Survive – Escape from Atlantis from Stronghold Games is a four-player game where you are competing to remove the most treasure from the sinking island. The game starts with your explorers scattered across the landscape of Atlantis and the aim is to get the explorers back to dry land before they get lost at sea. Each explorer is removing a secret number of treasures, so this means you can still win even if you have not saved as many explorers. It is the player with the highest amount of treasure that wins the game.
To setup the game you need to follow the steps below;
- Lay the game board out so it is in reach of all players
- Locate the 5 sea serpent tokens and place one on each matching symbol. There is one in the centre and one at each corner of the board.
- You will now need to create the island of Atlantis. In the box you will find 16 beach tiles, 16 forest tiles and 8 mountain tiles. Place all 40 tiles randomly within the black border in the centre of the board, they should be displaying the landscape face up. It is important that players do not know what is on the other side of each tile.
- Each Player selects a colour and takes 2 Ship Tokens and the 10 matching explorers. (If you are playing with just two players then you take two colours each)
- Each explorer token has a number from 1 – 6 displayed underneath it which represents the amount of treasure they are carrying. Starting with the first player, you may look at the number of your explorer before placing it on an empty tile on the Atlantis landscape. It is important to note that this is the last time you can look at the number so you need to try and memorise where the high numbers are located. Taking it in turns, the explorers are placed one by one until all 10 are on the island.
Starting with the first player, each player will take turns to place a ship token on an empty sea space that is adjacent to a landscape tile of any type.
On each players turn there are four actions that are taken in a specific order. Players will take the special action of a landscape tile that they had gained from a previous round, Move Ships or explorers, remove a landscape tile from Atlantis and finally role the creature dice and resolve the action. These actions are taken in this fixed order and will be completed each turn until the game ends.
Action 1 - Landscape Tiles
This action is not able to be taken on the first go but in subsequent turns this is the phase that you are able to play any special abilities that you have gained from tiles. You are able to play one tile per turn during this phase and take the appropriate action.
Action 2 – Explorer / Ship movements
During this phase in Survive – Escape from Atlantis , you have three spaces of movement to take with your explorers and the ships. You can use your three moves in any combination, for example, you can move the same explorer three spaces, three different explorers one space each or move an explorer one space and a ship two spaces etc.
Action 3 – Removing A Landscape Tile From Atlantis
During this phase the island of Atlantis will continue to sink, you will need to select a tile and remove it from the board. All beach tiles will need to be removed first before forest tiles and then finally the mountain tiles. When removing a tile, it must be adjacent to a sea space. If there are any explorers on the tile then they are placed directly into the sea. If a beach tile is land locked then it will need to be the last tile of the beach landscape to be removed. Without showing the other players, look at the back of the tile. If it has a green border then it has an action that has to be done immediately, if it has a red border then it is a tile that you save and can only play during action 1. If it has a red border with a red cross then it is a defensive action.
Action 4 – Dice Rolling
There are three different creatures within the game – sea serpents, whales and sharks. Each creature has different movement and associated actions. During this phase you will roll the dice and then move the associated creature in order to help your route to dry land or hinder another players.
Movement Rules & Restrictions
During Action 2 of each turn, you can make movements of explorers and ships, however, there are specific movement rules that needs to be complied with.
There are different restrictions on movements of explorers depending on where they are located on the board. If they are still on a landscape tile then they can be moved to adjacent tile or move to an adjacent ship. Explorers on land can move up to three spaces, however, if an explorer is in a sea space (known as a swimmer) then they can only move 1 space per round. An explorer can move into the sea or onto a ship but they cannot return to land. A swimmer can only move into a ship if it is sharing the same space. Once the game begins; explorers can share the same spaces and occupy the same tiles.
The ships are used as a quicker way to get your explorers to dry land. The ships can carry a maximum of 3 explorers at a time but can move around with any number and can also be relocated if they are empty. The ships do not belong to any particular players and can be used by whoever gets there first! The ships can be moved a total of one space per action (total of three per turn). If the ship is empty then any player can move them, however, if the ship is occupied then the player who owns the majority of the explorers is the only player that can use their actions to move the ship. If there is an equal split then either player can move the ship. If you move the ship into the same space as a whale or a sea serpent then the consequences still occur.
Be Aware Of The Creatures!
The creatures can be a blocker to your progress and can result in explorers being removed from the game. During the 4th action of your turn, you will roll the dice and take creature actions. Creatures can share spaces with other creatures, explorers and ships but cannot travel across land.
Sea serpents can only move one space at a time, if they move into a space with a boat or a swimmer then they are completely removed from the game.
A shark can move up to two spaces, if they end their movement in a space with swimmers then they are removed from the game. If the explorers are in a ship, then nothing happens.
A whale can move up to three spaces and if they end their turn on a space with a ship then the whale will capsize it. The explorers will turn into swimmers and the boat will be removed from the game. Nothing happens if a whale shares a space with a swimmer.
When a tile in Survive – Escape from Atlantis is removed from Atlantis there are different special abilities. If they have a green border then they are actioned immediately. This can include adding a creature to the space that the tile was removed from, adding in a new ship or creating whirlpools that remove creatures, explorers and ships from the board. A red bordered tile is saved and can be played once per turn. The different actions can include helping your swimmer or ship move faster or relocating creatures to valid spaces. There are two tile types that have a red border with a cross and these are defensive tiles that will protect you from shark or whale attacks. Each action is represented with an illustration but the back of the rule book gives a clear explanation of what the action is and when it can be used.
Escaping With The Most Treasure
When the explorers reach one of the four corners of the board they can be moved onto dry land and will stay there until the end of the game. The four corners are equal in worth and any player can move to any corner. These explorers are now safe and have escaped the dangers of the sea creatures. The end of the game is triggered when a volcano is revealed under the tile of a mountain landscape. The volcano erupts and any tokens (explorers, ships, creatures and landscapes) that are still on Atlantis or in the sea are removed from the game. The players will then total up how much treasure they have manged to gain from Atlantis. The explorers will be turned upside down to reveal the number, these are then totalled up and the player with the most points wins!
Survive – Escape from Atlantis provides several alternatives to make the game different or more challenging. This includes explorers sharing tiles during setup, ignoring the volcano and playing until all tiles have disappeared, ignoring the treasure numbers and the majority of explorers saved is the winner or continue playing until all explorers either make it to dry land or are removed from the game. These alternatives give you an opportunity to change up peoples tactics and make the game more replayable. The main rules however, do give a lot of room for strategy so go and find the treasure but beware not to run in to too many creatures or the expedition will be in danger of succeeding!