Candy Crusher – Come Out and Play 2015

For this particular iteration of Candy Crusher we incorporated a Victorian era theme, complete with costumes and era-appropriate sweets to mash on.

Rather than buy candy in advance, as we had usually done, we instead opted to visit a nearby store during our stay in New York. The summer heat, our rationale insisted, made the transportation of candy preemptively procured a risky and possibly worthless endeavor, as its warm and grubby hands could melt and ruin our goods during transport. Little did we know that this seemingly innocuous foe had far more woes in store for us, more than the simple transport mishap we’d cleverly foreseen.

But before recollecting the strike of woes from the summer heat, are a number of serendipitous finds and ideas. In a last-minute costume rush, we found that era-appropriate attire for our new assistant was difficult to find. I had the idea to stop by Party City, a place that after my advent out of cheesy themed birthday parties had slipped completely out of my life.

Upon visiting I saw lining one particular aisle a series of pinatas… and the stuffing its vital innards are made of. The heat also seemed to have placed pressure on the store as well. It held a 15 for $1 deal for a series of those old, cheap candies most people pass over for the more chemically altered, hyper-sweetened new, popular stuff.

Those cheap candies, however, were perfect for our era-conscious iteration. For all the old stuff, like strawberry candies, peppermints, butterscotch disks, all had their debut during the Victorian era. It was in the Victorian era that the very concept of candy could take off. And so, in its desperate heat-driven drive to sell these less-popular old-timer candies off quickly, we found a gold mine from which we could swiftly procure vast amounts of era-appropriate fare. In addition to all the wonderful sugar-glass-based candies we then, at the last minute, grabbed a number of m&m style dragees, a move that would save us later during our fight with the heat.

For this particular iteration it was also imperative that we do away with all that new-fangled plastic stuff, so the cheap floor tiles we’d used in our last two iterations were finally ditched for a new, fancy, stained wood board. It was pleasantly not as difficult as I’d imagined it would be. I learned during an attempt to make a checkered board that the cutting and pasting together of separate parts of different wood types was the only way to accomplish that particular effect. Nevertheless, the gold-pen lined dark-stained wood boards was not only a major aesthetic boost, but far easier to clean up. They also last far better, and we will definitely be using them in other iterations.

During the event itself, we originally were placed out in the sun. Though the first few initial runs went relatively fine, we then slowly found a number of candies did not respond well to smashing. As the heat continued to hang about our awesome wooden picnic basket, the candies not only had its internal structure affected, but began to visibly melt, gluing itself to one another and the cups they sat in. The chocolate dragees withered in the heat, giving way to a goopy interior with a single touch. All our wonderful sugar candies were like glass, stubbornly adhering to the board, and to the hammers, and refusing to shatter. The brittleness that we depended upon was gone, dissipated and morphed into a lethargic melt.

We finally had our station moved over under a tree, into the shade, and the effect of the addition of a bit of shade was enormous. The heat-driven frenzy and irate energy that was present before was gone, replaced with a calmer energy more conducive to our strategy-driven game. People were glad to have a moment to finally relax and sit in the shade.

The surviving chocolate dragees pulled themselves together in the shade, and in the end, they were the staples we could depend upon for the game. It was lucky that we had thought to pull a variety of different colored bags at the last minute. The second half of the run was much more pleasant, calmer, more together. The effect just a few degrees could have are impressive. Many who had played once would come again a second, even a third time to play again. We had to turn away people once the event had closed.

Temperature has definitely become one of many variables we will consider from hereon out for future iterations. We have now found a very reliable means of attaining candy in bulk at a very nice price point. We had fun presenting the game in costume, and had a lot of good memories. And we have very nice boards we plan to use in future iterations. Speaking of temperature and future iterations, incorporating dry ice or liquid nitrogen sounds like a fascinating way to ensure optimal candy brittleness for smashing!

Even the infamous Gummy Bear can’t resist the brittle-izing effects of bitter cold!