Survive: Escape From Atlantis Review

Overview: Survive: Escape from Atlantis by Stronghold Games is an island escape modular board game for 2-4 players.  Once the Atlantis Island is set up using hex tiles randomly placed in the middle of the board, players take turns placing their explorers on each hex tile.  Each explorer meeple has a point value on the bottom, between 1-6 points.  The goal of the game is to escape with your explorers to the safe isle before Atlantis sinks!  Once the volcano tile is revealed, the game is over. Whoever has the most points wins the game!survive box

Survive: Escape from Atlantis 30th Anniversary Edition is the Stronghold Games reboot of the original 1982 game called Escape From Atlantis.  Players try to get their meeples off the sinking island by using their 3 allotted moves per turn.  There are also ships placed around the island at the beginning of the game that players can move as well.  All the while, players must avoid getting eaten by sharks, sea serpents, and thrown in the water by whales.

After a player moves their meeples or ships on their turn, they must remove a hex island tile, sometimes throwing an opponent in the water!  Each hex tile has an effect that is either red or green bordered.  The green tiles get played immediately, and can be a positive or negative effect.  Some examples: a hex tile effect might bring a shark onto that tile or the hex tile effect might bring a ship to the tile, allowing all the explorers on that tile to board.  If the hex tile is a red border, it’s saved for play on the beginning of your next turn.  Another hex tile has an X in the middle, which allows you to cancel certain effects.  The most exciting tile though is the whirlpool tile, which swallows the tile and all the tiles around it in a vortex of doom.survive gameplay 1

While hex tiles can bring whales and sharks onto the board, the die roll at the end of a players turn allows that player to move a sea serpent, shark, or whale a certain number of spaces.  This creates some of the “take that” mechanism in the game, as you can eat opponents’ meeples or ships!  As long as you keep the attitude light, players should have no problem with getting eaten.  It’s part of the fun, and adds to the theme of the game.

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There is definitely strategy to Survive, such as keeping your high numbered meeples in check and getting them off to the safe isle first. You also have to determine whether it makes sense to hop on a boat with another opponent, and keeping a temporary alliance.  The strategy keeps more experienced gamers interested, while the randomness of the creature die and hex tiles keep the game light and fun.  Because of this, Survive is great for the whole family.  The game suggests 8 and up, but a kid as young as 6 could participate.

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Not only is the gameplay engaging and interactive, but the art and board are stunning.  When all the meeples and hex tiles are placed on the board, it creates a mosaic of colors.  Players will also appreciate the wooden ships, sea serpents, whales and sharks.  The components are all very high quality, from the thick hex tiles to the plastic explorer meeples.  Survive: Escape from Atlantis is a fantastic light strategy game that will satisfy many players.

2 Player Experience

With two player Survive, you control two colors so that every hex tile is covered by a meeple at the beginning of the game.  Because you control two colors, there’s less reason to hop on a ship with your opponent.  The game is less semi-cooperative with two players, and at times more strategic.  The board doesn’t change much before your next turn, so it’s easier to plan ahead and move your explorers.  You still get the joy of the sharks eating your opponent, when you are able to take them out.  Two player maintains the light gameplay while having more strategy and planning.

4 Player Experience

Four player can get chaotic but still maintains it’s enjoyment level.   The board can change a lot before your next turn, and planning is hard.  If two players are on the same boat, the other players will strive and take that ship out.  You don’t have as much control as in two player and the game becomes more random.  However, it doesn’t detract from the fun of the game, as long as players keep a good attitude.  The best part about four player is revealing the whirlpool tile and having everyone’s meeples nearby go in the drink.

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