Each player takes the role of a famous pirate who has sailed his ship to the Candy Islands with nothing but one goal: to collect as many sweets as possible!
2-4 players, ages 7+
Playing time: 10 minutes
Designer: Jérémy Beron
Artwork: Christopher Matt
Publisher: Studio H
Candy Islands is a bidding game: each turn, players secretly place bids with bonbon cannonballs in order to collect new mercenaries or treasure chests filled with chocolate coins.
Between each two players is a stack of island cards, of which every new round the top one is turned face up. Players simultaneously take cannonballs and mercenaries in both of their hands, one to battle with their left neighbour, the other to battle with their right neighbour.
Once all players are ready, they reveal their charges, keeping them between their player screens and the island cards.
To resolve battles, players total their strength by adding the number of cannonballs and possibly the strength of mercenaries. The winner takes the island card and places it in front of their player screen, rewarding points at the end of the game, or if it is a ‘wanted’ card, receiving the matching mercenary token. Then players exchange their bids, meaning the cannonballs you fired go to your neighbours, allowing them to use them on the next turns. If you manage to acquire candy jars during the game, these are worth as many points as the largest or smallest number of cannonballs of the same colour you own at the end of the game. Players add these points to the ones on their treasure chest cards, and whoever has the most points wins the game!
Candy Islands is an accessible family game with beautiful artwork and a theme that captures the imagination of children, and thus is perfect to play together with them. The ages 7+ recommendation on the box seems right, but also adults will have a lot of fun playing this. The bidding is very straightforward but the powers of the mercenaries can add some unexpected twists, making it definitely a game where kids can compete equally with adults. The only downside for us is that it can only be played with a maximum of 4, but apart from that I see this hitting the table often on Sunday afternoons when gaming with the kids!