Imagine that the Brothers Grimm invented a board game. Now take out the witches. Welcome to Candy Land.
Eleanor Abbott was recovering from polio when she decided to create a board game for similarly-afflicted youngsters forced to spend time in a cold, boring hospital. The fruits of her work came to life in 1949 as Candy Land.
Instead of numbers, directions, or other confusing rules and regulations, Candy Land simplified gameplay by moving its little Gingerbread Man characters with colour-coded cards. Each space came in one of six colors – red, purple, yellow, blue, orange or green – and the deck of cards had small squares of the same colors.
Draw a purple card, move your Gingerbread Man to the next purple square, and so on to the top of the board and the oh-so-tasty candy house (later replaced by a candy castle).
Also shuffled into the deck were skip-ahead cards that sent you instantly to one of the map’s tasty sights along the way – Candy Hearts, Peppermint Stick Forest, Gingerbread Plum Tree, Gumdrop Mountains, Crooked Old Peanut Brittle House, Lollipop Woods and Ice Cream Floats – but be careful! One bad card could land you in the sticky Molasses Swamp or get you stuck on one of a few other squares, where you’d have to wait until you drew the right colour card.
With its simple rules and eye-catching gameboard, Candy Land was many a child’s first board game. An instant success, it spawned offshoots like Candy Land Bingo, a hand-held Candy Land game and even a Candy Land Adventure CD-ROM.
The original remains a kiddie favourite today, proof that (surprise, surprise) kids still like candy.