Can’t Stop - Board Game Box Shot

Can’t Stop

, | Published: 1980
131 11 2

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Can't Stop is the ultimate press-your-luck board game. Once you’ve started this intense dice game, you just can't stop! Players try to win three of the eleven number columns as quickly as possible. You’ll go for the dice again and again only to risk losing it all on a single roll. Everybody likes to try just once more… and then maybe once more… they CAN’T STOP! CAN YOU?

User Reviews (12)

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7
Guardian Angel
Baron / Baroness
USA
Miniature Painter
8
80 of 87 gamers found this helpful
“Roll Your Bones and Move Your Cones”

I attend a local gaming event in the Baltimore area called Baltimore Brews and Board Games. It’s an open forum where people gather and bring the games they like to share with others. I find it a great way to play things I might not normally play.

One such game is Can’t Stop.

It’s not the sort of thing I would have looked at twice on the shelf in a store, but the folks I was sitting with at B&BG pulled out a copy and asked if I’d like to play; “Why not,” I said.

The game is very simple to play. Each player takes a set of colored (traffic) cones – violet, blue, green or yellow. There are also three white cones which you will use to move along the board. The board is an octagon (stop sign) with 11 columns (numbered 2-12).

Each player, on his turn, takes 4d6 and rolls them. You make two sets of 2 d6 and get numbers out them. Then you take white a cone to denote which numbers you are backing this turn. Example: Your first roll is a 2, 3, 4, 6; so you could make the following pairs 2+3=5, 2+4=6, 2+6=8, 3+4=7, 3+6=9, or 4+6=10.

You choose 7 and 8 and place white cones those columns. You roll the 4d6 again. This time you roll combos that make 3 and 7. You place the third white cone in the 3 column and move the cone in the 7 column up one space. On your third roll, you MUST get at least one combo which is either a 3, 7, or 8. If you get any of those numbers, you move the white cone in that column up one space. If, however, you don’t match any of the three numbers you are currently backing you remove all of the white cones.

So what?

Here’s so what; at any point you can choose NOT to re-roll the dice. In this case, you replace the white cones with cones of your color. If, on a subsequent turn you get another roll in one of these columns (say the 7), you start moving the white cone up the column from where your colored cone is.

Your goal is to get to the end of three columns first. Once you get to the end of a column you lock it out and no other player can advance in that column anymore (thus eliminating that number as a valid roll). The columns are of differing lengths – 2 & 12 being very short, while 6 & 7 being the longest.

So, you have to decide which numbers to back on each of your turns, and as players (yourself included) lock out numbers the likelihood of busting out on any given roll increases. You have to know when to stop rolling and preserve your gains (modest though they may be) as opposed to rolling for broke to try and close out a column before the next guy does.

On the surface, not a lot of strategy; roll your dice, place your cones, pass to the next player, repeat as necessary. I was pleasantly surprised at how much thought actually went into each successive turn.

In the end, I can say the best thing I can say about any game; I would play it again.

 
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10
Critic - Level 5
Professional Advisor
Expert Reviewer
Marquis / Marchioness
8
74 of 81 gamers found this helpful
“May the Odds Be Ever in Your Favor*”

Can you stop? Sure, everyone thinks they can stop, until the time comes for the actual stopping to happen. You want to stop, but the allure of throwing the dice one more time is too much…

Such is life when playing Can’t Stop, which, along with Incan Gold, is one of the best relatively quick playing push your luck games, appealing to a wide audience.

Game Play

When sitting down to the Gryphon Games version, you’ll see a good sized red stop sign board in front of you, with 11 columns, numbered from 2-12. The columns have different numbers of spaces, more for the numbers in the middle, fewer as you move towards the outside. This arrangement corresponds to the roll of two dice, whose probability peaks at 7, and decreases symmetrically towards 2 and 12.

On your turn, you’ll roll 4 dice, and make two pairs of the results. These numbers correspond to the columns on the board. You have three runners, represented by white cones. Each time you roll, you must place a runner on the column of the corresponding number you rolled, or move a runner placed earlier in the turn. In this way, you will have three “safe” numbers you can roll on that turn. If you ever have a roll where you can’t place or move one of your runners, your turn ends, and you remove the runners, gaining nothing this turn.

If you choose to stop rolling, you place one of your colored cones at the spot(s) the runner(s) ended. On subsequent turns, if you place a runner in a column where you already have a cone, you start at the next space above that cone.

If your runner has made it to the top of the board (covering one of the numbers) when you stop, you claim that column. Other cones are removed from the column, and no one (including you) can play that number any longer.

The first player to claim 3 columns is the winner!

