Learning how to cheat at Candy Land

Raymond Chen

My young niece received the game Candy Land and wants to play it several times a day. Naturally, I am frequently drafted as an opponent. I discovered that my niece cheats rampantly. Sometimes, she will advance three green squares instead of two. Or if a yellow card will take her to a licorice square (lose a turn), she will ignore it and go to the yellow square after that. But the best cheating takes place when she draws a pink location card which sends her backward. My niece is always careful to draw the card and turn it so only she can see what it is. If the card is an unfavorable one, she will hide it under her knee and tell me, “Hey, go play with the baby for a little bit.” I naturally oblige, and when I return after a few seconds, her location card has magically changed into a two-green card or something else comparatively harmless. I found this change in personality surprising. In earlier encounters, she was happy to share in the winning. In fact, sometimes, while resetting a game after winning, she would say, “Okay, you win this next one.” And she would let me win! Anyway, after one of the games of Candy Land which she won (actually, she wins every game), I declined to play another because she was cheating. She pled with me, “Okay, this time, no cheating.” I agreed to play another game. In the game that followed, she cheated five times, even more than in the previous game. She wanted to play again. “I’m serious, I’m not cheating now.” In the “I’m serious, no cheating” game, there was, I will concede, technically no cheating during game play. Instead, she stacked the deck. Perhaps I need to study up on how to cheat at Candy Land. I could mark the cards or go for one of the more advanced methods.

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