Game Review – Survive: Escape from Atlantis! by Stronghold Games

Last year I received an email from Amazon for Cyber Monday, the next “holiday” after Black Friday. It listed a number of board games and one of them was Survive: Escape from Atlantis!  with a note on the cover saying it was the 30th Anniversary Edition.

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This intrigued me because I’d never heard of the game before. So I snagged it on sale along with others and waited to see what the game was all about. If it’s been around for thirty years, I figured, it had to have some staying power.

Good news: It does. And you definitely want this game for your collection along with all the expansions you can gather!

Let’s start with the premise. You, an intrepid explorer, has found the fabled Atlantis and have been merrily exploring the island! However the island has started to sink and you need to evacuate yourself and your team before you perish – don’t worry, there’s small islands off to the sides you can escape to and survive… if you can get past the sharks and sea serpents, the whales and your competitor who wants to be the only one alive to report the find!

That’s the story. Now let’s set up the board! You start with a lovely board with the aforementioned islands in each corner. The base game goes from two – four players so there’s plenty of room to stake out your home base. Next you build the island.

Yes – I said build the island. That’s one of the big draws of this game – every time you play it’ll be different. Each player now takes a turn to place one hexagon tile on the board within the defined lines. There’s three types of terrain – beach, forest and mountain. And the tiles vary in thickness from the thin beaches to the thicker forest to the Very Tall mountains. So after you run out of tiles you’ve built a three-dimensional board to play on.

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After this you choose a color and collect your meeples/valiant explorers. Players rotate placing one meeple on any tile until you’ve placed them all – and each player gets two boats that they can put next to any tile (not only the beaches) to collect and sail your meeples to safety. Each boat holds three meeples… but anyone can use any boat!

Each turn you must play a tile (more on that in a second) take a tile off the map and move some meeples – or the boat they’re in. When you remove a tile you check the information on the back and see if it can help you or hinder your opponents because there’s more danger here than just the island sinking! Sharks roam the waters eager to snap up meeples swimming to safety, whales can destroy boats trying to make it to shore and sea serpents not only wipe out boats but also eat the swimming meeples. The tiles allow you to place these creatures and move them around the board to attack your opponent. The opposite is also true however and you can find yourself quickly trying to get your people to shore while chased by a series of sharks.

Some tiles do help out however – some allow you to move sharks away from your position, for example, or bring in dolphins to help your meeples to make to shore. Meanwhile the island is being chipped away and in danger of being destroyed by a volcanic explosion!

There’s another level of strategy being added here – obviously if you have X number of meeples and your opponent have the same number it’s not hard to figure out when you’re falling behind in the count and can’t possibly win the game. A few well-placed sharks or whales and you can lose meeples faster than you can munch potato chips… but there’s a trick here!

It’s not the number of meeples you save that determine the winner – each figure has a small number written on the underside showing how many points that meeple is worth – from one to five points. So you could in theory save only two or three of them and score higher than your opponent who brings home a lot of low-pointed meeples. This final bit makes this a much more fun game and adds more strategy to you and your opponent’s gameplay as you try to put on your poker face and not show where your high-point meeples are while trying to get them to land.

After playing this a few times it’s easy to see why it’s been around for thirty years and why it’s not only spawned expansions but also another upcoming version taking place in Space – it’s a fun game that changes every time you play it and has a level of strategy that makes it great for family play. Add in the three-dimensional game surface and I’m wondering why I didn’t find this game before!

If you’re looking for a fast fun game for your family shelf I highly recommend Survive – it can be played with just two players but runs best with four – and the expansions allow you to go up to six players, making this a great game for your buddies!

Arrow: 10 Things You Must Know About Tonight’s Wedded Nightmare

sherylnantus:

*Kermit-flail* Can’t. Wait. Until. Tonight!

Originally posted on TVLine:

Wednesday’s Arrow (The CW, 8/7c) brings with it the nuptials of Oliver — excuse us, Al Sah-him — and Nyssa, but the specter of that dreaded union will be the least of everyone’s worries by the time the crazy cliffhanger rolls around. Let’s just say the seven-day wait until next week’s season finale will be torturous.

