Dale Yu: First Impressions of Candy Lab

Candy Lab

  • Designer: Thomas Danede
  • Publisher: Funnyfox
  • Players: 2-4
  • Age: 8+
  • Time: 15 mins
  • Played with review copy provided by publisher/distributor

In Candy Lab, players are competing employees in a candy factory.  You are each trying to be the best at filling to orders for the brightly colored candy bars.  Unlike Lucille Ball, no one is going to have to eat the candies – just put them in boxes!  The game includes 27 colored candy bars (in pink, blue and yellow) – which are randomly arranged in a line on the table.  This represents the conveyor belt of produced candies. The deck of order cards is shuffled and each player is dealt a hand of 5 cards.  A supply of three cards is put face up on the table along with the remaining deck of order cards.

On a turn, you get to take one action from a menu of three choices:

A] Play a card from your hand to finish an order.  Take three consecutive candy bars from the conveyor belt which exactly match the arrangement of the bars on your card.  (You card can be read in two ways, just flip it around!).  Push the remaining candy bars back together. If your collected candy bars have special actions on them, take them in any order.  The possibilities include:

  • Draw a new order card
  • Discard a card from another player
  • Put someone else’s candy bar back in line
  • Discard the last scored card of another player
  • Exchange your hand with someone else

Place the collected candy bars in front of you

B] Put 1, 2 or 3 of your candy bars back into play.  Draw as many cards as equal to the sum of the numbers in the middle of the bars which were put back.  The newly replaced candy bars can only be added to the ends of the line.

C] Draw a single card – but only if you cannot play any of your current cards AND you have no candy bars to put back into line.

The game ends when someone collects the last candy bar from the line.  The player who does this gets a 3VP Gold Candy cane card.  The game can also end if someone draws the last card from the draw pile; no one gets bonus candy canes in this case.  The players score points for their finished order cards (VP in the top center) as well as for the numeric value of each of their candy bars still in their possession.  The player with the most points wins.  Ties go to the player with the most points from candy bars.

My thoughts on the game

I thought at first that this would be a trifle of a game. I mean, man it doesn’t look like there is anything to it.  Just look at your cards, grab the three bars that must surely match one of your cards and the game will be over before you know it! In reality, that isn’t actually the case. While certainly there was a lot of claiming at the start of the game, soon players were forced to put candies back into the line as they weren’t able to play any cards.

The candy bar actions can be a bit targeted, so if you’re a magnet for such attacks, be forewarned that you’re gonna get hit in this game.  Hopefully the targeted attacks all even out, but there’s nothing in the game to force that to happen.

The bits are nice and solid, and I love the fact that the colors are quite distinct (both on the plastic pieces as well as the cards).

The game plays quickly – and these is a nice ebb and flow between collecting candy bars to score your initial cards but then putting them back into the line to be able to draw more cards.  However, with each iteration of this, fewer bars go back into the line than what leave, and the row of candy bars constantly shrinks down.  In my  games so far, the only time when things might slow down is at the very end as people might try to come up with an angle to not let the next person clear out the row (and score the VPs for the golden candy cane)…

The game was a bit on the simple side for my all adult group, but it went over really well with my young nephews, and honestly, I think that this is the target audience for this game.  In that group (so long as the youngsters are OK with being hit with some of the negative actions), Candy Lab is likely to be a sweet success…

Until your next appointment

The Gaming Doctor

About Dale Yu

Dale Yu is the Editor of the Opinionated Gamers. He can occasionally be found working as a volunteer administrator for BoardGameGeek, and he previously wrote for BoardGame News.
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