Can't Stop

Sometimes the most clever game designs are those that take a solid, yet tediously common, mechanic and add a slight tweak that transforms the mundane into the sublime. Sid Sackson achieved perhaps the greatest example of this design principle in his game, Can't Stop.

Can't Stop! is unabashed in its treatment of the dice. The game is essentially only dice, along with some markers to track results of rolls. Each player comes into the game knowing that his or her success ultmately rests in the fate of the dice, the unrelenting assault of randomness. This is the same way humans have played dice games for thousands of years: understanding that the fundamental element is pure chance.

Sid Sackson, in all his game-designing wisdom, saw fit to add one minor twist to the old standby that elevates Can't Stop! to the level of the sublime. Players roll four dice, and divide them up into two pairs of two, giving two results in the familiar 2-to-12 spectrum. Why is that so important? It provides strategic manipulation of the dice results, and adds some actual decision making into the process.

This Sid Sackson classic was actually released in the United States, but it never did well enough commercially to stay in print for more than a couple of years. The idea is quite simple. There is a board with all the possible results of two six-sided dice: two through twelve. The object of the game is to move a little marker to the top of three columns by rolling that result, but you need many more sevens than you need twelves, based on the likelihood of each result. During your turn, you roll the dice and place temporary markers onto the board. You can continue moving these markers until either none of your dice match (your turn is over and all progress you've made is gone), or cut your losses and end your turn (placing a permanent marker in your rows). A nice light filler for opening or closing a session.