26 September 2008

Pantsed in Candyland

For those of you not down with the C-Land lingo, you may as well stop reading, because you don't understand my people.

In the spirit of a great blues musician, I've come here to proclaim my troubles to the world in hopes of gaining some relief:

Like golf*, Candyland is a game of sheer chance and luck designed to illustrate the futility of continuing to live. I'm a relative newcomer to this game, having come from a house full of boys and a wannabe-boy, but we bought it for my daughter at Christmas because J- is a lifetime fan, and D- has since wanted to play it at least once a week.**

So without toughened skin from years of experience, I was distinctly unprepared for the feeling of the potent one-two punch in the gut that is your opponent drawing a single orange block card and then the pink Lolly card. I got Rainbow railroaded. Even with him getting stuck in some licorice and losing a turn, I was toe-tagged after only 20 cards.

Twenty cards! That's ten turns. There are over 60 cards in the deck, and we've been known to go through all of them before finishing.

This site, which is my kind of site, states that the average two-person Candyland game takes, mathematically speaking, 52 cards.*** So this was clearly an aberration existing only to balance out the 200-card games out there, and my son was given the plum role of The Hand of Fate.

Care to guess what I heard from this little upstart, who regularly has to be reminded (incredibly unselfishly, I might add) which direction he's supposed to be heading on the board, and whose backside I've so graciously returned to him 95% of the time we've gone head to head? "Oh wow Dad, what luck I'm having! That's the way the cards were cut, I guess," or some such zen platitude?

How about instead you guess, "Ha, ha" as he cruised towards the finish? You'd be warmer than Gloppy on fondue night.

* For instance, I once spent a week going by the nickname "Tiger" and during that time I did not win any sweet green jackets or get paid millions of dollars to wear one hat versus another. Go ahead and try to explain that one away.

Once equals one session of at least three games...

*** Am I revealing too much about myself in having sought out this guy's painstaking Candyland analysis?


unmitigated me said...

***Nothing we didn't already suspect, LiteralDan.

Anonymous said...

You are about the funniest person I've read in a long time. I love games, love playing games, live to win, have never been able to figure out how to let my kids win - but even I would have been grateful for a Candyland game this short. That's a game I never quite bonded with - maybe because it is all chance and I couldn't always make the kids cry.

Chris M. said...

Break out the monopoly and show that kid who's boss!

Or you could try Uno.

Or Connect Four.

Had him his ass in Clue.

That'll learn him some life lessons.

Weather Moose

Goldfish said...

I'd be interested in a statistical analysis of the likelihood of one of my kids hauling off and walloping the other during a game of Candyland.

Natalie said...

candyland. i hated that game when my kids were little. the good thing was that i could sleep between my turns. well as long as the kids weren't arguing about which direction they were supposed to be headed. another game that i couldn't stand...hi ho cherry-o. talk about boring!

Kevin McKeever said...

Thing 1 took me in the cleaners in CandyLand 23 consecutive times when we first played. A little humiliating getting beat so much by a 2 year old.

Irrational Dad said...

You're a better man than me. I'm what most people would call a "sore loser". I'd be apt to clear the table with one sweeping motion of my arm, sending game pieces and cards scattering everywhere. How am I supposed to teach Tyler that it's ok to lose, if I can't be gracious in my own losing?

My only chance will be to cheat so that I win EVERY TIME. Then I'll tell Tyler that it's ok to lose, and all he needs to do is keep practicing.

Rikki said...

You have to upgrade to Candyland 2.0. The game is over twice as fast and the kids love the fact that shapes shoot out of the "house" once a lever is pulled!

I think you are ready for the big times...

Leslie said...

Two questions: Have you thrown a game yet? Have you yet experienced the I-hate-Candyland-melt-down when you win?

Keely said...

You mean you don't play poker with them yet?

Anonymous said...

I'm loving the comments by "laggin" above me! I experienced a few melt downs w/my kids when I won Candyland and then I learned my lesson and started throwing EVERY game! I was like. "I don't know how you got to skip all the way to Queen Frostine again...this must be your lucky day!" sigh

Diane said...

I feel much the same way about 'Trouble'.

