How to Play
To be the first player to reach the finish line or eliminate all of the other players.
Separate the Dash N Bash and Special Treat cards and shuffle both sets of cards. Flip over the top card from the Dash N Bash deck. If the top card only pictures one piece of candy that candy will be special candy for this game. If the card features two pieces of candy or is a special card, draw another card until you get a card featuring only one piece candy.
Each player selects a gingerbread playing piece and takes a status sheet along with a writing utensil. All of the players put their playing piece on the start space.
The oldest player gets to go first and play then proceeds clockwise.
To start the player’s turn they draw a card from the Dash N Bash deck. The symbol shown on the card determines where the player moves their piece. The current player moves their piece to the next space featuring the symbol on the card that was drawn. Players can move forwards or backwards.
If the card shows two candies the player moves to the next symbol of one of the candies and then the next symbol of the other candy. The player can choose which candy to move to first.
If the card shows one of the candy characters, the player moves to the corresponding space on the game board. If the player draws a “Candy Cage Match” card they move to the nearest candy space that has a burst graphic around it and they will start a “Candy Cage Match” (explained later).
When a player moves past or lands on a space occupied by one or more player’s tokens, the player has the ability to attack all of the characters (once each) they passed on landed on the same space as. If a player starts their turn on the same space as another player they get to attack that player before they move on their current turn.
When attacking another player the player draws another Dash N Bash card. The symbol(s) on the card indicate where the player attacks the other player. If for example the player draws a candy corn card, they will done one point of damage to the other player’s candy corn section. If a character card or a “Candy Cage Match” card is drawn the attacking player gets to deal two damage to the body part of their choice. The player who was attacked marks off the damage on their status sheet.
If all of the boxes are crossed off one section, that limb is in danger of being lost. If another point of damage is applied to that section that body part is lost for the rest of the game. If a player loses all of their body parts they are eliminated from the game.
Special Treat Cards
During movement if a player draws a card that features one candy and the candy matches the “special” candy drawn during setup, the player gets to take a special treat card.
Most special treat cards are used to replace normal combat. These cards are played and discarded after their effect has been applied. Whatever is printed on the card is followed even if it breaks one of the other rules of the game.
Some of the special treat cards are unique though and are not immediately discarded. These special cards include the following terms on the cards:
- Equip: This card is assigned to a specific limb of your character. The cards affects stay in effect until either the limb that it is attached to is destroyed or the piece of equipment is removed from the player from another card’s effect.
- Ranged: Players can attack other players within the specified range even if they otherwise would not have been able to attack a player.
- Defense: These cards are played when another player attacks you and the effects on the card are applied to the combat.
- Play At Any Time: These cards can be played at anytime even during other player’s turns.
Candy Cage Match
When a player ends their turn on a space featuring a candy surrounded by a burst, they force another player of their choice to the space they occupy and a candy cage match begins.
In a candy cage match both players attack each other. Starting with the player who initiated the candy cage match, each player takes turns drawing Dash N Bash cards and applying the damage to the other character like in normal combat. No special treat cards may be used during a candy cage match. The candy cage match continues until a player draws a card that has a symbol matching the symbol on the space they currently occupy. The player who draws this card does the associated damage and then moves to the space that matches the card drawn.
If a candy cage match is drawn during a candy cage match another player is brought into the combat. The player who drew the card also gets to deal two damage to the body part of their choice of either player. The game continues until only one player remains in the candy cage match.
Winning the Game
A player automatically wins the game if all of the other players are eliminated from the game.
The other way to win the game is to reach the finish line. Before reaching the finish line though players will have to face off against the twins. The last nine spaces of the game board are the twin spaces. At the beginning of any turn that a player is on one of the final nine spaces, the twins will attack the player. The twins draw the top four cards and deal the associated damage according to normal combat rules. If a player is able to make it to the finish line without being destroyed they will win the game.
Most people probably remember the game Candy Land from their childhood. From the Gumdrop Mountains to Candy Castle a lot of people have fond memories of Candy Land. While people can have fond memories of the game, you have to admit that Candy Land itself is not a very good game. The outcome of the whole game is predetermined before the game even begins based on how the cards are shuffled. The whole game revolves around following directions printed on the cards which means that players don’t make any decisions in the entire game.
This brings us to Run For Your Life Candyman. The creator Curt Covert must have either loved or hated Candy Land as a child since he created a game that is a complete parody of Candy Land. The gameplay follows that of Candy Land with players drawing cards in order to determine where they move on the game board. The game’s main goal appears to be making fun of Candy Land. Gone are the cute characters and whimsical locations. Instead you get hungry children (that want to kill you) and gingerbread men that are trying to maim or kill one another. Run For Your Life Candyman is essentially the teen/adult version of Candy Land. While the game seems to have a good idea of the issues that plague Candy Land, the game suffers from most of the same issues.
