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Can't Stop (CNS) WBC 2016 Report
Updated Jan. 10, 2017 Icon Key
242 Players Jean Younkin, VA 2016 Status 2017 Status History/Laurels
2016 Champion Click box for details. Click box for details.

Stopping on the Big Board

Wednesday night is reserved for the decade old tradition of rolling four dice to see if you can be the first to fill three numeral columns. 244 participated, just one off the record,  and before I get into the action and all of the craziness that comes with it, I want to give a huge thanks to Sara Vanderwal and the other members of the DLC that helped me enter players, and usher them to tables. Also thanks to everyone who brought a copy of the game. We were about ten copies short, but everyone was patient and eventually all got to play.

I’d also like to point out that your humble GM was one of the few players in the field who can read. As was apparent when his match on the giant board ended without him having a single piece in play because he CAN’T STOP!

One of the huge struggles for a GM of a large event is keeping track of the games from round to round. In the chaos of a 50-table room of Cant Stop it can be hard to ensure that all is being done fairly and that the second round can start on time. One solution would have been to keep all the first round winners until I could count them all and get the right number to the right number of tables, but I decided that was unfair to the early winners, and got 4-player tables going again as soon as I could.

With 244 people, I should have had 61 winners in the first round, but as is inevitable with the late night games, people drop, get confused, and eventually the GM also gets confused about what he has started and what he hasn’t. By the end of Round 2, it became apparent that the previously infallible GM had actually started 17 quarterfinal tables yielding 17 people waiting for the semifinals. To avoid some people having to play on a table of 5, Scott Buckwalter generously decided to withdraw so that the numbers would jive for four 4-player games.

The sweet 16 engaged in tight contests with all the runners-up having two columns. At the Fun table, cheered on by her family, Jean Younkin outlasted Virginia Melton, Laurie Wojtaszczyk, and Dave Wolfe. There was laughter, shouts of glee and dismay, and everything that you want from the game. At the Gentlemen’s table, Pete Noteman rode the 2 column to get past Jim Fleckenstein, Tom Johnston, and Carl Krosnick. They played as they live, with dignity. The Ringer table saw Trella Bromley snatch a win from Jason Arvey, Holiday Saccenti, and Tom Robinson. And lastly, the Family table saw young Dacey Collinson win against Nate Peterson, Uncle Joe, and perennial winner of everything not nailed down, Nick Henning. A special shout out to Virginia for nailing the GM’s tiebreakers for fifth by claiming the 2’s and 12’s.

And then there were four who got to play at the big table. Players were given the choice of rolling the big dice or the really big dice and we were off to the races. With what seemed like her whole family around her, Jean got off to an early start and seemed like she was in a good position. In the midgame there were a lot of falls and then a quiet time as players started to solidify their holdings (much to your humble GMs chagrin – “We even painted it on the board…” he whined).
And then in the endgame something really interesting happened. Jean got two spaces away from winning it all and stopped. This left both Trella and Dacey close to a second column but with little chance of getting two in a turn to win. They reacted very differently. Trella locked in her difficult column, and with it a nearly guaranteed second place plaque. Dacey, had a chance to lock in third, but said “screw it!” and went all or nothing for the very low percentage chance to win it all (and sadly failed to finish fourth). Come Jean’s turn she safely collected her tens to win.

A hearty congratulations to all the finalists and thanks to all the players for your patience as your humble GM learned how to make this work on the fly. And remember, if you’re playing the game right, you CAN’T STOP.

A few closing words on stats. I’m not sure that enough sheets were completed in the preliminary games, but during the last 22 games which composed the quarterfinals onwards, the starting player won only five times. Not sure what that means (despite the  terribly small sample size) but it is something to track in the future. Also, we counted columns that were used by the winners and came up with some very interesting stats from the 74 games that provided sufficient records:

  • 2 was used by 20% of winners
  • 3 was used by 16% of winners
  • 4 was used by 23% of winners
  • 5 was used by 19% of winners
  • 6 was used by 46% of winners
  • 7 was used by 43% of winners
  • 8 was used by 36% of winners
  • 9 was used by 24% of winners
  • 10 was used by 23% of winners
  • 11 was used by 20% of winners
  • 12 was used by 28% of winners

What this means is that for almost every comparable column (2 vs 12, 3 vs 11, 4 vs 10, etc) the larger value was used more. Do players have a hidden bias towards the left side of the board? Towards bigger numbers? Not sure what it shows, but it is data that the Bureau of Useless Information can track year after year. Certainly, the government will be looking into it soon.

2016 Laurelists Repeating Laurelists: 0
Trella Bromley, FL Pete Noteman, PA Dacey Collinson, MD Virginia Melton, VA Nate Peterson, DE
2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th
Another full house for Can't Stop.
GM Andrew Drummond with his chapeau du jour and big board. The rooting sections grow for the quarterfinals.
But the ballroom empties by the Final with only
personal retinues still burning the midnight oil.
The champ at the moment of victory (left)
and for her winning photo (above).

Can't Stop Junior 2016

The Parauda brothers, James and Tom, are educators experienced with working with children at the Blair Academy in Blairstown, New Jersey. Every year the family makes a field trip to WBC. This year they again leant their considerable talents to manning one of our juniors events—always a task that earns lots of extra brownie points with Saint Peter I'm told.This year 22 junior Can't Stoppers vied for the title. My daughter, the elementary school teacher, says that is an apt description for this age group. The best energizer bunny this year happened to be Jay Schoenen who must have been payimg attention in math class. He was followed in order by the following perpetual motion purveyors:

  • 2nd: Freya Brody
  • 3rd: Shira Weiss
  • 4th: Mike McNally
  • 5th: Charlotte Parauda
  • 6th: Tegan Powers

Look out adults - another class of WBC Juniors graduates is about to be unleashed.

The big Can't Stop board looks even bigger with pint-sized players. GM Tom Parauda awards 1st place to Jay Schoenen.
GM  Andrew Drummond [1st year]  5053 Pinedale Ave, Burlington, Ontario L7L 5J6
 andrew.ross.drummond@gmail.com  NA