I enjoy board games.
I LOVE board games.
In this age of virtual reality, video games & all other manner of digital entertainment, I still love defeating my opponent face-to-face around the gaming table.
Crunchy strategy games are my jam, but I can get down with more casual games, as well as the classics.
But there's one game I absolutely ABHOR!
It has ZERO redeeming value.
If you own it, I urge you to purge it from your home.
The game that offends my sensibilities so?
Freaking Candyland !
Absolute TURD of a game.
Granted, given that I've shared the fact that I'm a Type I Diabetic elsewhere, I suppose it's a bit of cliche that I would hate on a game that's festooned with high-fructose corn syrup laden abominations, but it isn't the theme I loathe.
It's the design of the whole stupid thing.
Lemme break it down for you.
There are three reasons why Candyland shouldn't have a home on your shelf.
1) It isn't a game
Calling Candyland a game is the misnomer to end all misnomers.
Sure, it has a board. Sure, it has little plastic bits. Sure it has cards.
It has all the parts of a game, but nowhere does anything resembling a game occur during a round of Candyland.
You might "play" Candyland, but if you are, you're not playing a game.
You're just engaged in an activity.
2) There's no agency
Here's how Candyland works. You pull a card from the deck. You look at the color. You move your dude to the next square matching that color. Then, it's the next person's turn.
At no point do you make a single decision. You do what the deck says. Full stop.
Get a pink card that sends you all the way back to the beginning just as you're about to win? Tough Candy Canes, kid. Back you go.
That's not a game. You have zero say in what your piece does. This is just an activity with the window dressing of a game.
"What's the harm in that, T? I don't expect my 3 year old to play 'Magic: the Gathering' or Chess."
Sure, but of all the things you could do with your child, Candyland's biggest failure is that...
3) It does less than NOTHING for your kid
At no point does your child learn ANYTHING from Candyland.
Colors? Twister teaches colors just as well, and has the additional benefit of physical activity.
Numbers? Nope. No counting in Candyland.
Strategy, planning, or logic of any sort? Nope. Just do what the card says, kid. That's not how you enrich a young mind. That's how you create a mindless drone.
Come to think of it, every time I've been dragged into a game of Candyland, the kid in question ALWAYS wants to cheat his/her way to the end. Why?
BECAUSE THEY WANT AGENCY!
The only thing Candyland teaches is that sometimes people shove plastic bits around a slab of cardboard and call it a game.
Much like candy is junk food which does NOTHING for your child's physical well-being, Candyland is junk food for the brain.
So now what?
I know what you're thinking. "Alright, T. You convinced me that Candyland is trash and every copy should be set on fire, but I want to play a board game with my kid! What should I play?"
I'm glad I pretended you asked. Click here .
***In addition to hating Candyland, "Scary" Terry Stevens is a radio host for Midwest Communications. You can book Face with him here .