My Thoughts

Can’t Stop is, at its core, a statistics/probability game masquerading as push your luck fun. On your turn, you’re constantly faced with the question, should I stop (hence the name), or keep going? Since you’re fighting for a finite number of columns, and there are fewer options once numbers become claimed, games can become quite tense.

One great aspect of Can’t Stop is that, while there is little need for planning out your turn, players remain engaged on other players’ turns. Can’t Stop even works well for spectators, as everyone can constantly evaluate what they would do, were they in the active player’s positions. The game keeps you engaged for the full playtime, either hoping the opponent fails a roll, in essence costing them their turn, or stressing yourself out over which numbers you’ll be “trying” to roll on your next turn.

On most turns, you’ll be faced with the dilemma of stopping and taking what you’ve already rolled, or pushing your luck in hopes of moving up farther. It becomes especially tense on turns where you’ve moved one spot away from claiming a number. Should you stop and hope no one jumps past you, or keep going and grab the number now, assuming the dice cooperate.

While most turns play pretty quickly, I do find Can’t Stop tends to take a bit longer than it feels like it should. The 30 minute timeframe reported by this site has been accurate in my experience, but I’d be thrilled if it were 5-10 minutes quicker. This isn’t to say the game always feels like it is running long, but it’s just a bit beyond filler length, and long enough that I don’t often see people immediately want to play again. Contrast this with Incan Gold, which generally plays in 20 minutes and is also a straightforward push your luck experience. Most times I’ve taught Incan Gold, we’ll go directly into a 2nd game. Most often, people will express a desire to play Can’t Stop again, “sometime”, but not right away.

Gamer Type Suggestions

Casual, Family, and Social gamers should definitely give Can’t Stop a try. The rules are pretty easy to learn, especially after watching a round of the game. It doesn’t take all night to play, people remain engaged on other players’ turns, and there is often lively discussion of what others would do if it were them rolling the dice. Avid games will enjoy the ease of teaching and bringing others into the game, and there are enough tough decisions to keep them entertained.

Strategy and Power gamers will likely be left wanting when playing Can’t Stop. For a 30 minute game it’s not bad, but it is clearly dependent on dice, with luck playing a major roll. While you have the decision of stopping or continuing, there’s no way to say for certain if the decision was right or not. You can play probabilities, but as in poker, that is no guarantee things will come out in your favor in the short run. I have trouble seeing gamers that rely heavily on probabilities playing enough times to experience the benefits of “winning in the long run”.

Closing Thoughts

Can’t Stop has been entertaining gamers for over 30 years for good reason. It has tension, ease of play, and straightforward premise. Luck is heavily present, but the experience is normally quite satisfying, even for those that lose. It holds its own against more modern push your luck games like Infiltration (and has a much quicker setup). While I personally slightly prefer Incan Gold, for a dice rolling diversion Can’t Stop is a great addition to any gaming library.

*Apologies for this review’s title, I just Can’t Stop myself from using it

 
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8
Intermediate Reviewer
Paladin
Tinkerer
Novice Advisor
8
79 of 87 gamers found this helpful
“A cruel mistress”

I’ve never played this game live, only at boardgamearena, but I fell for it the moment I tried it out. Quite often I wish I hadn’t, because this game is a cruel mistress, just as my headline says. When luck is not your friend you will really be annoyed and frustrated.

For anyone not familiar with the game you have 11 paths, numbered 2-12 (the possible sums of two six sided dice) that needs to be conquered. First player to win three paths win the game. Simple enough.

When it is your turn you have three black temporary progress markers. You roll 4 die that you make it into 2 pair of 2 dice anyway you choose. The result of a pair is the path you may walk (for instance, 2,3,4,5 could be combined to 5 & 9, 6 & 8 or 7 & 7). If you have unused black markers and you can walk the paths of both pairs you have to. After this you must decide if you pass and swap your temporary black markers with your own or if you dare roll again. The trick is you only have three active paths each turn (the black markers, remember?) and if your dice cannot be combined so that at least one active path goes up you lose all progress from this round. When someone have claimed a number that is DEAD, meaning noone can use that result when rolling, so later in the game there will be greater risc of losing your progress.

Of course the most common result of two dice is 7, so all the paths are not of equal length. 2 & 12 are just three steps, with two increased steps for each number closer to the 7.

This game is not all luck, even though it may seem so at first glance. But calculating your riscs make you win more often, and knowing how to “help out” odd numbers. For instance, if you have 2, 7, 8 as your current active paths the 7 & 8 makes it quite probable that you will not bust, but the 2 is just three steps to completion so it’s great to try to get at least two of the steps when you have this opportunity. And of course when you really fight over a path where several players are close to completion is really intense, and if the dice are not with you you may not even have the chance to improve that path.

