This was a game I thought up to entertain children during a medieval theme day. The clockwork chickens hop along and do battle knocking over their rivals. The game looks medieval and children love the fun of it.
To make a pecking chicken game you need...
7 wooden dolly heads or other wooden balls,
Oddments of colourful fabric and thin ribbon for the bunting.
You will also need 5 or 6 wind up chickens that hop about, a bag of plastic gold coins and the Game Rules, that you can download at the link at the bottom.
First cut out a big circle of MDF wood for the arena. The size of this circle will determined how big the arena will be. Make sure that all of your clock work chickens will fit onto it at the same time. My arena 39 cm in diameter.
Cut out another circle inside this circle to create a hoop shaped border. The border should be about 5 cm wide all the way around. Sand all the edges after cutting.
Take the hardboard and cut out a circle 39 cm in diameter to sit on top of the hoop. Glue in to place and sand edges off so that it’s all flush.
When the glue has dried, you need to shape the hardboard slightly so that it is bowl shaped so the chickens always hop towards one another. With the hard board on top soak the arena and put something heavy (I used a brick) in the centre of the wood and leave for a day. If you leave it out side it will dry naturally and develop a slight dip. You can check to see if it has done the trick with a marble, if the marble rolls to the centre that’s perfect, if not repeat the process.
You need to 8 drill holes through the hard board and the hoop for the doweling. I used 15 mm doweling, so my holes required a 15 mm wood drill bit. When measuring where the holes should go, use a protractor and place them 45 degrees apart. Drill the holes and tidy them up with a light sanding.
Cutting the doweling – You need 5 long lengths that go through the arena; these are about 40cm long. And you will need 3 short lengths for the legs at the front edge, these are about 7 cm long.
First, apply some wood glue to a hole and push a short length through so that the top of the dowel is flush with the top of the arena. Then add the other two short lengths in adjacent holes. You may need to sand the tops of the doweling.
The bigger poles need pushing through to with a ‘leg’ left at the bottom which is about the same height as the short doweling. This raises the arena off from the floor. Glue the tall poles into position.
Undercoat the arena and then paint in bright colours. You also need to paint the wooden dolly heads. I found them easier to paint after I had pushed them onto a few wooden skewers; I then stood the skewers in a mug. 5 beads need painting in a contrasting colour to the poles, and the other 2 need to be the same colour as the poles.
Whilst you are waiting for the paint to dry, you can make a start on the bunting. Cut our some triangles of material from brightly coloured fabric. Make the triangles elongated to make them look medieval. My triangles are 4cm by 9cm. Sew a zigzag stitch with a sewing machine around the edges of the triangles to prevent fraying. I used 12 triangles.
Next you need to sew the triangles onto the ribbon to create the bunting. Measure 30 cm and then sew on the first triangle, leave a 4 cm gap and then sew on the next triangle, this is for the slopped start to the bunting. The rule of thumb is that you need to leave about 6 cm of ribbon to pass by a pole and then a 1.5 cm gap between the two triangles that hand between poles. This gives the bunting a nice swag. You need to sew 4 sets of triangle sin pairs, and then leave 6 cm and then add a triangle, leave 4 cm leave a triangle and then leave 30 cm of ribbon before cutting.
Put a blob of glue on the top of each post, and attach the bunting with the ribbon tops at the back. The ribbon should sag slightly between poles. Once the ribbon is in place stick a contrasting dolly bead on the top of the pole to finish it off. Wipe off any excess glue. At the two ends of the bunting, glue or staple the ribbon to the arena floor half way between the last pole and the first leg. Cut off excess ribbon and glue a pole coloured dolly head on the ribbon end.
If your dolly heads have holes in them as mine did, you will need to fill the holes with wood filler, sand flush and paint. This also gives you the opportunity to touch up on the paint in other places.
Your pecking chicken game is now complete, you just need to print of the rules, I framed the rules in an inexpensive gold looking frame. And you need to stick coloured pompoms to the tops of the chicken’s heads so that you can tell them apart.