Family Staples – Candy Land – A terrible game, but the kids love it!

In this new kind of review I’m going to talk about games I play with the family. They are usually not games I would choose for myself or my “grownups” gaming group (there are exceptions), but instead that our family plays together. Typically with a cup of hot cocoa and some cookies 🙂

At the time of this writing, our kids are ages 10, 7, and 5 respectively. They all have different expectations for theme, gameplay, and replayability of board games, and it’s always interesting to see what they like and why.

Today, I’ll be talking about Candy Land!

Candy Land Gameplay

Candy Land’s a super old franchise (1949), and, as many board games from the 20th century, it’s really dull. Candy land is a simple game of luck in which your character is racing against others. You have to reach the finish line first.

Each turn, you’ll draw a card that shows a color. Move your meeple to the next square on the board that has that color, that’s it. Very similar to rolling dice and move by that amount, except here you just look at a color.

There are a few “special” cards that allow you to move to a specific location on the board, and the occasional “ladder” that lets you move a few spaces further, as well as “liquorice” spaces that make you lose your next turn. But candy Land has no strategy involved, and is 100% luck of the draw.

According to the publisher Hasbro, “Candy Land encourages young players to socialize, exercise patience, recognize colors, learn rules, and follow directions.”

Why I can’t stand Candy Land

The game is basic, 100% luck of the draw.

There is no thought or strategy involved, and it literally could play itself. There seems to be hundreds of similar games on the market, and I would never pick this game up myself to play with the kids. It’s sooooo boring to have to play this game!

The components are also hit and miss. The cards are a bit too small for kids to manipulate them with ease, and overall the cardboard feels fragile. No effort has been put in providing any kind of insert in the box, so all the components fly freely inside. Ugh. The meeples are nice though, representing some gingerbread men.

Big companies like Hasbro need to hire someone with OCD to tell them that inserts are not optional. Gah!

I certainly didn’t buy this game. I think our copy was received as a birthday present for one of the kids. (Definitely from someone who’s not a gamer, or hated me).

The only positive thing I can say about Candy Land is that the theme is cute, and it plays extremely fast.

Why the kids love Candy Land

The game is basic, 100% luck of the draw 🙂

Unconsciously, I think there is something to be said for a 100% luck-based game: despite being very different ages, the kids understand that being 100% luck, this game is fair: Older brother isn’t going to win every single time because he has better strategy skills, nor does he have to “dumb himself down” in order to give his sisters a fair fight.

Our kids also love the candy theme and the colorful illustrations. There are a handful of special cards representing sweet stuff (an Ice Cream, etc…) which they love to draw.

Conclusion

I hate everything about Candy Land. I hate the amount of space that Candy Land takes on our shelves. I hate the poor quality of the cardboard, and I hate the gameplay. I’m also not a fan of the company publishing it, giant corp Hasbro. But somehow the kids love it and always want to play it. Guess I’ll have to patiently wait until they outgrow it 🙂

Games mentioned in this article

Candy Land
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