- Designer: Sid Sackson
- Publisher: Eagle Gryphon Games
- Players: 2-4
- Time: 30 minutes
- Ages: 7+
- Times Played: at least 100 lifetime, but 3 with new review copy provided by Eagle Gryphon Games
Can’t Stop is one of the classic games of our hobby – being a nominee for the SdJ in 1982. It was one of the first European Games that I owned. The base game is a classic press-your-luck game where you roll 4 dice each turn, making two two-dice combinations. For example, on their turn, a player rolls four dice and arranges them in duos: 1 4 5 6 can become 1+4 and 5+6 for 5 & 11, 1+5 and 4+6 for 6 & 10, or 1+6 and 4+5 for 7 & 9. You use those two summed numbers to move your markers up the corresponding tracks on a stop-sign shaped board. The catch is this – you only have three markers each turn, and your turn ends immediately if you cannot make a combination that matches the track that one of your three markers is on. It can also stop when you voluntarily end your turn.
So after each turn, you have to decide if you are going to keep going and press your luck or voluntarily stop your turn and lock in the progress that you’ve made that turn. The game wants you to press your luck because each of the columns of the board can only be topped by one player – the first one to the top – so if there is a lot of competition for a particular number, you might want to keep going lest you get shut out of that column.
The game ends when a player gets to the top of his third column.
My Thoughts on the Game
As I mentioned in the opening of this review, Can’t Stop is a classic game, and the fact that someone keeps printing new editions just underlines this status. The game is a purely calculable, risk-assessing, press-your-luck game, and one that taunts you to keep going each turn as you constantly reassess your odds of success.
Timing is super important; getting to the top of a column first can really hamper the plans of your opponents; likewise, it’s painful to lose all your work when someone else closes out a column before you.
So, the thing to talk about with this newest version are the components. In this new version, the board is a rollable neoprene mat. It flattens out nicely, and for those that care, it can make this a more portable version of the game. You can place the baggies of bits inside the mat, roll it up and secure it with two rubber bands – voila, instant travel set. I am still a bit partial to my molded plastic board which allows the player markers to be fixed in place, but this version uses wooden bits with a hump in the middle to keep stacks in place.
I was a little worried when we first unrolled the mat as it wasn’t entirely flat, but after about 5 minutes the whole thing sat nicely on the table surface, and the pieces sat quite nicely on the board.
After three games of this newest version, my current rating of the game is I love it! And my rating of this particular version is: I like it – as I prefer the hard plastic board. That being said, if you don’t have a copy of the game, or you’re looking for a more portable version (Due to the rollable neoprene board), this would be a great addition to your game collection. I’m keeping this one, and it is actually the fourth edition to be in the game collection (and the second rollable board).
Opinions from Other Opinionated Gamers
Alan H: One of the games that takes no time to get opponents on BoardGameArena as everyone will play it. Personally, I prefer 3 over any other number while the original plastic version will always be in my collection.
Matt C: Just brought this out at a nearby elementary school “family game night.” Love how quick I can get people up and running on it. The push-your-luck mechanic is graspable and I love to see how people gravitate one way or another according to their risk-aversion. Bonus props as I’ve seen wins come from both “strategies.” I have the big plastic version but would love to have a more portable version.
Adam K: A guaranteed way to get anyone into a game. The barrier to entry for this game is non-existent and it’s always a hit.
Craig M: Can’t Stop is the definition of a classic. Why can’t anyone make games like this now?
Fraser: Love it, will be keeping our plastic board version.
Mark Jackson: This game, rather than Acquire, is Sid Sackson’s masterpiece.
Ratings from the Opinionated Gamers
- – I love it! Dale Yu (game overall), Erik Arneson (game overall), John P, Alan How, Matt C, Adam K (game overall) Craig Massey, Fraser (plastic board version), Mark Jackson
- – I like it. Dale Yu (this particular edition), James Nathan
- – Neutral.
- – Not for me…
For me, Can’t Stop is the greatest dice game ever designed and the greatest push-your-luck game ever designed. It’s also probably my favorite Sid Sackson game. It’s got to be one of my most played games over the years. It is absolutely a classic and I most definitely Love It. I’ll play it with just about any components, but my favorite will always be with the big red plastic stop sign.
This is one of those games that will always remain in my collection. It was one of the first games I loved enough to accessorize. (I bought sets of dice in colors that matched the player markers so that everyone could roll their own dice.) It doesn’t hit the table as often as it once did, but it’s a welcome visitor when it does.