Santa brought Noah both the Candy Land and Chutes & Ladders board games for Christmas last year. They’ve remained buried in our game closet, unopened and untouched since then. Jigsaw puzzles have been his poison of choice, and so every other game has sat gathering dust.

On Wednesday, he came trotting into my tiny and pathetic computer nook home office, Candy Land in tow. He asked me if we could play, declaring that he was now tired of puzzles. I really needed a break anyway, so we sat down at the kitchen table and opened ‘er up. We played no less than three hundred games of Candy Land, every one of them sprinkling nostalgic dust all over me in an attempt to counteract how tedious it was to repeatedly play the same game over and over.

We finally put the game away, and Noah asked if we could play it again the next day. Not knowing if I could choke down two days in a row of the same thing, I pulled out Chutes & Ladders, and explained how fun it was, showing him all the fun ladders and slides we’d get to climb up and slide down. In all truth, C&L was my game of choice as a kid, and I wanted him to make it his. He consented, and we made a plan to play it on Thursday after I picked him up from pre-school.

When game time came, I was determined to prove how awesome Chutes & Ladders was compared to Candy Land. It became a showdown. No sooner had we pulled the game board out, than Noah immediately expressed his preference for Candy Land instead. “No, no, no,” I assured him. “This one is super fun, too.”

He got pretty excited about the little characters. He pointed to two of them and said, “this one’s brown like me, and this one is yellow like you!”

He enjoyed playing with the pieces for a few minutes.

But that was as much fun as he seemed to have with it. I thought the spinner would be my sure-fire ticket to reeling him in, but it wasn’t. Since he hasn’t yet learned how to read numbers, he had no way to know what to do after he spun it, and that was frustrating to him since in Candy Land all he had to do was draw a card that showed him the next color to which he should move his piece.

Despite my best efforts, his heart was set on Candy Land, and there was no convincing him Chutes & Ladders was better. He sat in a sad puddle of boredom, anxious to be done humoring dad.

When the funny faces became more entertaining to him than the board game, I finally gave up and had him help me put Chutes & Ladders away.

We pulled Candy Land out of the box, and Noah immediately assigned us each to a piece. He set them down on the board and tenderly kissed each one. I began laughing and asked him what he was doing. He declared, “I love Candy Land!”

And you know what? It turns out he was right. Candy Land was more fun than Chutes & Ladders.

The best part of it all was Noah’s insistence that every time we jumped over each other we had to stop and scratch each other’s backs.
Noah may have won this battle, but I will win the war.
Dan Pearce, Single Dad Laughing
PS. What were your favorite games as a child? Which of these two games do you prefer? In all truth, they both make me nostalgic.