Game: Survive: Escape from Atlantis!
Manufacturer: Stronghold Games
Designer: Julian Courtland-Smith
Survive :Escape from Atlantis is a 2-4 player hate-simulator in which you vindictively murder your opponent’s meeples while desperately trying to escape with yours. Alliances will form as you share precious boats, then fall apart as soon as it’s no-longer convenient for one of you. Wars will begin as sea monsters eat boats and meeples alike in a horrible bloodbath of unfairness. If you can’t handle being angry at your friends then this game isn’t for you!
Survive simulates the sinking of an island while all its ill-prepared population try to flee. There aren’t enough boats for everyone, there are sharks and monsters in the water, the land is falling apart underneath them, it’s every man for themselves! Well, sort of, each player has a coloured tribe of meeples which they own and must endeavour to get as many as possible off the central island and onto one of the 4 islands in the corner of the game board. Each meeple has a number on the bottom, hidden from every player (you can look at it at the start of the game, but from then on you have to remember) which is the number of points that meeple earns you if it survives. Personally we treat these points as an optional rule, the winner is the player with the most people alive, but ties are broken by the numbers.
Each turn you get 3 actions, moving a meeple you control 1 hex, moving a meeple in the water 1 hex, moving a boat you control (have the most/joint most meeple on) 1 hex or climbing onto a boat. Meeples in the water can only use one action to move each, but every other situation you can choose to spend as many of your actions on 1 meeple as you’d like. After moving you can choose an island tile to dunk into the sea, along with any meeples on it. You have to deplete all the beach before you can dunk forest, then all the forest before the mountains. The reverse side of the tiles have an action on them, this can either be on you save up (such as shark repellent or helpful dolphins helping a swimmer) or they can be instant actions which you have to do, such as spawning sharks/whales or whirlpools which kill everything in the sea near them.
|The game set up ready for play, each player places their own meeples 1 at a time and then 2 boats which they hope to use to escape|
The game ends when one of the revealed tiles shows the volcano, at which point everyone not on one of the 4 corner islands is considered killed by the eruption. Your final action is to roll the dice, this tells you which of the three kinds of creatures to move. Whales move fast but can only destroy boats, they are harmless to meeple. Sharks move at a moderate speed and kill meeple, but can’t get anyone in a boat. Finally there are the slow moving sea monsters, they move 1 space, but destroy boats and kill all meeple on the tile, plus there are 5 of them on the board to start, 4 right next to the safe spots and 1 in the middle of the island. It’s probably pretty self-evident that all of the anger in this game comes from who gets dunked and where the monsters are moved. Sure no-one can blame you for taking your chance to use a seam monster to eat a full boat... well actually everyone will blame you, and you’ll spend the rest of the game with sharks under your boats at every opportunity!
|The tiles under the land, from left to right, volcano, whirlpool, boat, move a boat, move a sea monster, move a swimming meeple, spawn a whale, spawn a shark, move a shark, shark repellent and whale repellent.|