|Release Date: 2023||Players: 3-4|
|Designer: Dickie Chapin||Length: 15-45 minutes|
|Artist: Katarzyna Cywicka||Age: 10+|
|Publisher: Envy Born Games||Complexity: 1.0 / 5|
|Plastic (by weight): <1%||Air (by volume): 15%|
“I got candy!” comes the shout. Taken aback, you look across the counter and see the eager and very happy face of the youngster staring up at you. Another sugar-loving customer has come to your amazing sweet shop to pick and mix their favourite delights. Below the face, on outstretched arms, cradled in cupped hands are 16 Candies by Dickie Chapin from Envy Born Games.
16 Candies Tops
After having reviewed Defrag, one of the other games in the series, I was hopeful that 16 Candies would be on a par. Of course, the two games are very different and designed by different people, which is good to see in a collection of games that you can buy together. Yet, for some reason, I thought there would be some sort of similarities.
The third game in the Tiny Game Series published by Envy Board Games, but the second game that I reviewed, 16 Candies is a simple little card game about collecting the most sweets. On your turn, you can draw either the top card from the face-up discard pile or the top card from the face-down draw deck. As you add the card to your hand, you orient it either end up, because each end has different candies on it. Then you discard a card from your hand to the face-up discard pile.
Instead of drawing a card, you can just shout “I’ve got candy!” and reveal your hand. Then everyone else gets one more turn to try and beat your number of candies of the same type shown at the top end of your cards. If nobody manages to get more candies than you, you gain two liquorice pieces, otherwise, you lose a certain number. Similarly, the other players lose liquorice if they didn’t beat your candies. At least in principle, that’s how it works. The scoring is a bit more complicated than that, but ultimately, if you have no liquorice left, you’re out of the game, which continues until only one player has liquorice in front of them.
That’s all simple enough and makes it the perfect family game that you can easily explain to pretty much anyone without too much trouble. You can even decide to play the first round with open hands, in case anyone has any concerns. However, it’s probably best to just go in and see how it goes. You’ll definitely pick it up while you play.
The illustrations are really fitting, with bright, sickly-sweet colours and a very cartoony style. Everything is bright and colourful, just like the sweets in a sweet shop. You can almost smell the chocolate buttons and hear the rustle of the plastic wrappers around the boiled sweets.
Unfortunately, there are a few things that make the game feel not quite developed enough. Maybe I’m being a bit harsh. 16 Candies is clearly supposed to be a very simple game offering a bit of fun for a relatively short amount of time. That’s one of the issues I have though. While the rules are really simple, there is no specific time limit to a round, let alone the game overall. Players could easily keep drawing cards until they are confident that they have the most sweets. The game does have a specific rule to try and stop that from happening, but that rule feels like an afterthought to fix the problem. It’s a rough edge that needed filing down.
The other issue is player elimination. While that doesn’t have to be problem, in 16 Candies you will have to wait a fair amount of time before the game ends. So if you do lose your liquorice, you probably just want to leave the table and play a different game, while the others carry on. Player elimination really only works for short games.
The rules are also not quite refined. Especially the scoring at the end of a round took a while to get used to.
If you win, you get two liquorice pieces, but if you lose, it depends on whether you have the most sweets or are in the middle. Sometimes you lose nothing, at other times you lose an amount of liquorice based on what is printed on the cards you have in your hand. If you triggered the end of a round by calling “I’ve got candy!” but don’t end up having the most candy, you lose liquorice in a similar way, but you lose an extra one – or something like that.
It took me a good few rounds to finally know how much liquorice everyone would get or lose. Writing this review now, I’ve forgotten how it all works.
I also couldn’t quite work out what happens when someone ends a round on the special rule. I assume they gain two liquorice, while everyone else loses a certain amount based on their hand. That’s how we played it, but it wasn’t really clear to me.
The rules also feel a bit long for a game of this type. I would expect maybe one or two rules and that’s it.
As I say, maybe I’m being a bit harsh and was spoilt by the joy that Defrag provided me with. Maybe I’m taking 16 Candies too seriously. I guess, if you just play it for a little bit of fun, you’ll really enjoy it. Maybe I just need to loosen up a bit.
Anyway, if you’re looking at the Kickstarter and are enticed by Defrag and curious about Sirens, which I’ve yet to review, then adding 16 Candies to the basket probably won’t hurt. Just make sure you brush your teeth.
- 16 Candies: https://www.
kickstarter. com/ projects/ 854354559/ sirens-defrag-and-16-candies-a-tiny-game-series
- Envy Born Games: https://envyborngames.
- BGG listing: https://boardgamegeek.
com/ boardgame/ 376932/ 16-candies
- Defrag review: https://tabletopgamesblog.
com/ 2023/ 09/ 23/ defrag-saturday-review/
Transparency FactsI feel that this review reflects my own, independent and honest opinion, but the facts below allow you to decide whether you think that I was influenced in any way.
- I was sent a free review copy of this game by the publisher.
- At the time of writing, neither the designers, nor the publisher, nor anyone linked to the game supported me financially or by payment in kind.
Intro Music: Bomber (Sting) by Riot (https://www.
License code: DKC9LBMO7DQBYAP6
Music by: https://www.bensound.com/free-music-for-videos
License code: SJUUXFF3USZQHLEB
These are the songs I listened to while I was writing this review: