- Number of Plays: 15
- Game Length: 30 minutes
- Mechanics: Push your luck, Dice Rolling
- Release Year: 1980
- Designer: Sid Sackson
- Artist Heiko Günther, Gabriel Laulunen (II), Walter Pepperle, Klaus Wilinski
I am not a gambling man. Back when I lived in Winnipeg, I had friends whose idea of a good night out is to go to the casino for a couple hours. They don’t mind losing money as to them, it’s just the price of admission for a evening out, not unlike going to a nice restaurant or out to a movie theatre. Sometimes, when they do win and I see them filled with an unmatched level of jubilation, you almost can’t help but see their point of view. After all, if it brings them joy and they aren’t going into debt, is it all that bad?
I didn’t hang around those friends long enough to answer those questions, but I did confirm that I don’t like going to the casino. It’s not the bright lights, or constant noise of chimes and bells, or the bright flashing screens in dark rooms that irk me. It’s seeing people just drop literally hundreds of dollars into a machine and watch their number of credits slowly plummet to 0. I’d watch as their shoulders would slump, they’d just gather their jackets and meander away. It breaks my heart to see others risk so much and lose it all.
The first time I went to the casino I put $20 into a machine. After 3 spins I won a minor prize, getting $400 back. I promptly cashed out then went to the bar and ordered nachos, which sustained me for the rest of the night. Each time I was subsequently invited to the casino I didn’t feel compelled to gamble again. I was already ahead, I had won and the money was in my pocket. I had no desire to put the money that was in my pocket into one of the machines where I likely wouldn’t be able to recoup my investment. When I sat at the bar and ordered nachos, at least I got something for my money.
Can’t Stop is a push your luck game that sets my heart a flutter. While I don’t gamble in real life, I grin ear to ear when pushing my luck, gambling my progress to get further and further ahead.
How to Play
Can’t Stop’s board consists of 11 tracks, numbered 2 – 12. Each track has a different number of spaces between the start and the top of the track (the 2 and 12 spots only have 2 spaces in-between the bottom and top, while the 7 track has over a dozen). On your turn you roll 4 die, and pair them up in any way you want. After pairing up your die, you can either place one of your three white pawns on the board, or move the white pawns up the tracks that match the number of the paired die.
It’s a long way to the top
After each roll and subsequent move, you have the option to stop your turn and save your progress, or roll again, hopefully advancing further up on the tracks. If you choose to stop, you replace the white pawns with ones of your colour and pass the die onto the next player.
If you roll your die that can’t be paired in a way that match any of the tracks your white pawns are on, you’ve busted. Remove your white pawns from the board, and pass the dice and white pawns to the next player.
3 and 9, 8 and 4, or 5 and 7?
The first person to get three of their coloured pawns to the top of the board is the winner. Only one person can summit each of the columns, so if you and your opponent are neck and neck near the top of one track and they get to the top first, your pawn is removed from that column, and no white pawns may be placed on those columns going forward.
I, first experienced Can’t Stop on Board Game Arena. They use Can’t Stop as their demo for the platform, and it quickly became one of my most played games. I’ve played over 60 games over the past few years any my enthusiasm hasn’t waned this entire time.
The crux of Can’t Stop is that if you roll the die and the sum any of the pairs don’t match the columns you’ve committed to for this round, you’ve lost all progress for the turn. It’s a race, and one that can be won in a single turn if you’re lucky enough. More often, however, you’ll find that you push your luck one turn too far, and whatever powers that control the dice are swift in their punishment.
Ha, Green keeps busting! Wait, I’m Green…
Can’t Stop is a clever game that will have you shouting and egging your opponents on before long. You’ll be jostling the four cubes in your hand while biting your lip trying desperately to convince yourself that you should take another turn; you should push yourself one step closer to victory! Your friends will cry out for you to end your turn, or if they feel you’re in a precarious position, that you absolutely should roll those dice again. As soon as you choose to roll and the dice leave your hand, everyone holds their breath. The dice settle and you frantically start adding them together, desperately searching for any combination that will move at least one of your white markers and keep you alive for the turn.
Can’t Stop pairs well with my morning coffee
I understand that I am a ris- adverse person and I’ve come to accept it. I’ll never win big at the craps table, and I’ll never win the lottery (after all, in order to win you have to play). For me, push your luck games such as Can’t Stop are a perfect distillation of what it means to gamble. The emotions in the room are powerful when you risk everything and pull off an against-all-odds roll, pushing your white pawns to the top of their tracks. Those are the glorious moments that I remember long after Can’t Stop has been put back into it’s box. Yes, it can feel frustrating when you roll 4 ones after placing all of your white pawns on higher numbers. However the sting of the randomness is quickly eclipsed by the excitement of a fantastic win. Can’t Stop is a great game that can and should be played with everyone everywhere.