I cannot let this game go, it calls me back over and over again, even though it can be the most frustrating thing on earth. Luckily a game only last a few minutes. A great filler, try it out.

 
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7
Tasty Minstrel Games Fan
Petroglyph
8
79 of 89 gamers found this helpful
“A Little Mathy”

I know, the title is silly, but 2 out of the 3 people I’ve played this game with think there is too much math in this game. Yes, it’s adding 2 numbers together, but I guess when it’s in quick succession it seems like too much work? Then there’s also trying to figure out the probability of a roll that won’t end your turn, but I kinda doubt the people complaining about it being too mathy are doing any such calculations.

For my money, though, this is the best push-your-luck game there is.

This is one of the few theme-less abstract games that I can stand. I know there is one version that has some guys climbing up ropes or something, but my version is just the stop sign board that I’m sure most people are used to.

It’s really surprising that 4 ordinary 6-sided dice can harbor this much game.

The simplicity of the mechanics is great for teaching the game, you can basically cover the rules while taking your 1st turn. Roll 4 dice, pair them any which way to get the number you want. You can have 3 columns active at one time. You must roll one of your numbers each round or forfeit your turn. 1st player to claim 3 columns wins..and that’s basically the basics. Can’t teach most games that quickly!

The decisions are easy, but because of the dice you might have been better off going a different route.

The game plays quickly , so the downtime isn’t too bad, but there’s not really anything to do on opponent’s turns (except make sure they aren’t cheating). That’s pretty much my only real downer for this game.

Play it, I’m sure you’ll like it!

 
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7
Intermediate Reviewer
Professional Grader
Tomahawk
7
54 of 62 gamers found this helpful
“An oldie but a goodie”

This is a super light game for breaking up a long gaming session. We love games that take a couple of hours, uses a lot of mental energy and have multiple facets to the game. Can’t Stop is not one of those.. what it does have to offer is a “let it ride” mentality how far can you push your luck? It gets a little more challenging when some of the numbers can no longer be used. It’s fun to see how different people approach this game. Some play it safe only rolling a few times and stopping “saving their spot” for a later turn. I on there other hand can’t stop and go till I bust or get one to the top. Some play differently depending on the numbers they have. Easy mechanics, easy rules, you can use it for kids to work on math skills. Good light fun.

 
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5
Intermediate Reviewer
Amateur Advisor
Sophomore
7
79 of 93 gamers found this helpful
“A Great “Lunch Table” Game”

What makes a game a great “lunch table” game? It has to be easy to explain, simple to set up, resilient to messy fingers, and small enough to not monopolize said lunch table. Can’t Stop meets all four of those qualifications.

The gameplay is dead simple: roll dice and decide how far to push your luck. It’s engaging enough that everyone in range, whether they’re playing or not, will watch every roll to see if someone can close out a column or go bust — and when the latter happens, you can count on some noise.

With only a board, four dice and a few movers, there’s no set-up (or clean-up) to speak of, which makes getting a game going an almost instant proposition. The components aren’t particularly fancy, but they don’t need to be. They’ll survive getting knocked around or smeared-up by messy fingers. Drop it in the middle of the table, hand someone the dice, and go. Game ended too quickly? Just do it again.

There’s just enough strategy involved to keep it from being mindless, but not so much to create analysis paralysis. The mix of skill and luck keeps all players in the game, whether they’re first-timers or seasoned veterans, and the simple mechanics are easy to pick up just by watching a few turns, so people outside the game will quickly ask to join in later rounds.

If you have a relatively social lunch crowd, I can’t recommend breaking out Can’t Stop enough.

 
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5
Book Lover
I play green
8
78 of 93 gamers found this helpful
“Classic Push-Your-Luck Fun!”

In Can’t Stop, each player is racing to claim a number of, well, numbers, by rolling dice and advancing their flags up a set of 11 columns. Each column represents a possible sum of a pair of dice, and each turn sees players rolling four of them and assembling two sets of two to (potentially) move their pieces. But beware, you’re only allowed to move 3 markers up at a time, and if you can’t make any viable pairs with one of your rolls, you bust and lose all of your progress for that turn!

This is a classic game by the master designer Sid Sackson. It’s simple enough that the entire family can roll and laugh their way through multiple games, but it also rewards sly consideration of the odds. There’s also a wonderful pacing to the game, as more columns are claimed more and more dice combinations are considered “duds,” which heightens the risk of continued dice rolling and makes for some excellently tense games.

Family and Casual gamers will love the heck out of this game. It’s smart, accessible, and even helps teach basic math and probability! Avid gamers may wish to check it out, and the underlying mechanical structure is incredibly solid, even if the game is somewhat light. Strategic and Power gamers will most likely get bored quickly, but may get a kick out of giving it a try. Highly recommended.

