Can’t Stop is a game that I recovered from my parent’s house. I can’t recall really playing it as a kid, and I wish I would have because it’s pretty fun! You roll 4d6 and then make 2 pairs of the dice, and add the numbers up. Then you have to place markers in those two columns of the board. Each column is associated with a number, and each column’s length is dependent on where it falls of the probability bell curve. For example, there are more spaces in the 7 column than any other, and 2 and 12 have an equal number of spaces (2), as do all of the “opposing” numbers (eg 3 & 11, 6 & 8). You have to place 2 of the 3 white markers in the columns you choose based on the dice you rolled, and then you roll again. You make another pair of numbers and place them in the columns you’ve already chosen. If you can’t place them there (or choose not to), you then place your third marker. At this point, you have to be able to advance a marker up a number’s column each roll, or you lose all the progress you’ve made so far. So you get a “press your luck” kind of effect.
The game is fun! I enjoy the “press your luck” effect, and there’s a strategy in deciding which columns to go for, taking into consideration where your opponent is. Because if you’re fighting for a column, the one who gets to the top claims it, and all the effort other players have put into this column is lost to them (their markers are removed). The first person to close out 3 of the 12 columns like this is the winner. As you may have discerned by this point, it’s a 2 to 4 player game.
The first game I won by taking 12, 6, and some other number. John had closed out at least one number as well. The second game I won by closing out 6, 7, and 8 (playing the center). While they all remain open, you can really run with this one, since they’re the most probable numbers. You can’t run forever though =) It’s kind of like the old joke:
A man and his son are hiking in the woods. The man is an experienced hiker, and his son is just getting into the activity. The man is wearing a nice, sturdy set of hiking boots. He notices that his son is wearing a pair of running shoes.
“Son” the man says, “why are you wearing running shoes? Wouldn’t your hiking boots be more appropriate?”
“But Dad” says his son, “I hear there are bears in these woods.”
“Surely you don’t think you’ll be able to outrun a bear, son!” exclaims his father. “Why, bears can run at speeds of up to 35 miles an hour!”
A sly smile crosses the boy’s face. “I don’t have to outrun the bear, Dad. I just have to outrun you.”
In fact, if you can maintain a “safe” lead on your opponent while enticing him to think that he might just be able to pass you, you can kill two birds with one stone. This requires a fairly early presence in the three center tracks, and probably won’t work when you’re past the half point before he starts in. Also, if you maintain an even distribution (if you can), you’ll move more slowly and are more likely to have a column stolen from you. So you may have to jump-start one of them to keep ahead, hence closing it out early and making the probability of getting a “center three” that much less.
All in all I enjoyed the game, and I think it’ll hit the table again soon. It has an unfortunately large form factor (my copy is from 1980). I don’t know if the reissue by Face2Face games is any smaller. It looks the same (the “Stop Sign” design). John really liked it, and thought it’d be a hit at his house.
(originally posted to my blog)
Our group has just recently begun playing Can't Stop, and it's become one of our most popular "filler" games. For a game based solely on the rolling of four dice, it does offer the players tough choices along with some subtle tactics. It really is fun, and that's what gaming should be all about.