Friday, November 1, 2013

Classics Lecture Series: Game Etiquette - Candy Land

If I come across a young person who wants to play Candy Land I will play it with them.  But Dr. Wictz you say, the players make  no choices.  The entire game is one really long fancy dice roll to see who wins.  There is no reason you should torture a kid by playing this game.


That, my friend, is where you are wrong.  Because Candy Land teaches important skills needed to build a “good game player.”   I know you are thinking I am crazy, but hear me out on why Candy Land builds a good board game player.


Do not change the rules…follow the rules.  Admit it, as a child you were tempted to change the rules mid game if you thought it would help you win.  This temptation is even worse for kids playing Candy Land today because the game now includes a series of optional rules.  Must a player send their piece back to the beginning by drawing the Plum Gingerbread Tree card or can we ignore it because it makes the piece move backward?  
Once we agree upon the rules of the game that is it.  Success and failure in the game is going to come from how well each player responds to the constraints placed in front of them.
Learn to wait for your turn.  “I want to go.”  I am sorry little Jack but you have to wait your turn.  Playing board games requires a certain level of patience.  Patience is not something everyone is inherently born with, it is something that is taught through practice and repetition.
Don’t be a sore loser. (don’t flip the table).  When you play a board game you do not always win.  This is particular true in Candy Land where there is no skill.  If everyone plays the game enough times they will eventually lose and they will have to deal the emotions of not being victorious.
Don’t be a sore winner. (Don’t rub it in their faces) Winning brings good feelings, and expressing one's’  joy over a hard fought match is warranted. But  just as in losing, winning is only for that game session. So celebrate, but extended victory dances are frowned upon.
Finish the game.  Just because you are not doing well does not mean you should quit.  Not finishing the game when you are going to lose is unfair to the other players who in the past have finished the game when they themselves face a long shot of coming back in the game.  

These qualities are not easily taught, and any chance I have to pass them on playing Candy Land to the next generation of gamers is time well spent.

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