Survive (aka Escape From Atlantis)

edited September 2015 in Board Game Reviews
One of our Origins purchases was the 30th Anniversary edition of Survive, Escape From Atlantis published by Stronghold Games. This version does not have the fancy plastic pieces that some of the older versions have. Instead, the game uses individual hex tiles to represent the terrain on the island. The terrain tiles come in three thicknesses, representing beach, jungle and mountain. Naturally, the thinner tiles are the first removed, the thickest the last. On the reverse of each tile is an image that shows a shark, a boat, a whale, a whirlpool or volcano. Depending on the image, some of these trigger immediate action, whereas others can be saved by the drawing player for later use. The rest of the bits are wooden meeples (people, shark fins, whales, sea serpents, boats).

In their turn, a player plays a held tile if he chooses, then moves his meeples and/or boats under his control a total of three spaces. Then he removes a tile, possibly forcing some meeples into swimmer status. Lastly, he rolls a die, the result of which allows him to move one of the sharks, sea serpents or whales toward his opponents or away from his own people. The object of the game is of course to get your people off the sinking island and onto dry land at the corners of the board. It is most definitely a game on the lighter end of the spectrum, but it is fun to play and does not take very long.

From the BGG store, I recently acquired a pair of mini-expansions for the game. Dolphins and Diving Dice add an extra die to the rolling phase. This allows for the sea monsters to sometimes "dive" and be placed anywhere on the board rather than moving a hex or two as before. It also adds dolphins that can protect your swimming meeples from harm. The Giant Squids expansion is particularly nasty. These can be placed instead of whales when they are called for. These creatures can pluck meeples from dry land.

We played with both of these new expansions this weekend in a three player game, with Caroline, Mom and myself. Mom had never played before but quickly got the hang of it. Caroline quickly found all of her meeples swimming due to some whale/boat interaction. I was the first to get some of my people to safety but sadly, my earlier use of Giants Squids came back to haunt me as the ladies' directly sharks and whales to my folks whenever they could. Caroline's swimmers ran out of time before the game ending volcano was revealed, giving Mom the win.

The expansions do add a bit to the game, although the Giant Squids tend to make the early action more significant and left us with little to do toward the end. Survive is a game that will get repeated play at our house.
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