You have to go back to 1982 to when the original Escape From Atlantis board game was first released. For context, hot songs of the era were ‘Physical’ by Olivia Newton-John and ‘Don’t You Want Me’ by The Human League… Woah, wa-wa-woah – wait, come back! Unlike some questionable tastes of the ’80s, this game was way ahead of its time and absolutely deserves to sit alongside modern titles of today.
Survive: Escape From Atlantis is a 30th year anniversary reprint of that ’80s classic. On the whole it’s the same game, but this has received both some TLC on component quality, and some rules tweaks. Each player places 10 stranded people on the island of Atlantis (made up of terrain hexes in a modular fashion), and they have to try to get them off to the safety of neighbouring isles before Atlantis sinks.
Gameplay works on an action point allowance system, where you can have three movement actions available to you, so you may opt to move one person three times, or a variety of people once. People will be scrambling to get their people into the limited number of boats that sit on the island’s edge, and then, if they ‘control’ the boat (have the most people in one), they can move the boat towards one of the safe isles, too.
At the end of your turn, you’ll pick a tile to remove from the island’s perimeter. Any occupants on that tile don’t drown, they just ‘tread water’ for now… But that’s trouble, because now you have to obey the action stated on the tile’s reverse. This is the fun bit: the tiles might introduce extra boats on the shoreline, or maybe sea monsters – a whale that capsizes boats, a shark that eats swimmers, or a serpent that eats multiple people! You’ll quickly realise just how cutthroat Survive: Escape From Atlantis is – this is a survival game, personified.
Your turn ends with you rolling the sea monster die, and you then move the appropriate creature (away from your stranded swimmers, presumably, and towards your opponents)!
The wonderful thing about Survive: Escape From Atlantis is that at the start of the game you (and only you) know the value of each person you place (worth 1-6 points each), which is printed on their base. Once placed, you cannot then re-check their value, so you’d best remember which ones are worth more than others! You’ll only score points off any lucky people you successfully get to the other islands.
Like we said, this is a reprint by Stronghold Games, and it’s credited to the designer of the original title, Julian Courtland-Smith. We love the wooden sea creatures here: the light blue destructive whale, the ominous black shark fin, and the greedy serpents. There are other monsters in expansions available too, such as Survive: The Giant Squid that add even more fun (or terror, depending on where you’re floating in the water)…
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