Nick Thomas
Canada
Kitchener
Ontario
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Hi guys,

I'm getting Survive for Christmas and was wondering if the Giant Squid is a must add to the base game?

Do the players that have the Giant Squid include it in every game? Pros/Cons?

Thanks. =)
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Kyle W.
United States
Up Nort' Der
Wisconsin
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They certainly add to the carnage, so they're a very fun addition to the game.

On the other hand, when they're in play the whales see a lot less action, and some players consider the squids to be overpowered if you play them straight (not allowing them to kill meeples immediately when placed is a good adjustment).


It appears they're still available in the BGG Store, so unless money is really tight there's really no reason not to pick up a set. You could get the 5-6 player expansion from there at the same time.
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Chad McCoy
United States
Vilonia
Arkansas
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Survive is one of my favorite games, but the giant squid expansion makes this so much more fun!

You see, in the base game, your meeple is relatively safe from harm as long as it remains on the island. If someone removes the tile it is standing on, your meeple will immediately fall into the water, but that in itself is not going to kill it, and odds are you are going to have time to attempt to swim for a boat or directly to one of the safe islands.

However, once you begin to use the squid, all that changes, because a squid can be placed in the water adjacent to a meeple and with its long tentacles, can pull the hapless meeple right off the shore!

The meeple abductions are what really make this seem like a sinister scenario right out of the Bermuda Triangle or Jason and the Argonauts.

After the first time we played with the squid, I made the comment that, "the giant squid really make this game better and more exciting," and I was met by a chorus of "yeah's" by everyone else in the room. Even other people who had been watching the game (and had played the base game before) now wanted to play with the giant squid expansion.

Now when we play Survive, it always seems to be missing something if we don't use the giant squid. So for us, yes, it is a must-have. I picked up two copies brand new on Ebay for about $8 including shipping (I wanted a second set to use as replacements in case any of them break).

Cons - This expansion is very obviously a tacked on afterthought. The base game does not allow for it to be seamlessly added. None of the island tiles have a squid on it, so the only way to get the squid in play is to say, "Whenever you draw a whale tile, you have the option of using a squid instead of the whale."

Yet many times, we forget to use the squid because we forget about this rule. There is no visual reminder that the squid can be used in place of the whale, and one time we played the entire game without ever once brnging a squid into play because we just kept forgetting about it. When you draw a whale tile, you just think, "Ok, give me one of the whales." It can be difficult to remember the squid, so sometimes they don't get used as often as you might like. Of course, once you have played enough times, you will remember, but in the beginning it wil happen plenty and we still forget about the squid on occasion.

So this expansion is a bit fiddly. I think that if they had issued several additional tiles with the squid on them, it would have made for a more seamless addition to the game.

The 5,6 player expansion is also a bit fiddly. You have to reduce the entire number of meeples in the game in order to make room for the new players. There's a variation that alows all of the meeples to remain in the game, but then there are additional fiddly rules about where they are allowed to be on the island.

I think that Survive jut wasn't made to be able to incorporate further expansions, so the new scenarios just feel tacked on. They do work and can be great fun, but there's no denying that the implementation of the expansions leaves you feeling as if you're playing with house rules instead of an official expansion.

Maybe for the 5,6 player expansion, they could have included some extra beach tiles to make one additional row - by making the island one row larger with additional tiles, it could have entirely accounted for 2 new players without having to reduce the total, since if you count the hexes, there are exactly 20 empty spaces surrounding the island, and then each player could have used their ten meeples without the need for additional rules. (5 players just means there would have been 10 empty spaces on the island.)

So to answer your question, we consider the Giant Squid expansion a must-have (it adds so much to the delightful chaos of the game), and we do include it in every game.
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Matt Leach
United Kingdom
London
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The squid is essential to making the two player game fun. Without it, it's too easy, and the sea to sparsely populated - it's a going through the motions exercise. The squid takes up space on the board and makes beach edge meeple placement a big risk, massively improving the general fear and chaos. For 4 players I'd say it was optional. But for two you need added stuff to make it work - and a combination of squid and the dolphin variant plus blue dice transform the game.
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Jason C
United States
North Carolina
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mattxboard wrote:
The squid is essential to making the two player game fun. Without it, it's too easy, and the sea to sparsely populated - it's a going through the motions exercise. The squid takes up space on the board and makes beach edge meeple placement a big risk, massively improving the general fear and chaos. For 4 players I'd say it was optional. But for two you need added stuff to make it work - and a combination of squid and the dolphin variant plus blue dice transform the game.


I 100% agree with that rundown.
I have to say, for the simple joy that I get out of the thematic fun of having the giant squid vs. whale in the game, it's a must have, but that's a pretty personal reason. On top of that, there's a devious glee in sweeping unsuspecting meeples from the shoreline or boats.
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