Not many board games have songs written about them. Even fewer that influence the mighty Red Hot Chilli Peppers to put pen to paper. However, a little-known made up fact is that after playing the board game Can’t Stop, Anthony Kiedis penned the song of the same name. It is rumoured Flea was addicted to the shindig and confident he was gonna win big!
Fabricated introduction over, I have become equally addicted to the shindig of Can’t Stop on Board Game Arena. Knowing I liked it, I set out to buy a copy. Unfortunately the English version available was as ugly as it was expensive. So I ruled out the big stop sign box as the box art tart in my was repulsed. The French version looked okay, but was equally hard to find. Discussing this with Craig (aka @getintogames on Instagram) he pointed out that there was a lovely version in Korea. I reached out to the publishers and here we are reviewing the no-different-in-gameplay but considerably better-looking version published by Playte and Popcorn Games.
Unfurl the board and give each player a set of tents in their colour. It will take you longer to decide on who is first player, than it will to set up!
The idea of the game is to be the first player to climb up and have three tents on the top of the mountain.
Each player will roll four dice on their turn. These dice will be paired together and the combined pip values of each of the two dice will determine which columns to climb. For example if you roll two 3s and a 5 and a 1, you can either move up the 8 and 4 track (3+5 and 3+1), or up the 6 track twice (3+3 and 5+1). Once you have decided you place an ice-axe marker on the relevant tracks.
You then have to decide if you want to push your luck and roll the dice again, early on there is no risk on your second roll, as there will always be a second track to climb. Henceforth though, you will probably be pushing your luck.
If on your turn you can’t climb at least one column, your turn ends and any progress is lost. Otherwise, when you’re done risking it, contrary to the name, you can stop. You then place a tent on the columns where you’ve climbed to. If you get the same pip value in subsequent rounds you continue where you left off.
The first person to reach the summit of a column and stop, wins that column and blocks it off for all other players. Thus making future rolls more risky for all.
The columns are all different in length depending on the probability of the number coming out.
What it’s like
Playing cards, moving meeples, laying tiles and rolling dice are the proverbial carrots that dangle and entice board gamers back to the table time and time again. Can’t Stop chooses dice as its main component and players will be rolling them constantly. There is oodles of luck in Can’t Stop and the only mitigation is betting on probability and other people’s hubris.
It can be frustrating but that’s also the joy of rolling dice! If a player never knows when to stop (I’m looking at my middle son George here), the game can be prolonged to the detriment. However, while there is a bit of downtime between turns, you will be eagerly watching on for an opportunity to gloat or laugh in schadenfreude. The latter stages of the game at higher player counts can slow down a bit too much. Generally though you are chucking dice and working out how to make the best of what you’ve been given by the Dice Gods!
I know I have been lucky to get a copy of arguably the best produced copy of Can’t Stop out there. The theme of climbing mountains echoes that of the French version and it works. The coloured tents stack well and the ice axes also slot on top of opponents tents when required. It’s a good looking version that’s nicely produced.
I can’t really comment on the rulebook as I had learnt this game on Board Game Arena. The rulebook I got was in Korean, so I will assume it is okay?!?!
Minor gripe is the board has quite a few folds, so it is a bit precarious unfurling it. My board also hasn’t flattened out yet.
There isn’t oodles to this game, but the Playte/Popcorn version has been really nicely put together.
What the kids thought
Max (8): It was good! I like stacking the components. It’s also fun to decide whether to carry on rolling the dice or not.
George (12): Oh I really like this game, especially when I win! It was great when Mum was telling me to stop pushing my luck and I didn’t, and it won me the game! It’s good the way the tokens stack up as well. I’m so glad Dad managed to get the better looking version too, as the English one he showed me is ugly!
Harrison (14): There is a bit too much luck involved for me, but I don’t mind playing it as it is fun enough.
Final thoughts on Can’t Stop
I like the hidden mathematics within the game. Sure this is only basic maths but it all helps! Adding up the pip values and working out the number bonds is great practice for younger players. For older players probability becomes a visual and tangible thing too.
There are plenty of games that cleverly mitigate the luck of rolling dice. Games like Ganz Schön Clever, Rajas of the Ganges and Sagrada offer players some solace with whatever pip values are shown. This game isn’t one of those! Can’t Stop relies entirely on the luck of the dice and probability to create the game. I like it for that reason. It’s simple dice-chucking, push-your-luck fun.
I have had a blast playing Can’t Stop with my family. Games are always full of groans of despair and chirrups of delight as the dice do their thing.
Number of players: 2 to 4
Board Game Review Recommended Age: 7+
Publisher’s Recommended Age: 8+
Playing Time: 25 minutes
Setting Up and Take Down Time: 1 minute
Designers: Sid Sackson
Publisher: Playte / Popcorn Games
RRP: 29,000 KRW
Can’t Stop offers plenty of push your luck fun. It’s not over-produced, certainly not complicated, but still sees me returning to roll dice time and time again. If you can get your hands on the Playte version featured in this review you will also have the best looking version around!
Artwork and Components
Value for Money
- Simple gameplay
- Push your luck
- Easily transportable
- Dice rolling
- Minor downtime at four players
- May get repetitive over time
- Luck of the dice
Need more games?
If you already own Can’t Stop and enjoy it, or are looking for other inspiration, you might also like these similar games:
- High Risk
- Mountain Goats
- Moon Leap
For clarity: we don’t get paid for our reviews. However, we were kindly gifted this game by Playte Games. We have tried not to let this affect our review in any way.
We may however earn a tincy wincy commission if you buy a game having clicked one of our affiliate links like the one above… this hopefully gives us a bit of pocket money towards hosting costs and new games to review!
As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
Board Game Review is a brand ambassador for Out of Town Games.
These affiliate advertising programs are designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to their websites.