FTW Staff Picks - Survive: Escape from Atlantis!
For The Win Board Game Cafe's Staff Picks is a weekly series where we take a quick look at some of the staff's favourite games, old and new.
Survive: Escape from Atlantis!
Designer: Julian Courtland-Smith
Player Size: 2 to 4 Players
Game Length: 60 minutes
For fans of: Trouble, Sorry, The Downfall of Pompeii
Survive: Escape from Atlantis is kind of like the film Cast Away. Except instead of a volleyball, there are sharks, whales and hydra. And instead of 1 Tom Hanks, there are dozens of Tom Hanks grouped into teams, where certain Tom Hanks' are more valuable than others. Actually, it's nothing like Cast Away.
We've covered our fair share of cutthroat games on FTW Staff Picks, but the general feeling coming out of those games tends to be hurt feelings. With Survive, I'd position that the game takes a "mean" gameplay element, and makes it whimsical. Sometimes tripping up an opponent in Cutthroat Caverns brings out the salt in even the most serene players. But when a hydra takes out a ship full of meeples, it just feels a tad more light-hearted.
That's not to say Survive is a game entirely built on luck. For such an easy game to teach, there's a fair bit of planning involved from turn-to-turn. Of course, in Survive it's easy for your plans to go under (literally), but typically you will work to protect your highest valued meeples. There's even a bit of bluffing involved with trying to mind-game your opponents into prioritizing your lower values. The expansion extends the player count to 6, and is really worth getting for a game like this.
It's unique to think of a cutthroat game as a family experience, but I've seen quite a few families really enjoy Survive in the café. Think of it as Trouble or Sorry with more player control and an overall more fulfilling experience, without adding much more bulk.