Can’t Stop – Where Can I Start?
Can’t Stop was first released in 1980 and almost missed its moment. More recently, Can’t Stop was given a second chance at notoriety – featuring as the tutorial game on Board Game Arena. You may have seen it there already… If not, well, that’s one place you can start.
It well deserves a second look.
Peek Sneaks A Peek (And Seeks The Peak)
Thematically, Can’t Stop involves starting at the bottom of a mountain and racing to its, err …pinnacle. It’s for 2-4 players and while we often enjoy it as a duo, BGA favours a game with three. The winner is the first person to reach the top of 3 columns (apparently you can stop – atop a mountain top).
The columns are numbered 2-12, which the more mathematically astute among you may already have identified as the sum of two dice. Only actually, there’s four dice you roll. Not so smart now are we, Mr I-can-add-two-single-digits?
Stop! Look, Listen…
Sorry, I should’ve stopped myself there. But sometimes, well… Sometimes I can’t stop, do you see?
Look, I shouldn’t have said it and I’m sorry. If you can stop short of holding it against me, we’ll press on. Listen, I’ll finish telling you how to play.
Moving (up) mountains
On your turn, roll four dice and pick 2 x two-dice totals. These totals are used to place markers on the values 2-12. Harder-to-roll values (eg 2 or 12) have less spaces before reaching the top of the mountain; likely values mean longer climbs.
With your markers placed, roll the dice (the four dice) again and either move your markers further up the mountain (with the same totals), or place your third marker on a new total.
You can continue to roll for as long as you want (I can’t stop you).
But if you don’t roll any of your marked totals, you’ll forfeit all progress for this turn…
Choose to stop and the three temporary markers are replaced by counters of your own colour. Next turn, you can either continue from these positions, or progress on other routes.
And that about sums it up.
Can’t Stop may not have set the world alight, but its simplicity is a real appeal. Even on a first play, it feels somehow timeless and familiar – surprising that no one’s ever shown it to you before.
The components in the box are fairly simple: no-nonsense coloured counters and markers, a board and four dice (I know you know that). Another advantage here is that it’s small and portable – great for stealing a quick 15-20 minute game with a small group.
Can’t Stop feels like a game you want to show other people – something you know won’t overwhelm. Easy to grasp and instantly playable, it’s tense while it lasts but over before you know it.
Where it’s unremarkable, it’s also unforgettable; like the comfort of coming home.