The biggest problem with the game is the movement. The one mechanic that Run For Your Life Candyman takes from Candy Land is the one mechanic that ruins the game. While the game has a tiny bit of strategy with regards to movement, it still relies almost entirely on luck. If you draw cards that let you move faster than the other players you are going to win the game. The special spaces in particular are huge in the game. If you get to move to one of the spaces towards the end of the board you will get out to a huge lead where no other players can catch you. On the other hand you could keep drawing the cards that keep sending you back to the beginning of the board which means that you can make no progress. While the combat mechanic is interesting (more on this later), in the two games I have played the combat rarely ever came into play because one player got lucky and drew a card that put them way out in front and they then just strolled to the finish line.
The one “unique” thing about the movement in Candyman is that you can either move forward or backward on your turn. In almost every situation you are going to want to move forward so there really isn’t much strategy with regards to movement. Basically you just move to the next space that matches the card drawn. If you draw a card that has two candies on it you just figure out which way moves you further and choose that option. While there technically are decisions to be made, 90-95% of the time your decision is obvious.
On top of all of that movement in the game is just so chaotic. At one moment you can be moving along at a steady pace and then you draw one of the special cards. You then either move forward or backwards a lot of spaces. You can very easily move from first to last and last to first. It just feels like movement is pointless since the special cards drive all of the substantial movement in the game.
The movement in Run For Your Life Candyman is better than Candy Land but not by much.
Let’s move onto the combat. While the combat could have been a lot more complex, I actually think it was an interesting idea to add to the game. I just wish there was more to the combat other than drawing cards just like with movement. The combat is the only thing that adds any strategy to the game though. I like that the combat actually gives players some options in the game.
The two things I liked most about combat in the game was the candy cage matches and equipment. I don’t know why but it is kind of funny to see two gingerbread men wailing on one another blow after blow. The candy cage matches are also one of the few areas where combat actually matters since quite a bit of damage could be dealt in a candy cage match.
The biggest problem I had with the combat is that it never really comes into play. I have played the game twice and at max one player may have lost one limb in the entire game. No player has ever come close to being eliminated from the game through combat. I attribute this mostly to the special movement cards since in both games one of the players got out to a huge lead and no players could catch up to actually fight them before they crossed the finish line.
Outside of players getting so far ahead that you can’t attack them, the other problem with combat is that it just doesn’t feel like it is worth it. If you can attack a player during normal movement you obviously are going to do it but it really doesn’t pay to go out of your way to attack an opponent. Combat doesn’t really matter since each gingerbread man has too much health which means that it will be really hard for any player to actually kill another gingerbread men. Plus there is no penalty for losing a body part so damaging an opponent doesn’t really hinder them. The game should have really found a way where losing body parts would actually affect a player.
So Run For Your Life Candyman is not a very good game. It is better than Candy Land though. The problem with the game is that it just relies way too much on luck. Since combat really doesn’t factor into the game, whoever draws the right cards at the right time is going to win the game. If you want to play the game as an actual game you are probably going to be disappointed though.
This brings me to the fact that Run For Your Life Candyman is a parody game so it might have some redeeming qualities. While I didn’t find the game to be particularly funny, it could work as a parody game that you play a couple times as a joke that is making fun of Candy Land. In the right situations you could have some fun with the game. I don’t think the fun will last that long though.
Finally the components for the game are decent. I actually think the artwork was well done. The game does a good job parodying Candy Land while still remaining pretty family friendly. Being from a smaller publisher though the quality of the components is not as good as you would expect from larger publishers. Some of the components feel kind of cheap. The spaces are too small on the game board since it is really hard to even fit the playing pieces on individual spaces. I give the game credit though for having a PDF copy of the status sheets that you can print off from their website if you ever run out of status sheets.
Run For Your Life Candyman tried to be a humorous take on Candy Land. The game has actually improved on Candy Land but not as much as you would hope. The movement is just as bad as it is in Candy Land. The combat is an interesting idea but doesn’t really impact the game very much. Basically the game’s outcome comes down to who is luckiest. The gameplay itself is not that great in Run For Your Life Candyman.
Since Run For Your Life Candyman is a parody game though the game has some value if you are looking for a humorous take on a childhood favorite. If you have the right group you can maybe have some fun with the game making fun of many issues that Candy Land has. I don’t see the fun lasting more than a couple games at max though.
If the game doesn’t sound that interesting to you I would recommend avoiding Run For Your Life Candyman. If you can find the game for cheap though and want a couple laughs you could maybe have some fun with Run For Your Life Candyman.
If you would like to purchase Run For Your Life Candyman, you can purchase it on Amazon here.