What is Survive: Escape from Atlantis?
Survive: Escape from Atlantis (from Stronghold Games) is a game with shades of Forbidden Island.
This is a complement. Forbidden Island is one of the best games I own, and one I keep returning to. Both games have a play area which is different every time – tiles are drawn at random to make up the board – and the play area rapidly diminishes in size with every move.
Unlike Forbidden Island which is a cooperative game however, Escape from Atlantis certainly isn’t.
Players start the game by adding terrain tiles to the board, to create the play area. These either picture sand, forest or mountain, and the tiles vary in thickness so the island you create is given a nice three dimensional touch.
Meeples are then placed on the board. These have numbers on their base, and it’s important for players to remember where these are – you can’t look again once they’re on the board.
The objective of the game is to help these meeples escape the island, either swimming or on boats. Each turn, a tile is turned over (sand tiles first until they are gone, then forest, then mountain) revealing an action. Some of these can help a player, some can hinder.
For instance, some cause a shark, sea monster or whale to appear on the board. Whales can overturn boats, removing it from play and meaning the meeples must swim for safety or to a nearby boat. Sharks will eat a meeple if they enter the same space of water, and sea monsters do both.
To escape, meeples must be delivered safely to one of four sites in the corner of the board. Once the game is over, the points on the underside of the meeples are counted up, and the player with the highest score wins.
Is it good for two players?
I’ve only ever played with two players, and we really enjoyed this game. I’ve seen pictures of games featuring more than two people, and it looks crazy. In a good way.
I’d like to try it just to see Atlantis completely filled with meeples and players really fighting over boats, which can only carry three at a time. This is definitely something lacking from the two player game, but the two player game brings with it other challenges.
Escape from Atlantis is surprisingly strategic. Should I send my meeple straight to a boat or wait to see how things play out? Should I use the card I overturned or save it for later? There are a lot of choices that will affect gameplay that you probably won’t expect from the cartoony(but awesome)-style of the box graphics.
The version of the game I have is the 30th anniversary edition, which (I believe) has updated components – wood as opposed to cardboard – but the gameplay is the same. The quality is really nice.
I recommend this one. It’s a fairly light and fast game but one that has just enough enough depth to make it interesting, and plenty of re-playability with a different play area each time.
UPDATE: The game’s publisher, Stronghold, recently announced a new game, Survive: Space Attack which features similar mechanics but updated graphics and a little more depth. It might be worth waiting, if you’re particularly fond of the sci-fi theme, and check it out as an upgrade from the original game.
The game’s official site can be seen here.