pic771130_md[1]By Paco Garcia Jaen

Stronghold Games is one of those companies that take an initiative so good, so terrific, that you just want them to succeed, and cross your fingers that they get it right. They have taken a massive risk by taking a game from a long time ago, re-make it and sell it to a both old and new audience.

Survive Escape from Atlantis is a game for up to four players, published in the 80’s by Parker and it was a nice game. Now it has been brought to us by Stronghold Games and it is a VERY nice game.

The premise of the game is simple enough. A volcano is sinking the island of Atlantis, and you’re in charge to take as many people as you can to safety, either by swimming, or by transporting your people in boats to nearby islands. Of course this is not an easy task. Whales, sharks and sea serpents await the opportunity to topple your boats and eat your population. The fact that the other players get their chance to place the deadly creatures in the way of the opponents, makes things even trickier!

survive-19[1]The game satisfies from the start. Stronghold Games have taken a “excellent quality” approach to the production of the game. The box is lovely, is sturdy and feels like the corners won’t break any time soon. The artwork is adequate and even though is not ground-breaking, it tells what goes on in the game perfectly and at a glance. Very well chosen.

The  board is thick, heavy and features a very vibrant image of the sea where Atlantis is sinking, four islands in the corners, where the players must take their tokens, the hexagonal pattern where the island tiles are placed, and two tables with the amount of hexagons creatures move when they get the chance.

Then you get the wood figures. People are represented by Meeples style human shapes. Then you have the purple sea serpents, black sharks, blue whales and dolphins. Good quality wood and they are lovely to handle.

pic806406_md[1]There are three type of tiles. Beaches, forests and mountains. Each round, one of the tiles will be taken away by the player. Underneath there are different icons that represent actions, such a creature appearing on that tile, a boat arriving, etc. Also some of those actions are to be put into place immediately, whilst others the player can keep in their hand and use them when it is most convenient. First all the beach tiles must go. Then the forests and lastly the mountain. Good attention to detail paid to them too. The forest tiles are twice as thick as the beach ones, and the mountain three times thicker than the beach ones.

The game ends when one of the players uncovers the volcano, which is under one of the mountain tiles. Once that’s happened, the players take a look at the points under the small wooden tokens that represent the population. Put the number of points together and the player with the most points wins.

The rules are extremely simple. Took us some 10 minutes to get to grips with them. The game-play is very fast and the competitive edge and tension of not knowing what’s under the tiles make for a truly enjoyable time.

The rules book is clear, well laid out and gorgeously colourful. With the icons well displayed and explained, that one is the only page you’ll need to refer to the first few turns. After that, the game will just flow.

Worth mentioning that there are two ways of playing the game. The basic one, which is very simple and very quick, and the more complex one, which uses the dolphins, which is also very simple and very quick… it just takes about 10 minutes to learn, rather than less than 10 minutes.

Conclusion

I loved this game. It is perfect to play with children. It is good fun and perfect for a party or to fill up half an hour. Looks lovely, it is reasonably priced and the production values are stunning.

True is that it lacks the depth of Eurogames or more complex themed games. It won’t keep you amused for hours on end, though it will keep your kids amused for hours on end. However it is charming, tense and Stronghold Games is extending the life of the game by releasing new expansions that add to the game very nicely, and for an amazing price.

This game receives a very well deserved 4 stars out of 5.

Survive Escape from Atlantis is available from: