Saturday, February 18, 2017

I stare bemused at Can't Stop Express

When I saw an ad for a Kickstarter for a game called Can't Stop Express, I had to look into it. Can't Stop has been a constant part of my gaming experiences since the start. One click later and I saw at a glance that it was Solitaire Dice from Gamut of Games with a Can't Stop brand slapped on it.

My first thought was 'Really?' My second thought was 'Well, it is a dice game by Sid Sackson.' Thought number three 'And it is a pretty decent game.' The last thought in that glance was 'but do I really need a published copy?'

The game has been kicking around since 1969 and has been published in a few different forms, like Choice and Extra. I first came across the game on BSW where you could open it in a separate window as a solitaire game that I played god knows how many times when people were slow to take a turn.

As far as playing in face to face,  some of my friends and I would sometimes play Solitaire Dice waiting for D&D games to start with the dice that were naturally lying around and scrap paper.

So, while it's been years since I last played, I have played Solitaire Dice a lot.

The game consists of five dice and what's basically a checklist for each player. Basically, you are tracking combinations of two six-sided dice. You also keep track of the fifth die you don't use each roll. And, the more unlikely the combination, the better the points. So, two and twelve are worth a lot more than seven.

The complications come in that you have to get five checks in a number before it's worth positive points (Kind of reminds me of Lost City) and the fifth dice serves as a timer. Eight checks after a number and that player's game ends.

Solitaire Dice is one of those games that is annoying to explain but once someone plays even a couple turns, it all clicks. 

At first, branding it with Can't Stop seemed very strange to me. But, it is a dice game that involves pairing dice that's designed by Sid Sackson. And it a push-your-luck game, albeit in more of luck management style. So, it's a fair call. 

I'm a bit torn about Can't Stop Express as a product. On the one hand, it's a game that I used to play a lot and I think is a really good use the bell curve of two dice. Not as good as Can't Stop but still solid. On the other hand, I've made my own scoresheets plenty of times and that was before I got into print-and-play. I don't feel the need to get what amounts to a pad of scoresheets.  

However, this is probably the biggest exposure Solitaire Dice has ever had in over forty years. With the successes of games like Qwix and Rolling Japan/America, I think Can't Stop Express can grab some market share. 

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