 16, 2017

Matt McCall’s winding path to bring unity to UMass -

November 16, 2017

Carl Pierre is a piece to Matt McCall’s basketball program -

November 16, 2017

Why they stayed: Malik Hines, Chris Baldwin and C.J. Anderson -

November 16, 2017

McConnell chooses politics over morals -

November 16, 2017

Swipe right for love? Probably not. -

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‘The Florida Project’ is a monument to the other side of paradise -

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‘Thor: Ragnarok’ doesn’t have to be the best Marvel movie -

November 16, 2017

My Incredible Flickin’ Chicken

The game of Bocce has existed since around 5,000 B.C. There have been hieroglyphics and other ancient drawings found showing people playing what appears to be the same game dating back even farther. The rules haven’t changed much since then, and Bocce remains a relatively popular, leisurely game.

It takes between two and four players to get a game going, or two teams each consisting of four people. You play by first throwing a small ball called a “pallino.” Then each player throws their larger ball in an attempt to make it land as close to the pallino as possible. The player whose ball lands the closest gets four points, the player whose ball was next gets three points, and so on. Games are typically played until one player or team has reached 12 points.

Bocce originated around Rome and is traditionally played on a court that is roughly 85 feet long and 11 feet wide, not unlike a lane in bowling. Not everyone who plays Bocce plays it on a court, though. Those who are playing strictly for fun, instead of in an official setting, prefer to skip the court in favor of their backyard, local park, or sometimes even their living room. The Haywire Group has a version of the game for just that type of unorthodox player.

Flickin’ Chicken is an intriguing interpretation of Bocce. Instead of throwing a smaller ball as a pallino first and using it as a target for larger ones, you throw a colorful frisbee and use it as a target for four differently-colored rubber chickens.

While the idea of playing Bocce with rubber chickens sounds absurd and, frankly, a little stupid, the game is almost surprisingly fun. The texture of the chickens in your hand is awkward, inciting an uncomfortable laugh. There is an odd satisfaction to throwing them, though, and it is hard to not have fun playing the game.

The chickens, in addition to being innately fun to throw, present a new challenge to the game. They bounce in random directions each time they hit the ground, making it increasingly difficult to hit the pallino. Each chicken has a small pocket of air within them which causes them to bounce (and makes them fun to squeeze).

The frisbee also adds a new twist to the game. On one side of the frisbee is a “plus one” and on the other a “minus one,” an additional reward or penalty for your score, respectively. The new spin on the pallino makes the game more interesting for modern players, especially for longtime Bocce fans.

Flickin’ Chicken can be played in any setting, which is part of what makes it more fun than a normal game of Bocce. Playing indoors adds obstacles in the form of furniture. Playing outside allows for a virtually unlimited game zone.

The game is not marketed towards any one age group but rather towards several, which is appropriate because any person of any age can easily enjoy it. The design on the box depicts an animated group of friends, one of whom is angelically tossing a cartoon chicken. It is child-friendly, but could easily be interpreted as a group of older teenagers or college students. In one of Flickin’ Chicken’s press videos, the game is being played by four clearly college-aged students, each one holding a red plastic cup. (That being said, it would be simple and amusing to turn it into a drinking game.) Although the latter marketing tactic isn’t exactly child-friendly, it’s more of a child’s game than an adult’s game. The kid in you will love Flickin’ Chicken.

Though the concept seems a little silly, Flickin’ Chicken is a great game whether it’s being played at a sixth birthday or not. It is available through the Haywire Group online and other stores.

Ellie Rulon-Miller can be reached at erulonmi@student.umass.edu.

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