Escape from Atlantis Review

Survive: Escape from Atlantis (2012)

Game Details
NameSurvive: Escape from Atlantis! (1982)
Accessibility ReportMeeple Like Us
ComplexityMedium Light [1.70]
BGG Rank328 [7.31]
Player Count (recommended)2-4 (3-4)
Designer(s)Julian Courtland-Smith
Buy it!Amazon Link

TL;DR: It's good! You should consider trying it if you have a chance.

Samantha Rookingpawn: And more on tonight’s big story. The man-made island of Atlantis is currently sinking below the waves in scenes of tragedy and devastation that are unprecedented in their calamity. Our intrepid reporter, Jenny Meeple, is on the scene.

Jenny Meeple:  Hello Samantha! This is intrepid reporter Jenny Meeple reporting from the Meepleton News Chopper FROM THE SCENE on an emerging human catastrophe off the artificially constructed island of Atlantis!

Box art

Starring Guybrush Threepwood

Jenny Meeple: The island of Atlantis has long been the destination of choice for adventurous meeple, offering as it does stunning views of the surrounding ocean and the lush, verdant landscapes of its exotic geography. Today though, the people of Atlantis are paying the price for their privileged lifestyle as the very island itself begins a rapid descent below the waves. Bill, can you get a close up of the island? The island, Bill. The Island. JESUS THE ISLAND BILL IT’S JUST THERE. THERE WHERE I’M POINTING!


What’s that coming up from the lake? It”s a monster! It’s a monster!

Jenny Meeple:  I swear Bill, if you don’t get that damn thing in focus I’m going to take that camera and shove it up your…

Samantha Rookingpawn: We will rejoin Jenny later for updates as this situation develops. For years, campaigners have protested the construction of the island, citing safety concerns and a general low-grade simmering resentment of whimsical billionaires. I am joined by satellite by Emily Diceroll, president of the ‘Campaign For Atlantean Redevelopment’. Emily, what can you tell us about the construction of the Island?

Emily Diceroll:

Emily Diceroll:

Emily Diceroll:

Jenny Meeple: I think we may be having some technical difficulties, ha ha. To be fair, everything around us is sinking into the Lovecraftian depths of a hateful, timeless ocean full of hidden abominations. So perhaps that is to be… oh wait, I’m just being told we now have the audio feed from Emily. Can you hear us, Emily?

Emily Diceroll:  Yes, I can thank you. What your reporter is experiencing is only to be expected – Atlantis was never given the proper governmental subsidies for construction, and it was left entirely as a free market project. It was spearheaded by property speculators more interested in profit than propriety. This is a survey photograph taken of the development in its early stages, showing the beech, forest and mountain areas of the island:

Tile Thickness

Through thick and thin

Emily Diceroll: As you can see, the materials used for the construction of the mountains is very sturdy, with the forests being much slimmer in comparison. That’s because mountain work began in the early days of the project, with forests coming along once the first budgets had proven to be wildly over-optimistic. The beaches, a later addition to the plans, are only a sliver of cardboard, floating atop a fathomless ocean. It was only a matter of time before the island began to sink.

Jenny Meeple: That is indeed a shocking disparity! What can you tell us about what this means for the Atlantean people?

Emily Diceroll: Well Jenny, those that are on the beaches will find themselves sinking into the water far more rapidly than those in the forests. Those on the mountains will last longer still, but they have their own worries. During the construction of the island, a dreadful volcano was capped off. When the landscape starts to crumble around it, it will erupt and everyone that hasn’t yet made it to safety will die instantly.

Samantha Rookingpawn: That is terrible! And speaking of things that are terrible, here’s Tom with the weather.

Tom Hex: Thank you Jenny. Today’s forecast calls for extended periods of screaming, with intermittent damp patches, ending this evening in a fiery apocalypse of the kind we have not seen for many centuries. You may, ha ha, want to wear the thinner of your evening jackets if you are venturing out for the evening. Back to you, Jenny.

Samantha Rookingpawn: Thank you Tom. I am being told that Jenny has managed to bring the helicopter around to rescue some of the survivor… I’m sorry, I’m being informed through my ear-piece that the Meepleton News Chopper is currently involved in vital news gathering and cannot be re-purposed for rescue operations. My apologies for that. I am being told that Jenny has managed to record vital footage of this humanitarian disaster in progress:

Meeple on the board

What district are you in?

Jenny Meeple: Thank you Samantha. As you can see, there is tremendous pressure on the few scant boats that are available to ferry Atlanteans to safety. There are forty people on this island, and they are all panicking. Co-operation is reported to be almost zero, although a kind of factional system has broken out with those of common political belief banding together for safety. That is except for the Libertarians. We are told they all drowned in an attempt to swim to safety while insisting that boats were a socialist crutch for the indolent that suck the teat of Big Government. However, it is not only the pressure on transport that is a risk to life and limb. The geological upset caused by the sinking island seems to have summoned ancient beasts from the depths of the ocean. Sea serpents, of the kind spoken of in myth and legend, have risen from the deeps to satiate the hunger that has lain dormant for eons. We assume.


