Oct 282010
 

The Basics:

  • For ages 3 & up
  • For 2 to 4 players
  • Approximately 15 to 30 minutes to complete

Geek Skills:

  • Active Listening & Communication
  • Emotional Coping (when you’re losing)
  • Color Matching

Learning Curve:

  • Child – Easy
  • Adult – Easy

Theme & Narrative:

  • Journey through a land of candy to find the lost King.

Endorsements:

  • Gamer Geek rejected!
  • Parent  Geek approved!
  • Child Geek approved!

Overview

The classic game of Candy Land hardly even needs an explanation. Players choose a colored gingerbread man piece and move along a multi-colored path towards the game-winning objective of Candy Castle, where you find the lost king of Candy Land. Along the way, you might get to visit special locations like Gum Drop Mountain, and Candy Cane Forest, or you might get to meet special characters such as Princess Frostine and Gramma Nutt.

Movement is very simple. Draw a card and move to the next colored space that matches it. Some cards have 2 colored squares, which means you get to move twice. Some spaces have a licorice symbol and cause you to lose a turn, and to really mix things up, there is a special card for each of the special locations that causes you to teleport to that location.

Here is where it gets tricky. I actually read the rules for this (yeah, I know… why bother?) and did any of you know that Candy Land has both a basic and an advanced version? Really? That floored me. In the version for younger kids, one gets to ignore the teleport if it sends you backwards along the path. Phew!! My three-year old loves that rule.

This prompted me to do a little research–now you know what type of person I am that would actually research Candy Land–on some things that were tickling my memory as being changed. In 2004, the latest iteration was changed to make it even more kid friendly. Differences from the original are of note:

  • I already mentioned the easier teleport option.
  • Three colored spaces that had a dot were replaced with a licorice symbol. The classic game had you stop there until you drew a card on your turn that matched the color of the space. The new licorice space just has you lose a turn as you chow down on cherry licorice goodness.
  • The final space on the board officially changed to a rainbow space, such that any color draw will win the game. The classic version had a specific color that you had to draw, although most played with a house rule that said that you could treat it as a rainbow.
  • Various locations, and characters had a name change.

The end result of all this is that the game is even quicker to play and will show a kid continual progress toward the goal. It’s kind of like in Tee-ball where you can no longer get anybody out at first base, even in the rare case where the defenders actually performed an out correctly.

Final Word

This is one of the few games that can be pulled out for young kids. My oldest is 3 years old and he loves playing this with me. It offers the opportunity to teach very basic gaming principles like taking turns and following a basic set of rules. It’s taken me the past 6 months of playing off and on before he finally accepted the concept that we had to take turns moving along the path rather than just skipping to the end. Finally, it’s also short enough to hold the attention span needed to complete the objective.

As a teaching tool, it does help teach colors. This is something 3-year-old children are still picking up early, and later in the year, often have grasped fully.

The game board is colorful, and has colorful characters. This is the type of thing that all kids like visually. As in other articles you find on this web site like Word to the Wise or The Importance of Play, the real fun comes when you make an effort to create that fun. Exciting moments are boiled down to simple things like drawing the same color that Daddy just drew, or hitting on one of those special pink cards.

Chase, my son, always feels bad when his piece is ahead of me, “You have to catch up, Daddy”, because he truly wants the game to be a shared social experience.

Brian

Euro Board Game Aficionado, and Father of Two, Brian played many family board games while growing up, but launched a foray into real geek gaming in 4th grade with his exposure to Risk, and then many sessions of Axis & Allies. Gaming in all forms has always been woven into his life with different phases including: video games starting with the Atari 2600, role playing Marvel Super Heroes, launching massive Battletech scenarios, blowing his small amount of bank on Magic: The Gathering, and then finally strategy board games. Settlers of Catan (1997) was his first introduction to the Euro-style game, and he has since been forever hooked. He embarked on a new stage of life in late 2006 with the birth of his first of two boys, and now cherishes the opportunity to learn the game of parenting. His desire is to raise two respectable men who still want to play a game with daddy even when they are father geeks themselves. Brian goes by the handle Vree on Board Game Geek.

