Can’t Stop

Can’t Stop is the Majorest FUN of one of the Major FUNnest game designers I ever had the honor to know. The late Sid Sackson was a passionate, modest, and remarkably accessible game inventor and collector. His expertise, his appreciation for an elegant design, his love of play is everywhere evident in this most accessible of his games. And, thanks to Face 2 Face Games, you, too, may soon find yourself delightfully unable to stop.

Can’t Stop is a dice game in which players try to be the first to claim 4 of the 11 rows (corresponding to all the combinations of two dice) on the Can’t Stop board. You have 4 dice. You throw all of them, and then combine them into pairs – however you want. So, if you throw, for example, a 3, 4, 5, and 6, you can move one space forward in the 7 and 11 columns, or one space forward in the 8 and 10 columns, or two spaces forward in the 9 column – thus giving you just enough decision-making power to make you feel responsible for whatever fate awaits.

Can’t Stop is perhaps the ultimate fate-tempting games. Because, you see, your turn doesn’t end with one throw. Oh, no. You can throw and throw again. Until, don’t you know, you don’t have a legal move. If you only had stopped right before that, you could have progressed significantly up the board, coming everso closer to claiming a row of your own. But you didn’t stop, did you. Oh, you could have. You should have. But, no. O’ertaken, once again, by the sheer bravado of your unassailable hopefulness.

You have three white pieces to move, and a bunch of markers to plant. You throw the dice and move one or two of the pieces. You feel somewhat sanguine about your next throw, knowing that you’ll have at least one more piece to move regardless. Of course, any column already claimed by another player can’t be used. Which is good (because any move that you can’t make is not counted as a possible move) and not so good (because you have fewer opportunities to win).

If you have the good sense to stop at the right time, you remove the white pieces, and use your markers to indicate your progress along those columns. If you have the bad luck not to stop in time, all the white pieces are given to the next player, whatever progress you might have made on your turn is obliterated, and the game goes on.

The game always seems winnable, until it isn’t. As more and more columns are claimed, the temptation not to stop becomes evermore profound. And the likelihood that you should’ve when you could’ve evermore self-evident.

Can’t Stop can be played by 2-4 players. Or by that many teams. For anyone old enough to play checkers and appreciate the value of profound chagrin.

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