 
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9
Gamer - Level 7
BoardGaming.com Beta 1.0 Tester
Petroglyph
Explorer - Level 3
9
79 of 101 gamers found this helpful
“Good closer/mixer game”

This is a fun game that has been around long time. This edition is the 3rd version and nothing has been changed.
To start choose a color and take all the markers of that color. The board shows the numbers 2-12(values of a pair of dice). These numbers are each at the top of a column of spaces, the number of spaces is based on the probability of rolling that number, which are different amounts. There are also 3 white(neutral) markers and 4 dice. The goal is to advance your markers up the columns and be the first to place your marker on a number for that column. On your turn roll 4 dice and separate them into 2 pairs. Then place a white marker on the space for that number showing your current progress-if you don’t have a marker in that column place the white marker in the 1st or bottom space, if you have a colored marker in that row place the white marker in the space above it in the column. Do this for both numbers if possible. You may then roll again. If all 3 white markers are on the board you may continue to roll but must roll 1 of the 3 numbers with a white marker on that column. If you stop advance your colored marker to where the white markers are. However, if you continue to roll and don’t roll 1 of the 3 numbers needed to move a white marker your turn is over and you lose all the progress you have made for that turn and do not advance or add colored markers. The winner is the first person to place their colored markers on 3 numbers. Only one person can cover a number, but all can try for it at the same time. Note: Once a number is covered by colored marker it is out of the game and is useless if rolled even by the player who covered it. i.e. no player can have a marker in that color or advance a marker.

 
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9
9
78 of 105 gamers found this helpful
“Great Fun Filler”

This is a good game to “fill” time with at the beginning, middle or end of a game session. It is a push your luck game that plays quickly(usually 5-20 minutes) and is easy to teach. The board is divided into columns numbered 2-12. beneath each number is a series of spaces based on the frequency of a number. 7s have more spaces than 2s for example. Additionally, you have 3 neutral color markers and 11 markers in your color and 4 dice. On your turn roll the dice and divide them into 2 pairs. At least 1 of the pairs must allow you to place or advance a neutrel marker on the spaces. As long as you can do that you can keep rolling. Your turn ends when you choose to stop which allows you to advance or place your colored markers to the spot(s) of the neutral markers, or you fail to advance markers if you keep rolling, at which time you do not gain any advances for that turn. When someone’s marker reaches the top space of a track the number is claimed by a player, all other color markers are removed from that space track and that number no longer counts when rolls are being made. First person to claim 3 numbers wins. It’s a great game.

 
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2
It's All About Me
7
78 of 109 gamers found this helpful
“Beauty in simplicity”

I do love the more complex games that take hours to play and have a rulebook longer than most George RR Martin novels, but every once in a while a fun game that is beautifully simple in its strategy and gameplay comes along, and I’m hooked.

Can’t Stop is one of those games. Great for a quick game while you’re waiting for late arrivals to you gaming group to show up, it’s a game that seemingly relies on luck to play – dice rolls – but there is complexity in deciding whether to follow the common, longer paths, (6, 7, 8) or chance the super-short, rare paths (2 and 12). Do you advance existing tokens or do you start new ones to diversify and threaten opponents? And the biggest question – do you take the chance and roll again, risking everything you’ve earned this turn?

It’s a surprisingly strategical simple dice game that I will always be eager to play if it comes up.

 
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9
Stratagem fan
 
78 of 118 gamers found this helpful
“A potato chip game”

I call it that because when I break it out we never just play it once.
On your turn you roll 4 dice and pair them up any way you want. You must advance one of 3 neutral markers at least 1 space on separate tracks(one track for each possible dice pairing). If you can’t your turn is over and you lose any advances made that turn. If you can advance a marker you must then decide whether to roll again or whether to stop and place your color of marker where the neutral markers are. There are 3 neutral markers for you to advance or place on your turn. Reaching the end of a track 1st allows you to claim that number, you need to claim 3 numbers to win. Once a number is claimed it no longer counts as a viable choice on future rolls. The game is fun and fast with lots of replay value.

 
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4
Miniature Painter
It's All About Me
9
72 of 118 gamers found this helpful
“Never Gets Old”

For a luck-fueled dicefest, Can’t Stop is glorious.

I’ve introduced this game to hardcore strategy players, casual gamers, people that never play games… never have I heard a complaint. The onlookers and players always have a good time. The luck and strategy balance is perfect for the style.

It is well worth the price point for the quality components that will last, this one’s a classic must-have, especially if you want a game accessible to everybody.

 

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