Candyland Movement Expanded to 2 Dimensions


I got to thinking a little bit about Candyland's movement rules and how they could still be relevant in an modern board game. For a refresher: In Candyland, you play a card and move your pawn forward along a linear track, to the nearest colored space matching the played card.

An updated and elegant version of this mechanic is found in Cartagena (shown above). The players must still play cards and move their pawn forward, but the only way to draw new cards is to move backward along the track. Still, the track is linear and the game is very much a race to the finish.

Now I'm thinking about a point-to-point movement mechanic played on a hex map with various terrain types, gradating from beach, to plain, to suburb, to city, to mountain, to forest, and so on. In order to move to any part of the map, you may simply play a card matching the terrain type of your chosen destination. Want to go to the desert? Just play a desert card.

Here's the catch: You must pay for the journey by discarding one card for each new terrain between your current location and your destination. Any card will do, the discarded cards don't need to match the crossed terrain. They're just an abstract representation of the cost of movement. Thus, moving within the same terrain is free. Moving to a neighboring terrain costs one card. Moving from, say, desert to jungle costs a lot more.

I can see a pickup-and-deliver game using this mechanic. Tension can be added by including deliverable goods on the cards, thus you're not just spending fuel, you're spending precious cargo. Anyhoo, feel free to lift this mechanic for something you're working on. Might be useful!


  1. Oh, this is an intriguing idea. (Btw, I never made the connection between Candyland and Cartagena before.)

    I remember one thing Lewis Pulsipher said in a game design seminar: A good design exercise is to take a game that isn't very good and think of one rule change to make it significantly better. He went on to say that you don't have to stop at one, but the point was to try to think of the one crucial element that could turn a mediocre game into a good game. This idea of opening up the Candyland movement mechanic into two dimensions is really out-of-the-box.

  2. Thanks! Maybe it will be useful for someone out there. The main trick is figuring out how you earn more cards. That will be critical to the in-game economy.

  3. Inspired by this post I found a similar movement mechanic hiding in one of my children's game.

  4. That's awesome! I'd like to see some example diagrams, I'm not quite clear on how the movement works just from reading the text. Hope you pursue this idea!

  5. Sorry about that, I'll work up some examples and clear up the rules.


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