  24 Responses to “Candy Land Game Review”

  1. As a child, I spent hours playing CandyLand with my sisters. :) My children all loved it too. It’s the one game I can’t clean out of the game closet. Good review of a great family game! :) Larri at Seams Inspired

  2. I couldn’t agree more, Larri.

    Candy Land continues to be a family favorite. Who knew that a game about moving gingerbread men on a trail through some of the most cavity infested lands in the candy realm would have such longevity?

    Many thanks to Brian, a new contributor at Father Geek, for an outstanding article on a timeless classic. We look forward to more greatness.

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  4. Love playing this game with my niece and nephew also! Great review, Brian! Auntie Geek approved as well…haha! “Sorry” is another favorite for us…looking forward to a review of that game!

  5. Having just played this game again with my two oldest (6 and 3), I know for certain the game is going to have a very short shelf life in our family. My sons just weren’t at all interested in it. Too easy and too much hand holding by the game (i.e., the players didn’t have to make any decisions).

    Still, I imagine the kids will want to play it from time to time with their friends.

  6. [...] kids absolutely love playing this game.  It is the 2nd most requested title in our household (Candy Land gets the #1 spot) and for good reason, as it is right up their alley.  It has a large colorful [...]

  7. [...] game is fast, fun, and is vastly superior to Candy Land. In fact, it has replaced Candy Land in my house. I couldn’t be happier. There is also enough [...]

  8. [...] game is not Candy Land. The path in which the player chooses to take to the objective is not clear, can drastically [...]

  9. Yeah, this is pretty much the worst possible game to play with young children. It teaches them that reward and punishment is merely a product of chance. It’s basically gambling for 3 year olds. Instead, teach your kids something like othello. There are dozens of simple games appropriate for young kids that will teach critical thinking skills and actually prepare them for life, as opposed to preparing them to be a victim of circumstance.

  10. [...] He does not want me to lose and feel bad, so when he is winning he tries to get me to catch up on Candy Land. The compromise I have settled on here is that we’ll keep playing until everybody gets to [...]

  11. [...] your little geek is up to the task. In other words, if your little geek is still working through Candy Land, give Good Help a miss for now. The game will challenge you and your little geek to keep track of [...]

  12. [...] and critical thinking. This has allowed me to steadily introduce more challenging games and place Candy Land on the top shelf much sooner than your average geek parent. Oddly enough, Hungry Hungry Hippos is [...]

  13. [...] this game, but Meteor is one of those games you work up to. For example, you don’t jump from Candy Land to Axis [...]

  14. [...] games, like my all time favorite, Candy  Land (please note the sarcasm), lets even the most burned out of gamers sit down and play the game. The [...]

  15. [...] jogging a few feet. The same could be said about board games. Long gone are my days of playing Candy Land, but not before I played many, many games with mixed [...]

  16. [...] for the record, it doesn’t matter how cool the data analysis for Candy Land is. The game is still not epic. Share the goodness! You might also be interested [...]

  17. [...] once in a while. My own 5-year-old (who is more of a gamer than my 8-year-old) still pulls out Candy Land and Chutes & Ladders pretty frequently. I used to dread it; but, like you, I’d bite the bullet [...]

  18. [...] to). The game played easily for them, but they didn’t walk away feeling like they played Candy Land. Indeed, the difficulty of this game increases based on the player’s ability, as it is the [...]

  19. [...] be frank. Hirelings is Candy Land if Candy Land was set in a classic fantasy role-playing world. I have no doubt it will highly [...]

  20. [...] has come so far from his days of being confused by Candy Land. So proud….(*sniff-sniff*). Let’s play the game and see if it makes for an excellent [...]

  21. [...] if nothing else was available. One Gamer Geek said he was going to look into replacing his copy of Candy Land with ZombieZone. I imagine his little geeks will have nightmares in the [...]

  22. [...] Candy Land - This continues to see play in our household. We still play with the “kid” rules where we do not go backwards. I think this is a mercy rule for the parents. Kids love colors…. and candy. [...]

  23. [...] also believe the more hardcore wargamers I play it with will scoff at it and suggest it is the Candy Land version of a wargame. Not because Swords & Heroes is stupidly simple (because it most [...]

  24. […] And finally, another Gamer Geek said rather authoritatively, “Any game I can play other than Candy Land with my kids is an AWESOME game.” Battle Sheep received mixed reviews from the gaming […]

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