Candyman

Introduction

Candyman, also known as Drug Dealer, is a game in which playing-cards are used to assign secret roles to the players.

At least 4 players are needed and the game works best with 6 or more.

Setup

From a standard 52-card pack take one Ace, one King and enough numeral cards (2-10) so that you have the same number of cards as there are players. These cards are shuffled and each player draws one card and looks at it, without showing it to any other player.

  • The player who draws the Ace is the Candyman (or Drug Dealer).
  • The player who draws the King is the Cop (Police).
  • All the other players, who draw numeral cards, are Buyers (or Users).

Play and Objectives

The Candyman's aim is to sell candy to as many buyers as possible without being caught by the Cop. To sell candy, the Candyman makes eye contact with a buyer and winks at him or her. No player other than the Candyman is allowed to wink.

The Buyers' aim is to buy candy. The difficulty is that they do not initially know which of the other players is the Candyman. When a Buyer succeeds in buying candy by being winked at by the Candyman, the Buyer reveals his or her card, says "Sold!" (or "The deal has been made!") and retires from the game. The Buyer must not reveal who the Candyman is.

The Cop's aim is to identify and expose the Candyman as soon as possible, and at any rate before all the Buyers can buy candy. When the Cop thinks that he or she knows who is selling candy, the Cop can make an accusation, saying "busted" and naming and pointing at the accused player. This player must expose his or her card. If the accused player is really the Candyman, the round ends. If the accused player is a Buyer, the round continues. The Cop can make further accusations, although this may become more difficult, since after the first accusation everyone knows who the Cop is.

If your group of players finds winking inconvenient, you may agree to use some other sign for dealing, such as tapping your face.

Scoring

The game can be played without keeping score, but Bonnie Fishell's description included the following method of scoring, which reflects the aims of the players.

  • Candyman: +1 point for each successful deal, -2 points if busted.
  • Buyer: +1 point for buying candy or if wrongly accused by the cop. No points otherwise.
  • Cop: -1 point for each incorrect accusation, +2 points for a correct accusation.

Points can be added up from round to round, and the game continues for 15 rounds, or until a player has 21 or more points, or the players can agree some other ending condition.