Originally a Parker Brothers game designed by Sid Sackson in 1980, Can’t Stop (CS) has been redesigned and republished by several companies over the years. Through it all it stayed a classic 2 to 4 player game require luck, basic addition, and knowing when to quit.
The game board is a hexagon with eleven columns numbered 2 to 12. The version I’m most familiar with from Gryphon Games takes advantage of this to resemble a stop sign. The pieces are four sets of eleven color-coded markers/ cones (one set per player), three white cones, and four dice. First player rolls all four dice, adding the numbers of at least one pair to claim that number’s column with a white cone. So if I roll two 6s, a 1, and a 2, I could claim 12 and 3, or 7 and 8, or just one of those four numbers. Oh, the joy of rolling all threes and getting to move two spaces up the six column. The player can roll again, using one or both dice pairs to advance a placed cone or use a remain white cone to start a new column.* The goal is to “close out” three numbers by getting to the top of their column. The columns are set on a Bell Curve with more spaces based off the odds of rolling the numbers needed. The active player can end their turn anytime before rolling, replacing the white markers with their own. The next player then begins. However, if a player rolls and can’t advance or claim any columns then their turn is over and they lose any progress made.
The fun really starts when columns get closed out. If someone closes out Six not only are they one-third of the way to victory but no one can advance in Six. Oh, the pain of rolling all threes on one’s 1st roll and ending the turn with three white pegs and no gain. As more columns close it gets harder to advance, so you end up clawing for the four column.
It’s a entertaining, simple game but with educational for addition and probability. The $39.99 price tag feels a little steep, but is actually reasonable for smaller game publishers. There’s an iOS version for Apple if you prefer. I enjoy “push your luck” games like this one, so I wholeheartedly recommend it.
Happy Labor Day everyone, see you soon.
*There’s a small debate on the rules, with some arguing that all three pegs must be placed before any can be advanced. I disagree completely with this view, but include it for completeness and future reference.