I first played Survive! on a PC way way back and it was called last days of Atlantis or something like that. I liked it. It was good clean water based fun. One of the reasons it faded from my view like retinal afterimage was I had played the computer version and I had played it against bots. Fast forward with suitable sound effects to near present day and I get to play it at the last Knavecon with the expansion making it a six player water polo mosh. It’s a great game. Well ok let’s hold on. It’s at least as good as The Downfall of Pompeii. If you liked that game and it’s game play style you’re in familiar territory for sure.
It’s the last days of Hanoi and everyone’s partying like it’s 1999. You need to get your best and brighest off the sinking island across shark infested water from the centre slowly shrinking centre island to the welcome corner islands. To help you in your endeavor you have row boats that take three peeps, friendly dolphins and the good old reliable breaststroke. Hindering you, you have Sharks, Krakens, Squids, limited time and worse still other survivors who will happily make a raft from your bloated body to row ashore.
In hindsight it may have been a bit foolhardy to settle an overpopulated unstable island surrounded by monsters. I’m convinced it was all a royal stag party dare that went horribly wrong.
The centre island consists of a random blob spread of hexes that come in three types. Sand which is the first to go, jungle the second lot to sink and rock that stands hero steady like a hob knob dunked in tea to the biter end.
Once the centre island is laid out players take it in turn to place their soon to be hopefully survivors. Each hex can accomodate up to three dudes and the aforementioned dudes have values written under them which in turn are worth points at the end if they survive so it’s key to get the high value guys to shore.
Players during their turn can move surviors either by boat if they have the most dudes in it or more slowly swim for it. You get a limited amount of movement points per turn and there will never be enough to save all your guys. In addition you get to move the monsters (preferably away from your guys and evil cackle towards other players). Each turn the island shrinks by one tile and once all the tiles have sunk it’s game over, full stop, count your points. (especially tough if you have some high point guys almost home)
The system is very neat and straightforward. There’s no ambiguity on rules. Monsters cover all posibiliteies Sharks can eat surviors in the water but not in boats. Krakens destroy boats and their survivors. Octipi do something something. Dolphins can give your swimmers a three hex boost towards the shore.
Is it fun? hell yeah. Getting your VIPs to land and inducing the monsters to block or destroy a flotilla of other player’s dudes is crush your enemies best. I had a lot of fun playing this game. It’s quick to learn and teach. It’s simple and it’s fast fun. forty minutes to an hour will see you done depending on numbers. There’s little down time because you’re constantly watching other players for where they’re heading to or where they’re directing the monsters
I’m going to make it my business to pick up a copy of this sometime soon. It’s that much fun.