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.

Gameplay

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.

Other Candy Land Versions to Consider

PictureGame TitleDescriptionWhere to Buy
Candy Land Hasbro Board GameHasbro Candy land – Kingdom of Sweet AdventuresThe updated graphics on this board will make it a joy for younger players.
Hasbro Gaming Candy Land Kingdom Of Sweet Adventures Board Game... & Free shipping
Winning Moves Candy LandWinning Moves Games – Candy Land 65th Anniversary EditionThis throwback edition is slightly more pricey but a great collector’s item.
Winning Moves Games Candy Land 65th Anniversary Game, Multicolor (1189) & Free shipping
Candy land My Little PonyCandy Land: My Little Pony Movie EditionKids who love the movie will enjoy playing this version of Candy Land.
Candy Land Game: My Little Pony the Movie Edition & Free shipping
Candy Land Disney PrincessCandy Land Disney Princess EditionDisney-loving kids will relish competing to rescue King Kandy as Rapunzel, Cinderella or Ariel.
Candy Land Disney Princess Edition Game Board Game (Amazon Exclusive) & Free shipping
Candy Land 1967 RetroCandy Land 1967 Retro EditionMany enthusiasts feel this retro version looks cooler and is sturdier than more recent versions.
Retro Series Candy Land 1967 Edition Game & Free shipping
Candy Land Book EditionWS Game – Candy Land Vintage Book EditionYet another sturdy collector’s item that will rekindle nostalgia.
WS Game Company Candy Land Vintage Bookshelf Edition & Free shipping
Candy Land Disney Theme ParkCandy Land Disney Theme Parks ExclusiveThis version replaces the original Candy Land characters with Mickey Mouse and co.
Disney Parks Exclusive Candyland Theme Park Edition Game & Free shipping
Candy Land Collectors TinCandy Land – Collector’s Tin EditionLovers of throwback Candy Land boards and illustrations will love this one as well.
Candyland Deluxe Board Game in Classic Nostalgia Collector's Tin by... & Free shipping
Candy Land Disney Minnie MouseCandy Land Disney Minnie Mouse EditionMinnie Mouse, Daisy and Figaro sprinkle some feminine charm on the Disney version of Candy Land.
Candy Land Winter AdventuresCandy Land Winter Adventures EditionCandy and the holidays is always going to be a super-fun combination.
Hasbro Gaming Candy Land Game: Winter Adventures Edition Board Game... & Free shipping

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.

Amazon

Hasbro Gaming Candy Land Kingdom Of Sweet Adventures Board Game For Kids Ages 3 & Up (Amazon Exclusive),Red,Original version

$12.99  in stock
1 new from $12.99
3 used from $11.95
Free shipping
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as of 11/23/2020 8:44 PM

Features

  • CLASSIC BEGINNER GAME: Do you remember playing Candy Land when you were a kid. Introduce new generations to this sweet kid's board game
  • RACE TO THE CASTLE: Players encounter all kinds of delicious surprises as they move their cute gingerbread man pawn around the path in a race to the castle
  • NO READING REQUIRED TO PLAY: For kids ages 3 and up, Candy Land can be a great game for kids who haven't learned how to read yet
  • GREAT GAME FOR LITTLE ONES: The Candy Land board game features colored cards, sweet destinations and fun illustrations that kids love
  • Includes game board, 4 pawns, card deck and instructions

Winning Moves Games Candy Land 65th Anniversary Game, Multicolor (1189)

$15.99
$12.99  in stock
23 new from $12.99
1 used from $14.25
Free shipping
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as of 11/23/2020 8:44 PM

Features

  • Celebrating over 65 years of great family fun!
  • Game includes Bi-fold heavy-duty game board, 4 plastic gingerbread men movers, deck of 64 cards and instructions
  • This game is inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame! Ages: 4 and up

Candy Land Game: My Little Pony the Movie Edition

$24.89  in stock
33 new from $17.99
Free shipping
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Amazon.com
as of 11/23/2020 8:44 PM

