Chairman of the Board: I hope you can swim

Illustration by Ed Appleby
Illustration by Ed Appleby

‘Survive: Escape from Atlantis’ board game review

By Ed Appleby, Contributor




What is it with board games and sinking islands?

Survive: Escape from Atlantis! (2011) is a grid-based adventure game for two to four people designed by Julian Courtland-Smith and published by Stronghold Games. In the game, players attempt to save their coloured meeples, which are secretly scored from one to six points, by getting them off of an island that is slowly sinking by either swimming or taking a boat. Meeples are vulnerable to sharks, whales, and sea monsters that other players may use to destroy fellow players’ pieces. The player who saves the highest point value of their people at the end of the game wins.

The game was originally released as just Survive in 1982, and in 2011 it was merged with another game Escape from Atlantis (1986). The two games had similar grids and gameplay, with only some minor differences in the rules. The newest release combined the two games favouring the Survive rules, but still has the ability to be played with the Escape rules too. As far as I can tell this is the only case I can find of two games being combined like this, barring homebrew mashups like Zombies: Mall Madness or Telestrations against Humanity.

Unlike a lot of other sinking island games, Survive is a lot more competitive and requires a little more strategy. Though the play is simple it’s going to take some serious moves in order to win, including saving other players pieces in order to win them to your side. This gives the game a more interactive element on all turns.

All in all, I found the game okay. The game mechanics are fun and engaging with a lot of strategy and psychology, but nothing about it really jumped out at me.