Mama Dawg said...

You know, I am going to completely ignore the fact that you took the time to actually look up Candyland statistics and just go with...

Ha Ha...you got beat!

Anonymous said...

So he is learning. Ha ha instead of let's play again so you can win this time. It bothers you not to win Candyland?? Candyland?? Really M-could beat you at Candyland because it's so random. Now if he beats you at Battleship then you can start to worry.

Nanny Goats In Panties said...

This was a great post!

"Like golf*, Candyland is a game of sheer chance and luck designed to illustrate the futility of continuing to live."

That was sheer brilliance, if I may reuse "sheer" for my own purposes here.

I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall to hear him say, "Ha ha". I keep hearing the bully from the Simpsons in my head.

Anonymous said...

My husband encourages my daughter to cheat when they play, so I can't stand playing Candyland anymore because she won't follow the dang rules.

They both tell me to loosen up, but whatever.

Kori said...

Kori crosses that game of the Christmas list....

Anonymous said...

I once won Candyland with 2 cards. What does that say about me...

Sue Wilkey said...

Occasionally, i like to be known as Queen Frostine.

Your blogger avatar reminds me so much of those Japanese game shows where they have to fit into the shape.

Aracely said...

I'm with Keely, five card stud, or mommy doesn't play!

*You just earned yourself a link my friend.

In the blog role no less!

steenky bee said...

It is difficult to cheat in Candyland. For that reason, it is very frustrating to me. Wait until you get into "Sorry". Sorry makes you it's bitch.

Mrs. B. Roth said...

I have NEVER won this stupid game. It is my kid's favorite. I don't cheat, I don't throw the game (I'm a firm believer a parent should never throw a game, maybe help a little, but never lose on purpose).

I throw the I hate Candyland fits at our house.

Ringleader said...

It always starts out the same with us, I'm all "how you like me now, sucka" to my 6yo, until the "futility of continuing to live" (love that) sets in and then I end up letting her look through all the cards before she picks one so we can get this infernal game over with before my birth certificate expires and because, uhm, "My Name is Earl" is about to come on so,yeah-

Jenny Grace said...

When I was a kid my grandma took us to this "live action" candyland that freaked me the FUCK OUT. I have issues with people in costume/animatronics. I could never really play the game after that.

Manager Mom said...

Ah..for the innocent days of board games. Now my five year old son beats the virtual crap out of me in Wii Boxing.

Deb said...

Hi! Glad you stopped by my blog today.

I have always found Candyland to be a bit annoying. Chutes and Ladders is worse though...it never ends!

Btw - The Gorilla Glue just wore off over the course of a day. Lucky me.

Mrs4444 said...

Loved this LOL post; especially the very relatable part about drawing those damned "go back" cards. :)

LiteralDan said...

Middle Aged Woman: That's reassuring, I suppose.

Debbie: Wow, thank you-- you've made my day two days in a row now, once reading it and now responding to it.

The problem with a Candyland game this short is invites more games afterwards than it would if it dragged out a bit. Still, I'm glad you're a member of the Don't Let Kids Win army, of which I am the merciless general, sitting safely in my citadel plotting and scheming. (See my expansion on this theme below in my reply to Laggin and Mrs. B. Roth.)

Chris: Oh believe me, I've taken him out already in most of those games, because he insists on trying to play even though I warn him they're meant for "older kids".

Goldfish: My sources tell me it's currently running about 1.8:1.

Natalie: Sleep between turns? What were they doing? You pull a card and move to that color. That's one thing I don't like-- I can't space out or do some other little thing between turns.

Always Home and Uncool: But who's counting, right? Have you evened things out yet?

Joe: You and I have more in common than you think, my friend. And I like the moral of your story-- that's lemons from lemonade right there.

Rikki: I haven't heard of such a thing, but it sounds intriguing. We'd probably be better off waiting till M- wasn't waiting with an open mouth outside where the shapes come out.

Laggin: I never throw games. I thought I mentioned that in a post before (I just alluded to it above in my response to Debbie), but since I can't remember which post it would have been, it may have been a comment at someone else's blog.