Features

  • My Little Pony the Movie edition of the Candy Land game
  • Features 3 favorite My Little Pony characters
  • Imagine the ponies on their journey to return home and save Canterlot
  • Includes 44 cards, 3 My Little Pony movers, gameboard, and instructions

Candy Land Disney Princess Edition Game Board Game (Amazon Exclusive)

$39.99
$18.12  in stock
3 new from $18.12
Free shipping
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Amazon.com
as of 11/23/2020 8:44 PM

Features

  • The Candy Land game has a Disney Princess twist
  • You can play the game as Cinderella, Rapunzel or Ariel
  • Colorful cards guide you princess toward the castle
  • Whoever reaches the castle first wins. Ages 3 and up
  • Includes game board, 3 Disney Princess movers, 44 cards and instructions

Retro Series Candy Land 1967 Edition Game

$19.99  in stock
10 new from $19.98
Free shipping
Shop now
Amazon.com
as of 11/23/2020 8:44 PM

Features

  • Retro Series Candy Land game looks like the 1967 edition
  • Game has classic Candy Land graphics
  • Iconic gingerbread men
  • Includes full sized gameboard based on the 1967 edition, deck of old fashioned cards, 4 “frosted” gingerbread men playing pieces, and instructions

WS Game Company Candy Land Vintage Bookshelf Edition

$38.47  in stock
3 new from $38.47
Free shipping
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Amazon.com
as of 11/23/2020 8:44 PM

Features

  • Linen-wrapped bookshelf case features elegant design for open bookshelf display
  • Vintage game components and graphics inspired by the 1978 edition
  • Includes Full-sized vintage gameboard which folds up for storage, deck of vintage cards, 4 "Frosted" plastic Gingerbread Men playing pieces
  • Bookshelf case measures 10.63 x 8.50 x 2.63 inches and weighs just under 2 pounds
  • Appropriate for 2 to 4 Players, Ages 3 and Up, Instructions Included

Disney Parks Exclusive Candyland Theme Park Edition Game

$43.00  in stock
11 new from $39.09
Free shipping
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Amazon.com
as of 11/23/2020 8:44 PM

Features

  • Istructions in English, French and Spanish
  • Be the first to reach Cinderella's Castle
  • Disney Parks Exclusive!!!
  • Ages 3 +

Candyland Deluxe Board Game in Classic Nostalgia Collector's Tin by Winning Solutions

$28.94  in stock
6 new from $28.94
Free shipping
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Amazon.com
as of 11/23/2020 8:44 PM

Features

  • Retro Candy Land board game
  • Decorative tin box features built-in storage
  • Vintage 1962 edition game and cards
  • Comes with 4 gingerbread men player tokens
  • Overall dimensions: 10.5L x 10.5W x 2.25H inches

Candy Land Game Disney Minnie Mouse's Sweet Treats Edition

$24.99  in stock
4 new from $45.00
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as of 11/23/2020 8:44 PM

Features

  • High quality toys for children all ages
  • Made using safe materials
  • Tested for quality and durability
  • Classic Candy Land game with a Disney twist
  • Game challenges you to make it to Minnie's Sweet Shop first

Hasbro Gaming Candy Land Game: Winter Adventures Edition Board Game for Kids Ages 3+

$9.99
$9.09  in stock
32 new from $5.79
Free shipping
Shop now
Amazon.com
as of 11/23/2020 8:44 PM

Features

  • Holiday version of the candy land game: This game for kids features classic candy land gameplay and a holiday theme; players aim to be the first to arrive at the winter party At chillymint mansion
  • Includes 4 tokens: the candy land winter adventures game comes with a holiday-themed game board, 44 cards, and 4 plastic tokens
  • Game for older and younger players: kids can enjoy different levels of gameplay for older and younger players as young as 3 years old
  • Board game for 2-4 players: the game is designed for 2 to 4 players, ages 3 and up

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