Back in the summer of 2009 I wrote an article on one of my FAVORITE dice games: Can’t Stop by Sid Sackson. In this article I mentioned that I got my copy back in 2007 and it wasn’t going to be the easiest game to find — but good news for all, NOW IT IS!
You can scroll down to read my original review, but before that I’d like to rave about it’s new design. The new Gryphon Games version is on the right and the older Face2Face games version is on the left in the pictures below. (*there are many older versions of Can’t Stop, this just happens to be my older copy.)
The games looks pretty similar but there are several improvements that I really appreciate. First and by far the most important, the movers are so much easier to hold. Maybe it’s the Industrial Designer in me, but the old game’s movers irked me — but since I loved the game so much I overlooked that they were small and really hard to hold. When I heard that Gryphon Games was redoing Can’t Stop I was praying they redid the movers — and they did! The new movers are taller and don’t nest as well but that actually makes it easier to see whose piece is stacked underneath. (see picture at the top of the page for the new version, and scroll down to see the old pieces in action.) I also appreciate the built in cups in the plastic box insert — they’re not necessary, but boy are they handy! And when you lift the board up the insert has a spot for the dice and the “runners” which is nice too. Overall, the only negative I could find is that the new version is a tad bit larger box (13×13) — now, in all fairness, it was already a large game box (12×12) so does the extra inch of height and width make a difference? Not really. So go, buy, enjoy and win! (Updated game stats are listed after the 2009 review below.)
My July 2009 Review:
Today’s pick is Can’t Stop by Sid Sackson. Currently this dice games tops tall the others because I’m just so addicted to it and it’s an oldie but a goodie. It was originally published in 1980 by Parker Brothers but was reprinted by Face 2 Face games back in 2007 and that’s when I got my copy.
The game is so easy to learn and play. You’re trying to move your pieces from the bottom of the board to the top in columns numbered 2-12. There are only 3 spaces in the 2 and 12 columns and 13 in the 7 column and since 7s are the easiest to roll using a pair of standard dice, it makes sense. The board is shaped like a giant stop sign which is a little ugly, but the shape easily lends itself to the bell curve that defines the odds in rolling dice. So on a turn, you get 4 dice to roll and once rolled, you choose how to pair up the dice so it’s most advantageous to you. Then you use 3 “runners” to move your pieces up the columns towards the top of the board. And since there are only 3 runners you can only attempt 3 columns per turn. The “Can’t Stop” part of the game comes in when you are holding the dice saying “I can roll just one more time, just once more, I can get a 2,7 or 9…then I’ll stop.” You end up saying the same thing turn after turn until you gain some willpower to actually stop and move your pieces to where your runners are or you bust and don’t roll a 2,7,9 and the runners are removed from the board and without any advancement of your pieces, you pass the four dice to the next player and say “why did I keep going?!”
As the game progresses people who are really lucky or have the “slow and steady” mentality start to close out columns by reaching the top first. Once a player closes out a pre-determined number of columns they win. (The number of columns depends on the number of players.)
The thing about this game that I love isn’t that I have to fight my dice addiction to have a chance of winning – no, it’s that there is some luck mixed with a little mental game too. The question becomes, how far in the lead do I have to be in a column before I should start working in other columns? It kind of depends on how if your opponents are lucky, but also how gutsy they are. It really makes me kind of antsy for my turn – and if I lose I want to play again…right away…because I just can’t stop playing.
So I guess Sid Sackson knew what he was doing when he created this game. Addictive + fun is always a good combination in my mind. Somewhere I read a quote from Sid that said something like “games should be easy to learn, give lots of strategic possibilities, include interaction amongst players and be played within 90 minutes.” He had me until the last part. I hate long games (which is why you won’t find a review for Monopoly on this site). I think games should be played in 30 minutes or less and then if I have time to play it again, great. Besides, it keeps people who want…er need… to win interested in the game even if they are getting killed because they know they have a chance of starting over in a couple minutes. Ha!
So if you can find it get, yourself a copy of Can’t Stop. It may be a bit of a hunt to find – try little mom & pop online retailers and eBay, though why someone would want to give up their copy of this classic is beyond me. Maybe they don’t know what kind of fun they’re missing.
UPDATED Can’t Stop stats:
~$30 Amazon, FunAgain Games, some mom & pop stores
Ages 7 and up (but I think the box says 9)