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Subject: Refreshing no-brainer rss

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Andres F. Pabon L.
Colombia
Bogotá
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Title: Can't Stop
Designer(s): Sid Sackson
Year: 1979
Original Publisher: Parker Brothers
Version Reviewed: Homemade Version

COMPONENTS

Note: this is a homemade version, so I'm just stating the elements I use to play here. There is nothing to review, though, as I haven't been able to find an original copy anywhere

Game board: I printed it in two A4 sheets. The game board depicts 11 columns of circular spots, arranged in a triangluar form. All columns highest spot has a number printed on it. The number of spots and the number printed on the top spot for each column are: (3, 2), (5, 3), (7, 4), (9, 5), (11, 6), (13, 7), (11, 8), (9, 9), (7, 10), (5, 11), (3, 12).

Player markers: I currently use caballeros from El Grande (small wooden cubes) as player markers. Each player must be handed 11 markers in his/her chosen color. Up to 5 players may play Can't stop, so you better have at least 55 markers, 11 in each of 5 different colors.

Advance markers: I use coins for these. You must use any kind of marker that look clearly different from the player markers. 3 markers must be used.

Dice: You must have 4 dice handy, although it doesn't matter if thy're the same color or not. It doesn't even matter if they have the same size!

GAMEPLAY

Players first roll a single die to determine the starting player.

At the start of a player turn, the player receives the 3 advance markers and the 4 dice, and rolls the 4 dice. Then, the player must chose two pairs, which determine two numbers from 2 to 11. For instance, if a player rolled 3, 4, 4 and 5, he/she could chose the numbers 7 and 9, or the numbers 8 and 8 (yes, a double number).

Once the numbers have been chosen, the player must place or move advance markers in the columns topped by the chosen numbers, if possible, following these rules:

(1) If the player has no player markers in the column, he/she places a new unused advance marker at the bottom of the column, if possible.

(2) If the player already has a player marker in the column, h/she places a new unused advance marker at the next spot of the column, following his existing player marker, if possible.

(3) If the player already has an advance marker on the column, he/she moves the advance marker one spot higher, and uses no new unused advance markers.

These rules apply to both of the numbers chosen. However, if the player only has one of the 3 markers left, and has 2 new columns to use, he/she must chose only one to apply the marker.

The player must then chose wether or not he/she wants to roll again. If he/she rolls again, he repeats the previous steps (chosing two pairs and advancing in the columns). However, if the player can't advance or place a marker with the chosen numbers, for whatever reason (no advance markers left for any of the possible numbers, no place to move the markers, or so on), the player must remove the advance markers and pass them and the dice to the next player, doing nothing this round. Thus, a player must chose wisely wether or not to roll again.

If the player doesn't roll again, he/she places (or moves, if they're present in the column) player markers to the spots where the advance markers remained, and passes both the 3 markers and the 4 dice to the next player.

If a player, as he/she passes, has a player marker in the top spot of any column, he/she claims that column. All remaining players remove their player markers, and the column can't be used during the rest of the game.

Once any player has 3 claimed columns, the game is over and he/she is the winner.

IMPRESSIONS

This is a great game, designed by the great master Sid Sackson. It's a game where only basic skills are required (anyone who can approximately calculate dice probability would be a pretty good player), but where luck is a welcomed element. That way, it' not a tactical/strategy game, but rather a light, almost beer and pretzels game which happens to be fun.

The game starts rather quickly, as players may advance anywhere they want. It's always wise, of course, advancing in at least one of the "easy" numbers (the ones most probable: 6, 7 and 8), as it can be used a a safe net while pursuing shorter but tougher columns.

As the game progresses and columns get claimed, things get tougher. Players may not use claimed columns, so your possibilities with the rolled dice get narrower. It's very likely players can't even advance on the first roll during the last rounds of the game, as it's likely they can't form any number not claimed before by themselves or their fllow players.

Obviously, the game gets even tighter with more players, as the most probable numbers get topped first, so at the end of the game, advancing is really tough.

The most important element here is beginning to reveal itself: tension. The game always have players making the tough decision of wether or not to make one more roll. It gets even tougher with fellow players playing chicken with the active player! devil

This is, again, not a tactical game. But it's a fun, light game which can be played as a filler (it's rather short, at 30-40 minutes), as a beer and pretzels game (at a family reunion, for instance), or even as a no brainer refreshment once every couple of gaming nights.
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Chris
United States
Huntington Station
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Nice review! Well written to boot.

The game is tactical if you play with Sid's 'blocking' variant.

I can't play any other way any more, unless with more than 4 players (which is generally less fun). With too many players try the 'sliding' variant.
 
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Christopher Yoder
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Liumas wrote:
The game is tactical if you play with Sid's 'blocking' variant.

You've got me interested, but I can't seem to find it on BGG, and Google isn't any help. Would you mind giving a quick summary?
 
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Jim Cobb
United States
Alpharetta
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visit rollordont.com for a free computer game with a challenging AI player!
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visit rollordont.com for a free computer game with a challenging AI player!
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Since you like Can't Stop, you might try playing my computer version. It's free, and includes the two variants that Sid Sackson mentioned for the game as well. Plus, a game only takes about three minutes to play, with the computer figuring out all the possible dice combinations and updating the board for you. And many people have told me that the computer AI player is a challenging opponent.

http://www.rollordont.com

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Chris
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Hi Christopher -

The 'blocking' and 'sliding' variants can be found in CantStopRules.pdf, in the files section.

But try the CantStopPokerSetEdition.pdf file instead - it includes the same variants, on only 2 pages complete, plus the change in scoring for 2/3/4 players (needing 5/4/3 columns, respectively, to win).

We never liked the 'betting' variant.
 
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mrbass
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Jim Cobb wrote:
Since you like Can't Stop, you might try playing my computer version. It's free, and includes the two variants that Sid Sackson mentioned for the game as well. Plus, a game only takes about three minutes to play, with the computer figuring out all the possible dice combinations and updating the board for you. And many people have told me that the computer AI player is a challenging opponent.

http://www.rollordont.com



I like playing this quite a bit. Yeah I know I didn't send you email but consider this my public thanks. I like playing this and when I beat the computer AIs I get a huge massive false self-esteem boost. Thanks Jim Cobb for the excellent java implementation of Can't Stop.
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Christopher Yoder
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Jim Cobb wrote:
Since you like Can't Stop, you might try playing my computer version. It's free, and includes the two variants that Sid Sackson mentioned for the game as well.

Actually, I already have that installed, but I never noticed the variations. Have to give that a shot sometime.

Liumas wrote:
The 'blocking' and 'sliding' variants can be found in CantStopRules.pdf, in the files section.

Aha; found it. For some reason, the Files section under the main page was only showing the first 10 entries with "Pg. 1/1" in the corner; clicking "Browse" brought up the full list of 14 entries. Anyway, thanks for the tip! I remembered seeing those variations from a couple of other threads, but didn't make the blocking/sliding connection at the time.

And we'll definitely try out the poker variation!
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Jim Cobb
United States
Alpharetta
Georgia
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visit rollordont.com for a free computer game with a challenging AI player!
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visit rollordont.com for a free computer game with a challenging AI player!
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I really like the "You must stop on unique spaces" variant. I tried to code a lot of special logic into "Roll Or Don't" to deal with this variant, but after a lot of testing, it seemed the AI did better just playing in the normal way. I've got a new idea about how to improve this, however, which I'm going to have to try before the next version comes out.
 
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