How to Play Candy Land

Literally anyone can learn how to play Candy Land in a just a few minutes. It is an easy to learn board game that does away with the math and the strategies and just lets players have full-throttle fun.

It’s all about navigating a meandering rainbow-colored path through a dreamy landscape to King Kandy’s castle. The path is made up of blocks or squares of different colors. To advance from block to block, players draw cards (or take a turn on a spinner in recent versions).

With simple gameplay even kids below the age of five can join in the fun. This makes Candy Land the ideal game for those stay-in family game nights.

Read on to find out more about how to play Candy Land, the history of it, and how to win.

Object of Candy Land

To find the candy…

Actually, it is about getting to King Kandy, the ruler of Candy Land, in his humble abode, the Candy Castle. The player who gets to the colorful space at the end of the path first is the winner.  According to the rules, the winner has to land exactly on the last step, not beyond it.

Setting up the Game

What do you do after you get your Candy Land box and you’re ready to start? Follow the below steps:

  1. Spread out the board (Candy Land map, if you will) on a flat surface.
  2. Let each player select a character, represented by a colored plastic token.
  3. Shuffle the deck of cards and place them facedown within convenient reach of every player.
  4. Place the extra cards next to the board.
  5. Place all the player tokens at the start square at the beginning of the path.

How to Play Candy Land

Number of Players and Playtime

Candy Land can be played by two to four players. Playtime is typically anywhere between 15 and 20 minutes.


After completing the setup, the adventure can start. Conventionally, the youngest player should go first with play proceeding to their left. However, you can use different criteria, such as the tallest player goes first, or simply draw lots, to decide who starts.

To begin moving, the starter player will draw the top card on the deck and flip it to reveal its color. They will move to the first space on the path matching the color of the card. If the card has two color squares, you can move to the second space along the path matching that color.

Special Cards

Candy land features a few special cards that allow you to move further than a couple of spaces (and sometimes backwards). For example, if you draw a card with a lollipop, you will move to the square where Lolly is located. Similarly, if you draw the one with a candy stick, you will move your token to where Mr. Mint is on the board. This could propel you forward towards the Candy Castle or drag you back towards the start.

Here are some of the characters you might see on the Candy Land board:

  • Gingerbread characters: These are represented by plastic tokens that the players select at the start of the game.
  • King Kandy: The king of Candy Land and resident of the castle built from candy.
  • Other citizens: These include the Gingerbread Tree, Mr. Mint, Gloppy, Jolly, Gramma Nutt, Lolly, Princess Frostine, Lord Licorice

Special squares

Along the path there are spaces that can affect the speed at which you’ll obtain your final objective. The Rainbow Trails, for instance, propel you forward to the next square matching the color of the card you’ll pick. Thus if you have the fortune of landing on the orange space corresponding to a Rainbow Trail, you are allowed to move your token to the purple block at the other end of the trail.

A Gumdrop Pass has the same effect of creating a shortcut for you to obtain your objective. If you land on the yellow space below a Gumdrop Pass, you move forward to the green space at the other end of the pass.

Landing on a licorice space will cause you to lose a turn. They are traps placed on the path by the evil Lord Licorice.

History of Candy Land

There is a subplot of adversity turning to triumph in the Candy Land story. 1948 is when the game was conceived, and it was designed by Eleanor Abott as she recovered from a bout of Polio. She made it for herself and her fellow patients in the San Diego hospital where she was convalescing. After being encouraged by those ward-mates, Abott submitted the game to the Milton Bradley Company, which subsequently bought it. In due course it would become the school supplies company’s best-selling game.

After buying the Milton Bradley Company out in the 1980s, Hasbro took over the game and redesigned it. A number of revisions of the game have been created since then.

Alternative Rules to Play Candy Land

Another version of Candy Land envisions the winding path to the Candy Castle as the body of a snake that terrorizes the inhabitants of Candy Land. Your goal is to rescue King Kandy from this monster by getting to the castle first. The characters mentioned above, except Lord Licorice, are helpless citizens who have been swallowed by the candy monster. Besides rescuing King Kandy, you must also rescue Lolly, Mr. Mint and co. from the belly of the snake by landing on the spaces with their symbols.

Instead of picking cards from a common deck, players get their own deck of cards in the color of their choosing. During play, you randomly throw your cards on the table and count the number of squares on the ones facing up. This will be the number of spaces you move on the board during your turn.

The special characters and spaces are also different in this version of the game. For instance, when you play a Mr. Mint card; his hooked cane yanks any token which was ahead of you five places back five squares behind your token. If you play a Jolly card before your opponent, the number of spaces they move could be halved.

Best Candy Land Versions to Consider

Hasbro Candy land – Kingdom of Sweet Adventures Hasbro Candy land – Kingdom of Sweet Adventures

The updated graphics on this board will make it a joy for younger players.

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Winning Moves Games – Candy Land 65th Anniversary Edition Winning Moves Games – Candy Land 65th Anniversary Edition

This throwback edition is slightly more pricey but a great collector’s item.

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Candy Land: My Little Pony Movie Edition Candy Land: My Little Pony Movie Edition

Kids who love the movie will enjoy playing this version of Candy Land.

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Candy Land Disney Princess Edition Candy Land Disney Princess Edition

Disney-loving kids will relish competing to rescue King Kandy as Rapunzel, Cinderella or Ariel.

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Candy Land 1967 Retro Edition Candy Land 1967 Retro Edition

Many enthusiasts feel this retro version looks cooler and is sturdier than more recent versions.

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Candy Land Disney Theme Parks Exclusive Candy Land Disney Theme Parks Exclusive

This version replaces the original Candy Land characters with Mickey Mouse and co.

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Candy Land – Collector’s Tin Edition Candy Land – Collector’s Tin Edition

Lovers of throwback Candy Land boards and illustrations will love this one as well.

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Candy Land Disney Minnie Mouse Edition Candy Land Disney Minnie Mouse Edition

Minnie Mouse, Daisy and Figaro sprinkle some feminine charm on the Disney version of Candy Land.

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Candy Land Winter Adventures Edition Candy Land Winter Adventures Edition

Candy and the holidays is always going to be a super-fun combination.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What do the Xs mean in Candy Land?

If you land on the red licorice X, that means you lose a turn because you’ve been captured by the villain, Lord Licorice.

Is there a real Candy Land?

Sort of. Once a year, the Penitentiary Glen Nature Center in Kirtland creates a life-size version of this board game.

Where was Candy Land made?

Candy land was invented in San Diego, California.

What ages is Candy Land best for?

Anyone who can learn how to play Candy Land will find it fun to play. While the game can be played by three year-olds, getting them up to speed and getting them to focus for 15 minutes may be a challenge. If you must play it with your kids, you may want to wait till they’re at least five years old.