[pmc-related-link href=”http://tvline.com/2015/04/20/may-season-finale-spoilers-2015-sweeps-photos/” type=”RELATED” target=”_self”]May Sweeps/Finale Preview! Get 100+ Spoilers, Exclusive Photos From Your Fave Shows’ Season-Ending Episodes[/pmc-related-link]

Having screened the penultimate episode, “This Is Your Sword,” we’re divulging seven teasers that should ensure you get to the proverbial church on time:

* Holy, epic fight sequence! When Diggle, Felicity, Laurel, Malcolm and Tatsu land in Nanda Parbat with the hopes of saving their city from the Alpha Omega virus, a battle breaks out against The League (with a last-minute assist from Atom) that might be the show’s lengthiest and most impressive to date.

Arrow Season 3 Oliver Nyssa Wedding* Diggle’s…

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Will Forever‘s Jo Learn Henry’s Secret? The Series’ Stars Have a Theory

sherylnantus:

Love this show – great writing, excellent characters… hope it makes it to a second season!

Originally posted on TVLine:

Let’s get one thing out of the way straight off: Forever‘s Ioan Gruffudd isn’t in love with the idea of Alana de la Garza‘s Jo figuring out what’s really going downstairs at the antiques shop.

“I shudder to think of it at the moment,” Gruffudd said, laughing as he considered the notion of his character’s immortality becoming public. “The beauty of it is, the audience knows the secret and nobody else does, apart from Abe.” (And, of course, Adam.) “I love the dynamic and the tension that’s always in the air.”

PHOTOSMay Sweeps/Finale Preview: 100+ Spoilers and Exclusive Pics From Your Favorite Shows, Including Forever

So he must adore Tuesday’s season finale (ABC, 10/9c), which finds Jo growing ever more suspicious of the eccentric Dr. Henry Morgan — and increasingly frustrated with his flimsy explanations and disappearing acts. We won’t tell you whether or not the good detective gets close to Henry’s truth during the…

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I’d Rather Like Men Than To Be a Sad Puppy

sherylnantus:

And yet another display of why the Sad Puppies are nothing but a bunch of grumpy old men… and idiots, IMO.

Originally posted on Whatever:

And to be clear, it wouldn’t be anything close to a difficult choice.

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And another one bites the dust… again…

Recently another small publisher announced they’d be closing – Breathless Press. The news came to me via two routes – the first being via a fellow author on Facebook who discovered that instead of spending today preparing for the new release of her latest book she’ll be worrying about getting her titles back from BP and what to do with them. The second came via a thread in the Bewares forum at the Absolute Write website where the various problems of this particular publisher had been discussed for months.

It’s a strange time to be an author. While there’s more ways to be published than ever before thanks to the rise of small publishers and the ability to self-publish there’s also many, many more ways to have your heart broken when the celestial wheel spins over and crushes you at the bottom.

Not all small presses are bad. Not all big publishers are bad. Not all self-publishers are bad. But there’s enough of a flux in the industry right now that I don’t think there’s any absolutes anyone can lean on. That small press you’re looking at might fold in a year – your large publisher might be bought out by a competitor in a few months and your literary line discontinued; your self-publishing debut could be lost in the flood of new releases coming out from good and not-so-good authors as we all rush to the public screaming for readers.

As an author it’s hard to know what to do. But the best we can do for ourselves and for our friends and family who have to deal with us when we’re running around the house screaming and ranting is to do our research. Be diligent no matter what path you take; research who’s offering that helping hand and don’t be afraid to back off if your inner gut is telling you to beware.

Check out that small press looking for submissions. That agent who approached you on Twitter thanks to a pitch you made one day. That big publisher offering you a contract because you got yanked out of the slush pile. That editing service looking to help you get that new novel out via self-publishing.

Sure – research can be messy and take time. A good place to start is the Absolute Write forum and Writer Beware – don’t be afraid to ask around and see what experiences others have had with your possible partners. Do the Google, do the asking. Yes it’s still possible that you’ll end up running into the field to scream at the stars but if you’ve done your research at least you’ll have the consolation of knowing you did the best you could with the information you had.

