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Startup Monday: The Arlington Couple Behind The “Candygrams” Board Game

Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow.com, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups and their founders, plus other local technology happenings. The Ground Floor, Monday’s office space for young companies in Rosslyn, is now open. The Metro-accessible space features a 5,000-square-foot common area that includes a kitchen, lounge area, collaborative meeting spaces, and a stage for formal presentations.

Arlington couple Anaïs Ortiz and Johnny Landers had played just about every board game together. When thinking about what to play next, a thought occurred — what if they made their own?

After two years of trial and error (and a move to Los Angeles), Candygrams was born. The award-winning strategy board game starts with a set of 25 letter tiles. Players then roll color-coded die that determines which of their tiles they can use to build a crossword, and the first player to use all of their tiles wins.

“Johnny and I know Arlington like the back of our hand — we went through the public school system, and actually met at H-B Woodlawn,” said Ortiz. “When we decided to launch Candygrams, we knew we had the support of the Arlington community would have our backs.”

Since the game launched in 2018, it’s won six national gaming awards. The game can be bought online and is also stocked in three area stores: Sun & Moon Yoga (3811 Lee Hwy), Trade Roots (5852 Washington Blvd), and Kinder Haus Toys (1220 N. Filmore Street). 

“Needless to say, we’re excited about the holiday season,” said Ortiz. “There’s been a huge uptick in the [board game] industry, and Candygrams is no exception.”

The couple is already in the planning process for another game, this time card-based and focused on the “winds and sands of an iconic national park.”

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