Welcome to Candy Land they said.. A world of sweet adventure they said.. It was all fun and games until we reached that Candy Castle. Until we met him.. The Candy Man. Behind his cheerful smile hid a cruel, black heart. Little did we know the inviting illusion of the Candy Castle was just a front for his black market confectionery. We were promised an adventure and were met with nothing more than a cellophane prison.
That was almost a year ago if this expiration date is accurate, but then again, are they ever? They say that time passes differently when you're on the inside. Who really knows how long it's been? But I've waited patiently, biding my time to make my move and for this day to finally come. I'm busting out of this joint and taking out the man in charge. That's right Candy Man! It's me against the world and nothing's going to stop me for seeking my sweet, sweet revenge.
The candy cane I've kept hidden away and sharpened over time pierces the packaging easily. I'm free! And I'm coming for you Candy Man! What's that old saying again? "Run, run, as fast as you can?"
Well you better start running Candy Man, because you can't escape me, I'm the Gingerbread man!
- Players: 2 - 6
- Duration: 45 mins
- Difficulty: Easy
- Type: Board Game
- Roll and Move
In Run For Your Life, Candyman! you pick up right where the game of Candy Land leaves off. But instead of the Candy Wonderland you were expecting to find it's anything but. The Candy Man has tricked you all and plans on packaging you and the rest of the gingerbread folk up for a quick sale to sweet toothed children everywhere. But you've got other plans and it's every gingerbread man for himself as you fight your way to freedom. You'll do anything to escape even if that means taking out a few of your "friends" to do it.
The board is similar to that of the aforementioned Candy Land but instead of heading towards the Candy Castle each player begins there. To start, each person selects a gingerbread player token, a status sheet, and a pen. The status sheet is what it used to track damage to your gingerbread man. Finally, you flip over a card from the Dash N Bash deck until you draw a card with a single piece of candy on it. Everyone notes this type of candy on their status sheet. This will determine when you will draw a Special Treat card throughout the game. You're now ready to go.
During your turn, each player starts by drawing a Dash N Bash card. This determines your movement. There are four types of cards in this deck. A card depicting a single piece of candy allows you to move to the closest space with that candy icon. You can move forward or backward. Then there's the double candy cards. These allow you to move twice. First to the closest matching candy, again, forward or backward, and then to the next candy icon space depicted. As a bonus, if your card depicts the type of candy you noted from the start of the game, you also get to draw a Special Treat card. These cards can give you special actions and will help you out along the way. During your movement draw, you may also draw a candy character. When drawn, these cards transport you directly to the space depicted. And last but not least, there's the candy cage match..
The heart of Run For Your Life, Candyman! is the combat. There are two ways to fight your fellow gingerbread men. If you pass them during movement on the path you take a swipe at them by drawing a Dash N Bash card. This card will match a specific location on the defenders status sheet. They mark the damage and play continues. You may only attack a player once per turn. However, if they happen to mark the final square of a specific area, be it arm, leg, etc.. that area is torn off and given to the attacker as a trophy. What can I say? Gingerbread Men can be pretty vicious. Also, as combat goes, there's the candy cage match.
If a candy cage match card is drawn during your movement, you're immediately transported to the nearest cage match space. These are spaces on the board surrounded by a burst. You may also land on a cage match space on the board during normal movement. Either way, they both initiate a fight. You select another player and they are immediately transported to your space. Let's get ready to rumble! Starting with the initiating player, each person draws a Dash N Bash card and matches it to the status sheet location of the defender as with regular combat. This goes back and forth until a player draws a card matching the icon on the cage match space or the only one still standing. This ends the fight and they move to the nearest matching space and normal play continues. They still do get that last parting shot before they leave though. As you can imagine, cage matches can end with some pretty brutal results..
Play continues back and forth this way until one player reaches the end of the line and makes his way to freedom. But it's never that simple, is it? If it's not bad enough that your fellow gingerbread men have it out for you, you still need to make it past the Twins.. This diabolical pair have an incredible appetite for all things sweet and to reach the end you need to get past them. Each turn you start in front of them (a sugary gauntlet of 9 spaces) results in four attacks from the Dash N Bash deck. Only after surviving these attacks can you then draw a card that may get you one step closer to the finish line. The first player to make it through to the end can call themselves the winner. You may not get there in one piece but at least you might live to tell the tale.
Will you make it past the grisly gummies, bad juju, and the Twins to find your way to freedom? Or will you lose your head -literally- in a cage match with one of your so called "friends"? Only one of you will make it out of this alive and may the best gingerbread man win. That, or will it be the one that's the most ruthless? Either way you'll risk life and limb to be the one to do it. And if you take your friends out in the process? So be it.
