Can't Stop Rules
Can’t Stop (designed by Sid Sackson)
Can’t Stop has been in and out of print several times since 1980. Currently it’s out of print, so we’re playing on a simple paper gameboard, using generic wooden cubes as playing pieces.
The goal of this game is to “claim” three of the game board’s numbered columns. You claim a column if you can move one of your cubes from the bottom of that column to the top, according to the rules of the game. As soon as any player claims three columns, they win the game.
You should have the paper game board, a whole bunch of colored cubes, three white cubes, and four dice.
Each player chooses a color (red, green, blue, or yellow) and collects all the cubes of that color.
Set the white cubes aside for now. Players roll two dice to see who goes first. Reroll any ties. Highest total starts.
On your turn
Begin each turn by collecting the three white cubes, placing them off the board and in front of you.
Your goal during your turn is to advance as far as you can up one, two, or three columns. You’ll use the white cubes to mark your progress during your turn. After every roll you’ll need to decide whether to stop and keep your progress, or try to advance even further – at the risk of losing your progress.
Roll all four dice, then combine them into two pairs, any way you wish.
If you roll 3, 4, 2, 6, then you can make these combinations
- 3+4 and 2+6 (7 and 8)
- 3+2 and 4+6 (5 and 10)
- 3+6 and 4+2 (9 and 6)
Having thus chosen two sums between 2 and 12, advance a white cube in those columns, according to these rules:
If you have already placed a white cube in that column (on an earlier roll during this same turn), advance it one space.
If one of the three white cubes is not on the board yet, place it in that column:
If you have a cube of your color in that column (from a previous turn), place the white cube one space ahead of it. Otherwise, place the white cube in the bottom space of that column.
Other players’ cubes, if already on a space, can share that space with a white cube
Once you play a white cube in a column, it stays in that column until your turn ends. You cannot move a white cube from one column to another, nor can you remove it from the board during your turn.
As the game progresses, you’ll often find that you can only legally make one move, rather than two. This is OK. However, you must always play to as many columns as your roll allows; you can’t choose to ignore dice that allow a legal move.
If your roll allows it, you can play twice in a single column. For example, if you roll 2, 4, 4, 6, you could make two moves in column 8 (4+4 and 2+6), if available.
To continue your turn, you must place or advance at least one white cube on the board, according to the rules above, after rolling the four dice.
If you cannot legally place or advance any white cubes using your roll, you have gone bust. You do not get to advance any of your cubes this turn. Pass the dice to the player on your left; your turn’s over.
Choosing to stop, or not
After you finish placing or advancing the white cubes, you can choose to end your turn, or roll again.
If you choose to end your turn, replace the white cubes with cubes of your own color. If you already have a cube on any of these columns, just move them up to their new positions. (Yes, several players’ cubes can occupy the same space.) Then pass the dice and the white cubes to the player on your left; it is now their turn.
If you choose to roll again, leave the white cubes where they are, pick up all four dice, and roll! All the rules from the Rolling section apply to this new roll. Each player can keep playing and rolling as much as they want until they either go bust or choose to stop.
Claiming a column
If you have moved a white cube onto a column’s top (shaded) space when you choose to end your turn, then you have claimed that column. Put your colored cube into the shaded space, while all other players’ cubes in that column get returned to their owners.
For the rest of the game, no player can place a white cube in that column. That goes for you, too! That column’s number has effectively ceased to exist. Play accordingly.
If you end your turn with three columns claimed, you have won the game. Well done.