Friday, May 6, 2011

Survive- It's fun to Survive...

Triple Play Games in New Hampshire keeps the game nights coming and after a bit of a dry spell we have a game that's really pretty appropriate for almost all ages. In the game of Survive you try and get your play people off a sinking island and across the ocean to safety. The game is fast, simple and fun.

A game of Survive starts with the construction of an island out of several dozen hexagonal pieces. At the center of the island are grouped pieces depicting mountains, then comes a ring of forest pieces, and then beach pieces. The players then place tiny wooden tokens on each island hex representing their poor subjects who have to now escape from the sinking island.

Each player takes a turn removing one hex piece, starting with the beach tiles and moving in. Under each tile is printed some sort of game effect. A shark, whale, or sea creature may appear, a whirlpool may suck everyone in the vicinity down, or the player may get some special ability to use later in the game. The player then has a chance to move their people a limited distance across the island or into the ocean around it. Finally, a sea creature is picked randomly and the player gets to move it.

Over the course of the game the players try to move their people across the ocean while avoiding sharks and whales headed their way. Simultaneously they try and direct the various creatures Towards other player's tokens. Some tiles give you special movement abilities and some allow you to place sea creatures on the board. Finally, you can move one type of creature at the end of you turn but the specific type is picked randomly.

In practice Survive is a pretty light game. You have little chance of picking which sea monster you're going to be able to move so you can't work with any long term strategy. Instead the game devolves into a frantic race across the waters while sea creatures zip hither and yonder knocking over boats and devouring swimmers. In this sense it's a bit random but still fun. A single player may end up with a crushing victory or defeat but it would be as much from luck as skill and thus Survive works well as a game for younger players. There is some thought to the game, and that makes it fun for older folks as well. The game itself is very colorful and the wooden pieces are lots of fun to play with.

I don't see Survive as a game for the ages but I think it fits a nice niche as a filler game for experienced players and a good family game when younger kids are involved. I might think of it as a good choice to bring on vacation.

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