A week or so ago, we played Incan Gold and Can’t Stop in class, and overall, I enjoyed both games. The theme that week was weighing risk vs. reward, and man, did I feel that. For a leader, considering risk vs. reward is an essential skill to learn because the risk impacts the whole group, but then again, so can the reward. Being placed in a position of leadership, one must toe the line very carefully. You might have to be more reserved than you might typically be to protect the group from harm. In a game sense, Incan Gold and Can’t Stop both emulate, risking it all for a sweet reward.
Incan Gold bursts to the seams with an Indiana Jones aesthetic. The premise is that a team of archaeologists/grave robbers are excavating/plundering an Incan temple for all it is worth. Throughout five rounds, the players delve as far as they can go into the temple, picking up emeralds, obsidian shards, gold nuggets, and the occasional artifact while also trying not to trigger any of the traps of the temple. As the players progress into the temple, they leave small amounts of treasure behind, and thus, the game’s strategic elements become apparent. The first person to flee the temple picks up all the leftover treasure. The further into the temple everyone goes, the more treasure is collected overall, but more traps can trigger. When the second type of trap comes up, any player in the temple loses everything they have gained on that round. The question becomes to delve or not to delve? Incan Gold was a lot more fun for me, even though I ultimately lost. My downfall came from me playing too safe. I was often the first to run back before my two companions would stumble upon a huge score. Can’t Stop, on the other hand, was a very different story.
The version of Can’t Stop that we played looked like it had not changed since its initial debut in the 1980s, but what Can’t Stop lacks in an aesthetic flair it makes up in pure strategy. The players roll dice to determine how quickly they climb up the board. A player wins by having three of their markers reach the top of three separate columns. Each round, after a player moves 3 markers, they can choose to stay or roll again. If the player stays, then their tokens advance to the markers, but if they roll again, they risk the chance to bust and lose all progress. After coming off of my complete defeat in Incan Gold, I decided to throw caution to the wind and go for broke. It was this reckless strategy, coupled with lucky dice rolls, that played me in the lead by the time we had to stop playing. Can’t Stop is my grandparents’ speed much more than Incan Gold because it is not bogged down by complication. The simplicity of the gameplay is Can’t Stop’s key to its longevity.