Candyland: Advance

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Hey, is that —

Before you ask: Yes, that is a picture of Candyland featured prominently at the top of this post.

What?!? But I thought this was a serious gaming blog! Candlyand isn’t even a real game!

Both are true statements. Here is the cipher that resolves the paradox: I am the father of a five-year old. Admittedly, I was blindsided when she chose Candyland for this evening’s pre-bedtime game, but as my wife pointed out, it would be an opportunity to try out the new rules that I had wanted to use since the day she was born.

So tonight, I present to you the rules for Candyland: Advance (or “Advanced Candyland” or “Candyland for Big Girls and Boys”  or whatever you want to call it):

  1. Setup the game as normal, except:
    • Remove the “Queen Frostine” picture card from the deck. (This card, already quite powerful, pretty much breaks this version of the game if it’s included. And yes, I realize that I’m actually expressing concern about not wanting to have broken rules in Candyland.)
    • Deal each player one random card.
  2.  On your turn, you may take one of the following actions:
    • Draw a card
    • Play a card
  3. Players are limited to a maximum of five cards in their hand; if they begin their turn with five cards, they must play one.
  4. Playing a card that would result in moving to a space that is already occupied advances you to the next open space of that color.

Aside from these changes, the game plays as normal. Simple as they are, these tweaks completely transform Candyland, turning it into an actual game since you now have to make decisions, even adding a minor amount of strategy.

A couple of observations from tonight’s game:

  • Implementing the rule about skipping a space that’s already occupied by another player not only alleviates the frustration of trying to cram multiple playing pieces onto a single space, but combining it  with the rule about being able to have multiple cards in your hand creates a layer of tactical decision-making.
  • On similar note, the cards that advance you to a picture card space are still powerful, but if you draw one after you’ve advanced past that space, they end up clogging your hand instead, effectively reducing the maximum number of cards you can hold.

These rules provide a way to fill the gap for kids who are ready for something more than simple children’s games but for whom gateway games may still be too much.

Oh , and I realize that these rules are pretty much a direct ripoff of Ticket to Ride, but like they say, if you’re gonna steal, steal from the best, right?