This time Under The Microscope – Survive: Escape From Atlantis Designed by David Ausloos, published by Stronghold Games
In Survive: Escape From Atlantis players are inhabitants that must escape from a sinking island. They must brave the dangers of the seas to reach safe islands at the edge of the board. It is a great family game with a high competition value. The components are fantastic. It is easy to learn and has high replayability.
Games has brought back classic game in Survive: Escape From Atlantis. The game combines to previously published games – Survive and Escape From Atlantis by Parker Brothers. The idea of the game is to move your meeples from the central island, which is ‘sinking’, to the four outer islands. Meeples escape either by swimming or by boat. The island will get smaller and smaller until finally the volcano erupts and destroys everything, ending the game.
Materials And Methods
This game has fantastic components. It has a nice quad-fold board with good graphics. The rules manual is well written, clear and precise. The game pieces are the stars though. The meeples, boats, and creatures are well done wooden pieces. Meeples are in the standard red, blue, green, yellow and have numbers on the bottoms. These numbers are the number of points the player gets if that meeple makes it to one of the safe islands.
Lastly, the tiles. There are three types of tile representing the three terrain types: beach, jungle, mountain. Now Stronghold could have just made them
in three different colors. But no, they went above and beyond. The three terrains are represented graphically AND physically. The beach tiles have a nice beach/sand graphic. The jungle tiles have green jungle canopy plus they are thicker than the beach tiles. The mountain tiles look like mountains and are thicker than the jungle tiles. Not only are the graphics appropriate but the increasing thickness of the tiles mimics the increasing elevation that you would see with these types of terrain. Brilliant!
Game play is very straight forward. On a turn, a player has three moves. These can be either move a meeple around the island, onto a boat, or move a boat across the water. But there are restrictions to the movement. Swimming meeples can only move one space per turn or this can be used to climb into a boat. Boats are moved by player with the majority of meeples on board. It takes one move to jump out of the boat onto a safe island. Once a player uses his three moves, he flips a tile. The tiles are one of the coolest parts and mechanics of the game. The beach tiles are flipped first. Then the jungle tiles and then the mountain tiles. Great theme and mechanics blend to simulate what would actually happen with a sinking island. Each tile has iconography on the back depicting actions that may be immediate or possibly held for later use. Immediate actions are place a shark, whale, or empty boat where the tile was. Held actions include canceling a shark, whale, or serpent attack. The tile might also have a whirlpool or the volcano. A whirlpool destroys everything in a one hex perimeter. Revealing the volcano ends the game. The last thing done on a turn is roll the dice. Players must roll the Creature die and move the indicated creature – one space for the sea serpent, two for the shark, and three spaces for the whale. Play then moves to the next player.
There are two modes of play – Basic and Advanced. For the basic game, players roll the red Creature die. The advanced game you roll the 2 blue dice then move one of the pieces the number of spaces on the dice. There is a ‘D’ on one of the blue dice that means the
appropriate creature (indicated by the other blue die) to any unoccupied space on the board.
Discussion and Conclusion
Both of the previous game are fondly remembered and sought after. Stronghold has done an excellent job bringing then back in Survive: Escape From Atlantis. It has combined the best of each game. The game is physically beautiful. The game play is smooth and fun. It plays in under an hour on average. The game definitely has a ‘take that’ aspect but it adds to the game. Survive is a perfect family game that has just enough strategy for the gamer. This game is a big hit in our lab. You can find out more at Stronghold Games and BGG.
Microscope Rating: 5 of 5 microscopes
images sourced from Boardgame Geek