After all, that's just the way the cookie crumbles..
With a game like this it was a given that we would be making gingerbread men. But being the strange people that we are we decided to take things a step further by making Raspberry Filled Ninjabread Men. These furious fighters can take a punch and have the battle scars to prove it. Continuing on with the gingerbread theme we have Samuel Adams Merry Maker Stout. With hints of cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger this filling stout really lives up to it's jovial name. And last but not least is our Tipsy Hazelnut Hot Chocolate. Spiked with Brandy and Frangelico, mixed with Nutella, and topped with whipped cream it's sure to warm you up on those chilly winter nights.
Let's take a look at Run For Your Life, Candyman!.
Taking a look at the components the board is instantly reminiscent of Candyland. This of course is intended and does work well to fulfill the parody feel. The candy path is bright and the spaces easily recognizable. Unfortunately, the rest of artwork is a bit lacking on some of the assorted characters. While I do love the artwork and look of the gingerbread tokens and grisly gummies the rest did come off as a bit rough and unfinished. The board itself is very sturdy. The Dash N Bash and Special Treat cards however are made of an easily bendable cardboard versus a better quality card stock. We found the cards fairly difficult to shuffle without creasing them. Considering you'll go through the Dash N Bash deck a couple times (at least) during a game that could become problematic in the long run.
In regards to game play, other than the addition of combat and player damage it's virtually identical to Candyland. You pick a card, move to that space. Wash, rinse, repeat. Once again, as a parody of an existing game, I believe that's the intent. That does help to make it extremely easy to learn and play. After all, if you've played Candlyand you know 95% of the rules here. But unfortunately, as with Candyland, you tend to feel you're at the mercy of the card draws the entire game. Take for example the character cards. During a play of the game I was very close to reaching the end only to draw the Molly and Pop card. This meant I was immediately transported back near the beginning to essentially start over again. This is incredibly frustrating. Of course, as this was a fault of the original Candyland, any game based on that would suffer the same as well. Thankfully, the addition of the combat is the redeeming factor here. It is a lot of fun to fight with your fellow players. Although random chance still continues to dictate the results of the fights at least the Special Treat cards do add some chance at defending yourself or turning the tables. Still, it's fun to be awarded the severed limb, or head even, of an enemy upon victory. Just be prepared to lose an arm an a leg yourself in the process.
Speaking of losing limbs, we also ran into another issue in most of our games. Player elimination. While that in itself isn't uncommon in other games it doesn't trigger the end game here. You see, eliminating your competition doesn't automatically win you the game. You'll still need to reach the end of the line (and survive) to claim victory. So you can essentially find one player continuing on while the eliminated players can only look on with nothing to do. And with the random nature of the card draws, this could result in an extended solo game and ultimately, one with no "official" winner if they get taken out by the Twins. If (when) that happens , there is an alternate win scenario. The player with the most enemy limbs AKA trophies ends up winning the game. In the end though, that sort of win seems a bit of a hollow victory since everyone is just a pile of broken cookies by then.
But all the criticism aside, the game is exactly what it says it is. It's a tongue in cheek parody of Candyland that allows you to tear your gingerbread friends limb from limb. It's not claiming to be an in depth strategy game so it's not really fair to judge it as one. However, as a fan of games with a bit more depth I'm not sure this one is for me. Sure, the fighting is fun for a bit but in the end it takes more than adding random combat to correct a game that was originally intended to teach colors to young children and make it more palatable for an older audience. But if you approach this from the viewpoint of it's intended audience I feel they've done the job they set out to do. I do feel this game would be more enjoyable for the younger crowd, maybe 8-12, but unfortunately these cookie combatants didn't have quite enough bite for me.
I am going to start this review by saying that this is not a game for the serious gamer. It should be taken very lightheartedly and enjoyed with your laid-back friends. This overly simplistic game would best be played with kids and family with a good sense of humor. While playing Run For Your Life Candyman! we made a few house rules that made things run a little smoother. For instance, one of our rules is that you cannot be sent back out of the Twin's zone. This sped up the game and eliminated the frustration of the random character card. We also recommend that once all of the other players have been eliminated the game is immediately over and the winner is then determined by trophies. Also, do not bother with the basic 4 box rules. You will lose your limbs way too quickly and there is no way that you will even have a chance to get near the twins. So take this game for what it is, a humorous take on your childhood game of Candyland and don’t take it too seriously.