How to Play Candyland the Board Game: Rules and Instructions

Candyland is a super-fun board game designed for preschoolers to learn patience, color-recognition, and socialization while making their way to a delicious land of sweets. Over the years as several variations have come up, children often get confused about how to play Candyland. 

Not anymore. This guide will walk you through all you need to know about the game and its rules.

Like other games such as Sequence For Kids, Candyland is also played with one board and multiple cards. However, the similarities between the games pretty much end there. Candyland is more like a race where players aim to skip through the hurdles and finish fast.

Let’s quench your curiosity and get straight to how to play Candyland. Keep reading to find out.

What Is Candyland?

A board game filled with vibrance, Candyland is a kids board game that is filled with innocent surprises in the form of cards, shortcuts, and hurdles. The players move spaces forward or backward with the purpose to be the first one to reach the end where an attractive rainbow-colored Candyland is waiting for them.

Number Of Players: 2-4.

Ages: 3 and above

Difficulty: Easy.

Length Of Play: 15 mins.

Main Objective: Being the fastest player to reach the Candyland.

Why We Love It: It’s difficult to beat this game when it comes to making the children giggle with happiness. While it is designed to please the kids, it can also serve as a good pass time for adults with a slight variation to make it strategic.

Brief History Of Candyland

Candyland the game image

The history and the creation of the legendary Candyland board game is one to remember. In fact, it resonates to a great extent to the situation we are in today. There’s a good reason why several middle to old-aged Americans remember Candyland as their first board game.

Its creation can be traced back to the Polio crisis during the 1940s, which affected thousands and had unfurled an atmosphere of looming dread. That was the time when Eleanor Abbott, a Polio victim herself, came up with the idea of a game filled with colors and resemblance of joy for recuperating kids.

The game was developed in 1948 in the hospital where she was surrounded by suffering kids. The catchy appearance, easy rules, and fun elements of the game, in that backdrop, were exactly what children needed at the time. Candyland thus became an instant hit and a board game that was emotionally introduced first to the coming generations.

What You Need To Play Candyland

A Candyland game hardly needs any set up as long as you have the players and their pawns in place. Here’s what your Candyland board game kit needs:

– A deck of cards shuffled to mix the three types (single squared, double squared, and ones with a picture).

– A Candyland board.

– 4 pawns of different colors.

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10/20/2021 10:07 am GMT

How To Play Candyland: Rules and Instructions

Candyland is a classic board-racing game. Therefore, the players are each assigned a pawn that will travel through the sweet surprises of the journey on their behalf.

In Candyland, generally, the player who is the youngest goes first. To make the beginning more interesting, you can even have a little rock, papers, and scissors match to decide who gets to draw first. 

When you and your friends are racing through the Candyland board, you will typically encounter all or a few of the below scenarios. Let’s check them all out and see how we can get to the finish line the fastest.

Advance Or Retreat

This is a classic case of when a player draws a single square card. The color on the square corresponds to the position that the player’s pawn will take. The player will advance towards the nearest square of the same color. For example, if player A draws a red card, A will have to land on the next red box in the path.

In some variations where older players want to make the game more strategic, they keep the option to retreat. In this way, they can take advantage of a previously missed shortcut or skip an upcoming hurdle. In this case, A can also choose to land on the previous red box, especially if it has a shortcut sprouting out of it.

Double The Pace

This is a special case when a player draws a card with two squares of the same color and gets to double the pawn’s pace, quite literally. This means the player has to advance to the second box of the corresponding color on the card.

So let’s say A is currently on a red box and draws a card with 2 pink squares, A will skip through the immediate next pink square and position the pawn on the second one on the path.

Picture Imperfect

This is another special case when a player draws a card with a picture and has to advance towards the very picture, wherever it is nearest, on the board. The player will have to move forward or backward regardless of the distance from the current position.

So if player A is nearing the end but draws a picture card that is printed on a box near the beginning, A has to go back there and play all over again. If a player gets lucky, a converse situation can also be on the cards!

Cut Through The Chase

Here comes the shortcut which is usually only limited to two on a regular Candyland board. It’s easy to miss among the pictures so be careful to use it when you land on the adjacent box. A shortcut can help you cut through the race and reach the finish line first.

Skip A Turn Or Skip The Skip

Skip is the ‘hurdle’ we have been talking about and the only challenge to the game. Skip means the player has to skip the turn and is indicated generally by a cross. There are a total of three skips on the entire path so it is pretty easy to skip through the skip unscathed.

As discussed above, in the relatively challenging variations, players can also choose to retreat backward to skip a skip and hope they make up for the lost spaces in the next turn. This move can be very tricky and can put the player at a great disadvantage.

Enjoy The Candies

The player who lands on the Candyland first wins the game. The color doesn’t matter here, as long as the player doesn’t have any more squares to hop on to.

If A is 3 spaces (red, blue, and green) away from Candyland and draws an orange card, A wins. In this position, any card that is NOT red, blue, or green will lead A to the Candyland since there are no more spaces that A can occupy.

Frequently Asked Questions about Candyland the board game

Can Grown-Ups Enjoy Candyland the board game?

While the ideal age group for Candyland is preschoolers aged 3-6, grownups and even adults can enjoy the game by adding a slight variation. Drawing two cards at a time can add that element of strategy wherein the players must decide which of the four scenarios (forward and backward for each color) will be most beneficial for them.

What Does A Licorice Rope On The Candyland Board Indicate?

A licorice rope on the Candyland board is an equivalent of a cross on a Hasbro Candyland board or a brown dot on some other brand’s board. The symbol indicates that the player has to skip the next turn and wait for all the players to draw twice before continuing.

What Does The Rainbow Square Indicate In Candyland?

A rainbow square is like a wild card. This gives the player a chance to pick any color of their choice and move that many places forward. This is perhaps the only little bit of strategy that the game involves, as the players have to make a decision considering all the shortcuts, skips, and pictures that they might encounter on their way forward or backward.

More Board Games You Might Like

Keeping the kids engaged with something that keeps them productive as well as exciting can be a tough job. When in such a dilemma, let games like Pictureka and Trouble come to your rescue.

To introduce the kids to board games that are more about strategy than racing, you should not miss out on games like Fibber and Beat The Parents.

Need more out of the box inspiration? Find out how to play more fun board games here.

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