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Surviving Atlantis - Survive! Escape From Atlantis - Review

Jason Moslander
United States
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As the waves splashed on the island in the early morning in the Mediterranean, something seemed different. It was as if the sea was angry. Then, it happened--a mighty earthquake began to shake the island. I saw beaches suddenly engulfed by the ocean. It was then that I realized that the island was sinking, and we must get off this rock before it's too late. I gathered up my friends and we began to set sail for the nearby mainland, however, we knew that there was not going to be enough room for everyone. Some would have to swim and hope that the sharks and sea serpents were not close by. As for us on the boats, we had to be weary of the sea serpents tearing the hull in two, or a killer whale capsizing us into the dangerous waters. We paddled as hard as we could, but the sea was angry. We could see other boats getting tossed like salad on the waves. Then, the unthinkable happened, a boat not too far off was swallowed whole by one of serpents that calls these waters home. As the island sunk deeper and deeper into the ocean, we saw more people swimming and then less and less people were making it too the mainland. We were some of the first to make it, but we were unable to help our friends because the waters were just too dangerous. In the end, almost half of the population of Atlantis was lost to the waves. Then, it happened--an underground volcano erupted and sent lava and ash into the sea and killed anyone and anything that was still in the water. It was a horrible day, but we survived, we escaped the island of Atlantis.

Survive: Escape From Atlantis! is a reprint of an old game from the 1980s. Stronghold Games recently reprinted this game and made it spectacular. The game is for 2-4 players (2-6 with the expansion) and takes about an hour to play. The premise of the game is that each player has 10 meeples that are on the island of Atlantis. The island begins to sink and you have to get your meeples to the mainland via boat or swimming on the open waters. The problem is, these waters are crawling with sharks, whales, sea serpents, and giant squid (via the Giant Squid Expansion). On their turn, each player can move three spaces with any combination of meeples or boats that you control. Then, you flip over a land tile that is the lowest (first sand, then forest, and finally mountain). These tiles can allow you to block or attack other players, place a sea creature of some sort on the removed tile's space, or it could be is a whirlpool that destroys anything in the water that is surrounding said tile. The game continues in this fashion until the tile containing the volcano is drawn, which ends the game and kills anything that was still in the water. Each player tallies up their score and the person with the most points wins (it may not be the person with the most saved meeples as each meeple has a point value associated with it from 1-6).

Survive! is a great 'take that' game. As you play, you will drop your opponents into the water or make a shark attack their swimmers. You may even pull a whirlpool tile that destroys everyone it is surrounding. This game can get intense as the island shrinks and your meeples start dropping like flies. I love the strategy in this game and I love how much fun it is. The game is just a blast to play and is easy to learn so inexperienced gamers can have a great time playing this one.

As far as components, Stronghold Games has made this game top notch. The wooden meeples and sea creatures are great. The board is solid and the tiles are all different heights, which is a great touch. My only complaint is with the 5-6 player expansion. They switched the meeples from wood to plastic and you have to put stickers on the bottom of each of them. I would prefer 2 new sets of wooden meeples to add to my existing set, but they decided to give you 6 new sets of the plastic ones. Other than this, the components are top-notch. You couldn't make them much better. The price for the game is dead on as well, running at approximately $50.

Survive! has tons of replay value. The variable tile placement and variations on the game make this one fun every time you bring it out. I have always had a great time playing this one, and it leaves you waiting to play again. It's great for almost any age too. The kids will have fun with the different animals and it's easy enough for your aunts and uncles to play too. Solid game and a solid buy.

As far as the expansion go, I felt that these were both a little lack luster. If you want some more chaos, The Giant Squid Expansion is a great choice. I felt that the squids were a little too powerful and made it very difficult to get your meeples off the island. As for the five to six player expansion, this game is really built for three to four players. Anymore and things take too long and there are not enough turns for each player. There is also a lack of boats, especially if they start getting destroyed. Just a little too much going on for my liking.

Now, the real question: how does it play with two? And the answer is that the game is a good two-player game, but also great with more--I think it is best with three to four. With the take that element, the game just plays best with that number of players. With more than four, it feels too chaotic and it drags a little as you wait for your turn. That being said, Mrs. Games With Two and myself still love to bring it out and play with just the two of us. It becomes more of a race, rather than a "take that" style game, as we each try to get our little meeples home. If you don't have this one in your collection, get it there soon. I believe that it is currently out of print, but I am sure you can find it somewhere and hopefully a reprint should be on its way soon.

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