Most stories follow the heroes; the person or people who, against all odds, manage to succeed. Skill, or luck, or divine intervention, they "win" whatever they were trying to do.
Ten Candles is about the other people. The ones who don't win, who don't get the lucky break, who lack the skills necessary, or lack the favor of the gods.
When you're playing high-stakes games like the end of the world, losing typically means death. If you've done it right, everyone should have pushed past their brink and be a shell of who they one were. The only thing that can get people to pull out all the stops is an eminent death.
But Ten Candles is a storytelling game; if you want to play it in a way where people might survive, you can. You just need a good reason why the players have to push their limits and break instead of just walk away.