And in the end that’s maybe the best we can all do for ourselves and others as authors – speak up if you see small publishers doing wrong, sing out if you see author services abusing those who they claim to want to help. Send your thoughts to Victoria Strauss at Writer Beware if you don’t want to speak up publically.

But let’s be careful out there. Right now I sense the whole publishing world is in a wee bit of a flux and no one really has all the answers. And anyone who tells you otherwise is probably looking to dip into your pockets somehow…

Keeping Up With the Hugos, 4/20/15

sherylnantus:

For those of you keeping track of the Hugos debacle… the voice of sanity and reason!

Originally posted on Whatever:

Hey, look, I’m home! Finally I’ll have a Hugo post whose comment thread I’ll be around to moderate. So let me present some not-terribly-organized thoughts on the current state of things (if you missed my previous Hugo-related posts on Whatever, they are here, here and here; also, File770 is doing a fine job keeping up with all the latest on the Hugos):

* I probably shouldn’t admit that I’m having a schadenfreudilicious time watching Larry Correia and Brad Torgersen now desperately try to put sunlight between themselves and that toxic bigot Vox Day, but I’m not going to lie: I am, and also, it’s not working for them at all, as there is a fairly obvious evidence trail to suggest there was hardly any sunlight between them until Day suddenly became inconvenient. Correia and Torgersen are two guys who brought an arsonist to a party, and when the arsonist…

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International Tabletop Day! This Saturday! Play more Games!

I’m a gamer, through and through. The hubby and I celebrate our anniversary by going to the Origins Game Fair in Columbus, Ohio every year. We spend most nights either playing board games or talking about it, haunting such great boards as Board Game Geek to see what’s up and coming. We buy games from Kickstarter and I review them here.

So yeah…. I’m a gamer.

But this upcoming Saturday, April 11th we can ALL be gamers! Because this Saturday is International Tabletop Day!

What? What? What IS this day, you ask?

So… let me tell you how you can have a great fun-filled day with your friends and family and discover a whole new world! As a writer I love the creative break a game can give me and it helps rejuvenate my mind so I can go back to writing refreshed and ready to go!

International TableTop Day started off as a response to a popular web series – TableTop hosted by Wil Wheaton. (yes, THAT WW as we all know and love him from Star Trek: The Next Generation!) In the web series he plays games with his friends and you get to watch them fumble through the fun and annoyance. It’s a great introduction to many games and if your game gets showcased on his webseries you’re pretty well guaranteed to have major sales for your product! As well as the actual games he brings on excellent guests such as Aisha Tyler among others to have a wild time.

Three years ago the idea of ITT happened – local game stores joined forces to give people the chance to try out new games and test the ones showcased on the web series. And it was wildly successful with now over 80 countries participating and thousands of events happening all on one single glorious day of gaming!

So how can you get in on this?

First head over to the ITT website and see what’s happening in your area – depending on where you live you might have a variety of choices on where to go for ITT. Local game stores will be listed and if you go to their websites or Facebook pages you’ll be able to see what they’re offering. Many stores have free swag for attendees as well as food and drink.

But, you say… what happens when I get there? What will I do, where will I go?

YOU WILL GAME LIKE YOU’VE NEVER GAMED BEFORE!

What does that mean?

ITT is a great way to discover new games. The stores will have plenty of demonstrations going on and you can hop in and play a variety of games for free. No commitment, no obligation. Just come out and sit down at a table, play a game and have a great time.

DOES IT GET BETTER THAN THAT???

I say not.

The hubby and I have discovered some great games over the past three years such as Smallworld, 7 Wonders, X-Wing and many others. Even if you don’t find a game you love it’s a great day out with other games and you can try out many games without having to buy them – sometimes the game you thought you’d love turns out to be a dud for you and it’s the small one off to the side that you try out on a whim that may be your best buy of the day!

And if you’ve never been to your Local Game Store?

Why not go out this Saturday and see what this whole gaming thing is all about? Watch a few episodes of Tabletop while you count down the days and then swing by this weekend to find a whole new world waiting for you!

International Tabletop Day – it’s for everyone!

And, as Wil Wheaton says…

PLAY MORE GAMES!