Survive: Escape from Atlantis

“Ha Haaah! Nom nom nom!!” I said when the sea serpent ate my wife’s boat full of meeples. “Nom nom nom” I said again to drive the point home.
“I’m sure you don’t act like this when you’re at the games club with your friends” she said.
So I shut my mouth, and the game became a silent, vicious, deadly, cut-throat game of human anguish, pain, fear and suffering.

Being a Wigan Athletic supporter I’m used to this, so I was able to see the misery heading towards me, this time in the form of little wooden sharks, and thus more successfully dodge the carnage.

Survive: Escape from Atlantis is a re-imagining of a game from my youth. I seem to remember lava heading down the mountain as the island sank so the meeples had nowhere to run. In this incarnation there is no lava, but a whole host of nastiness in the water: Whales? Check. Sharks? Check. Sea Serpents? Check.

So each turn each player’s meeples move a combined total of 3 hexes (on land that is. swimmers can only move one, which makes it difficult to escape the sharks). Then they sink a bit of island, potentially dumping the islanders into a whole mess of pain – on the reverse of the island tiles there will be an instruction to place an object in its place (sharks – bad, boats – good) or it will allow you to move the monsters or aid your swimmers with a friendly dolphin on a later turn. Lastly the monster die is rolled and the result dictates the monster you can move. This is the fun bit where Sea Serpents chomp up a boat load of victims or a shark can chase down a frantically doggy-paddling islander. Well, it’s fun for me, I’m not sure my wife appreciates my re-enactments of crunching bones, rending limbs and flesh being stripped from living humans.

What’s wrong with her???

The meeples themselves are nice bits of wood and the tiles are thick and chunky, with the mountains being thicker than the forests, which are in turn thicker than the beaches, which maintains the 3D effect of the original I had when I was a kid.

It gets more intense with more than 2 players – the tactic of trying to keep a swimmer more than one hex from a sea serpent or two hexes from a sharp ceases to be valid as more stuff happens in-between your turns. Plenty of fast-talking and negotiation takes place as you persuade your opponents that someone else’s meeples are tastier than your own.

And that’s the game in a nutshell. Sooner or later the volcano will be revealed, triggering a massive explosion wiping out the island and creating a tsunami that wipes everything from the board; meeples who haven’t reached the safety of the surrounding isles are drowned and the survivors are totalled to determine a winner. I didn’t find much tactical thought or forward planning was necessary (or even possible) but one thing we found was the introduction of the blue dice – allowing for variable monster movement distances – made any tactical positioning of meeples completely redundant.

I’ve had a good time playing this game, which my good friend Will lent to me, and we’re getting as many games in as possible before he starts banging on the front door demanding it back.

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2 Comments to “Survive: Escape from Atlantis”

  1. KNOCK! KNOCK! KNOCK!

    I now have the 5-6 player and squid expansions for this now Alan thanks to Andy for more random mayhem.

  2. I can’t decide if this is the best game ever for the club or a recipe for disaster!

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