I don't believe in it-- it takes away the achievement of a genuine win. Anyone can win a board game if they try enough. Unless they're trying against my wife, in which case they are SOL, for reasons unknown to everyone.

Keely: Nope, cause people would whine about me taking their money. I don't waste my time playing for chips or Hot Wheels.

Christy: Noooo! Christy, you've let me down today (see my responses to Debbie and Laggin above). I'm guessing you made (and marked) about 10 copies of the Queen Frostine* card?

* They renamed her Princess Frostine at some point in the last decade or so, though I'm not sure why they would give up that nice internal rhyme. Who cares if people assume she's married to King Kandy, thereby diluting her perceived power and influence?

Diane: Just the other day, I played Trouble for what was basically the first time, and all I could think of was that it seemed exactly like Parcheesi and Sorry and a couple others I can't think of. I also realized that all this time I had confused it with Perfection.

Mama Dawg: Hey, buddy, watch it. Care to dance with the devil in the pale moonlight? Come on down (up), anytime, mac.

Mary: It bothers me to lose that badly, like the universe is conspiring against me. M- couldn't beat me only because she would be disqualified for repeatedly sucking on her game piece and forgetting where it was on the board.

We tried Battleship one day, and let's just say I'm pretty sure I'm safe for a few years...

Nanny Goats in Panties: Madame, when praising me so highly, and Stumbling my post, you may reuse whatever words you like.

Thing was, when he tries out the teasing now and then, he doesn't get in your face or really sing it, like you'd expect, but instead he just states it with an air of inevitability and duty, which feels somehow worse. I do not react well to it.

Andrea's Sweet Life: Smack your husband for me. He is doing everyone a disservice there, and hopefully he'll directly experience plenty of blowback for it.

You need to isolate him on this, by encouraging everyone else to stop playing games with her immediately when she starts cheating. Good luck combating this truly domestic terrorist.

Kori: Replace it with Risk, because that game is awesome, though it may be in a much different age range.

Dr. Dan, family therapist, says that 2 is more than old enough to start learning where Kamchatka is, and more importantly, the ways to determine what the "acceptable casualty level" is versus your tactical goals.

MamaNeena: Two cards?? After looking over the board (we played again this morning...), I would say the fewest cards you could win in is 4 (per player).

I'm sure that site shows the precise answer in a table, in case I'm wrong, but I'd say you could get Princess Frostine, a double green, a double orange, and then a double purple, yellow, blue, or orange to win in four cards.

I just want to know why they didn't just go ahead and make a King Kandy card, for the immediate kill shot, which could conceivably drop right on the first turn. How awesome would that be??

Happyhoursue: See my comment to Christy above for the updated title for Her Majesty. I think if I was fitting through a hole that shape, much less that size, I'd need to do some serious self-reflection.

threeboys1mommy: What, no Texas Hold 'Em? Everyone's so nuts about it these days that they switched Bond's game to it in Casino Royale, for no acceptable reason.

jenboglass: Oh I am well-acquainted with Sorry. And I'm sorry for that. I still say Candyland is worse for its total simplicity.

Mrs. B. Roth: Really, never? You need to sign up for some monitoring by the Guinness Book people, because you are defying the laws of probability.

And hallelujah for your stance-- see my comments to Debbie and Laggin above for my support for this. We are siblings in arms, comrade.

Ringleader: Nooooooo! Never!! Step away from the edge. Just play 'em as they come, and tell the kid to hurry up or you win by forfeit. That will solve the time and boredom problem while also maintaining the integrity of the game. It's not like either of you need time between turns to strategize.

Miss Grace: The very idea of that freaks me out. My dislike/distain/distrust for becostumed characters is well-documented and unwavering. The worst thing about them, I've decided, is that they don't talk.

Who decided that was a better idea than doing bad impressions??

Animatronics are probably worse. This all makes me want to watch that episode of Simpsons where they go to Itchy and Scratchy Land.

Manager Mom: That sounds pretty sweet. You should get some sociologists to study you guys to see how that affects the parent-child dynamics. I think it could be a huge stress outlet as he reaches preteenagerhood (what a Frankensteinish word... not that "Frankensteinish" isn't as much or moreso...).

Deb: I'm glad I stopped by, too. I agree that Chutes and Ladders can get interminable, but I'll always have a soft spot for it because I used to play it all the time with my mom before we went out to meet the kindergarten bus.

You're lucky-- you were thatclose to beginning a new life with one hand and one paw.

Mrs4444: Just the other day, I made the executive decision to play the version where you ignore the pink picture cards that would send you backwards. It was just too heartbreaking for him, and too irritating to me whenever we got so tantalizingly close to finishing.

Tara R. said...

I cannot tell you how many stress related nightmares I've had due to post-Candyland-stress syndrome. My kids loved that game.

Swirl Girl said...

If Candlyland makes you this nuts- I'll forgoe the Shoots and Ladders story .... all I can say about that is "ray ray - bigger is not always better!"

Anonymous said...

I have an award for you at my blog. It's pink, but I think you are man enough to see past that!

LiteralDan said...

Tara: I'm thinking that Candyland-related nightmares would be absolutely terrifying. I bet you can't even walk through a checkout line without breaking into cold sweats and whimpering.

Swirl Girl: You never forgo a Chutes and Ladders story!! That's just a basic rule in life-- spill it!

blissfullycaffeinated: Hmmm... that depends-- pink like a dress shirt, or pink like a frilly tutu?

Either way, thanks!

Anonymous said...

I had no idea Candy Land was so well studied. It's so unfair, but so is "Life". No, seriously, I mean the game, "Life" - have you tried THAT one yet? It's painfully agonizingly long and labor intensive, and the kids LOVE it.

I just noticed a few comments from you that got waylaid into my Junk (for shame!) mailbox. So thx for stopping by, LD and I appreciate the bloggy treats!

TerriRainer said...

I HATE THAT GAME (cause I always lose)!

:) Terri

The Microblogologist said...

Reminds me of playing old maid with Daddy. He would totally play mind games by pulling one card up in his set. For awhile it was always the old maid then he started switching it up and it was totally unpredictable. Fun times, lol.

Mama Dawg said...

I love that movie. Jack won my heart in that movie, oddly enough.

LiteralDan said...

├╝berburber: It does seem to be surprisingly well studied, but I think that's just because it's a straightforward math game, like flipping a coin. There's absolutely no human element to it, no strategy, no decisions to make.

I'll admit I'm a fan of Life, though it is a long one. But I give it the edge over Monopoly, because that game drags on for hours with no end in sight, until someone resigns out of sheer exhaustion. At least Life is relatively finite. Just like the real thing.

That's weird... should I take that as a comment on my value as a person? Excuse me, I have some very dark poetry to go write (sniffle).

TerriRainer: I think you should start playing D-, because it's hard NOT to win most of the time.

The Microblogologist: I haven't played Old Maid in a long, long time-- I forgot it existed till now! I play those kind of mind games with J-, and that same one specifically when playing Epic Duels (awesome game). And here I thought I was so original...

Mama Dawg: I don't think it's that odd-- he always tries so hard for it. I'd like to see him really step outside of himself more. He did for the most part in About Schmidt, but it may be too late for him to really disappear into a role.

Anonymous said...

I realize that I shouldn't teach my kids that they always win by throwing games. I know it's wrong, (and just for the record, now that they're older, I don't do it anymore b/c we're out of the tantrum stage) and I admire your noble stance. HOWEVER, Candyland is pure torture and merits an exception (frankly, it used to bug the shit out of me!)

And yes, they definitely should've kept Queen Frostine as her name--what's with that?

Laura said...

I hate that lose a turn licorice crap.

LiteralDan said...

Christy: I bet they could sell even more Candyland boards by slapping a sticker on the front that says "Pure torture for parents!"

Maybe she angered the Queen Mum and somehow lost her title?

Floria Girl In Sydney: I do too, except when it buys me an extra turn to pull out a victory. It's happened at least twice. Man, the kid was dumbstruck.

If only it could have happened after a "ha ha". That would work way better than any lesson I could teach myself-- "See, now you feel like a f***ing idiot, don't you?"

And then the The More You Know music could play in the background, to make me look like a better parent.

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