Safety. Relatively speaking.

Jenny Meeple: There are five of them that we have seen so far – one trapped in the centre of the island, and the other four taking an interest in proceedings from the islands that surround Atlantis. Islands, we remind viewers at home, that are the only place of safety in this part of the ocean. The situation is indeed grim. Back to you, Samantha.

Samantha Rookingpawn: That you Jenny. Now we check in with twitter, where users are commenting on the catastrophe using the hashtag #IHaveASinkingFeelingAboutThis. Let’s check in with some of your tweets as you express your valued opinions on this developing story. User BumCheese says ‘proof of global warming I suppose, lol’, a remark which has received six hundred retweets and four thousand badly spelled replies so far. OgreSpanker912 has tweeted ‘I suppose this will be blamed on straight white men as usual, hashtag liberalconspiracy’. JeremyStinkblossom on the other hand remarked ‘this is the worst episode of Lost yet’. Thank you everyone for your thoughtful and considerate contributions. We will check in again with your comments later in this programme.

Samantha Rookingpawn: Atlantis has long been known as a highly stratified society, with great privilege and great poverty rubbing shoulders. Those that can afford a holiday stay are waited on hand and foot by those that must sell their labour for survival. Each of the citizens on the island knows in their bones the value they have, and it is to be expected that rescue efforts will focus on the more important and productive members of society as opposed to the lower-level drones. Did I say drones? Sorry, I meant instead dudgeons. Peasants. Peons. The lower orders. The working classes. You know what I mean. As part of a government census programme, each visitor to and resident of Atlantis has a numerical indication of their value branded onto their arses. Understandably, nobody is very keen to show their backsides to anyone during the calamity – it would send entirely the wrong message.

Samantha Rookingpawn: Everyone knew who was worth saving when they were moved into the island, but if you don’t remember who is where and what value they have, you might end up saving an ordinary instead of the celebrities and dignitaries that are seeking assistance. The only way anyone will know the real value of who has been saved is when there’s time at the end to perform the necessary rectal exams on the survivors.

Underside of Meeple

I remember this scene from Braveheart

Samantha Rookingpawn: We are joined now in the studio by… actually, I’m sorry, I’m hearing that Jenny Meeple, reporting LIVE FROM THE SCENE, has more news for us.

Jenny Meeple: … and kick your arse until it is… hello Samantha! Yes, there have been developments here – it seems like one faction has broken the deadlock and made a run for the boats:

Red starting location

Gonna make a run for it. Cover me.

Jenny Meeple; Unfortunately the terrain is hard-going and there’s a limit to how much anyone can do at any one time. If everyone pulls together, an individual Meeple may manage to make it three clicks. Or, three Meeple can make it a click each. The reds have split their efforts, sending meeple into two of the boats. One remains in high ground, presumably awaiting his or her chance to make it to safety.

On the boats

Guys, wait for me!

Jenny Meeple: And just in the nick of time, because a piece of the island has now broken away! One of the yellows has fallen into the water – that’s going to make things difficult. Swimmers can’t ever make it back onto the island, and can only swim a single click. If you jump off a boat, or climb into a boat, you’re too tired to do anything else. And that’s leaving aside the sea monsters. It’s all terrific! I mean, it’s all terrifying!

Drowning yellow

Glug glug glug

Samantha Rookingpawn: It almost seems from the footage as if there’s a causal link between one faction making a move and the island sinking a little further, ha ha. As if it was something that a side could do after they made their movements.

Jenny Meeple: Ha ha, yes – it’s as if the faction that just moved gets a chance to cause the island to sink at a location of their choice, but that is of course laughable superstition. Ha ha.

Samantha Rookingpawn: Taking into account what Emily Diceroll said earlier, it seems inevitable that the beaches will be the first thing to go. Are the Atlanteans safe in high ground until all the beaches have sunk?

Jenny Meeple: They are, Samantha. All the beaches will need to sink before there’s any risk to the forests, and the forests will need to sink before there’s any threat to the mountains. So that at least is a mercy – if anyone can get to high ground, they have a bit of breathing space. But not much, because that island is sinking faster than the gun I threw into the river after I shot my husband.

Samantha Rookingpawn: It looks too as if when the island sank a little that the red faction seems to have taken some heart from it, and… wait, did you say gun?

Special tile

This tile gives you mastery over the winds. Seriously.

Jenny Meeple: Indeed, Samantha – the situation below is not one that lends itself to sentimentality. As the island sinks, things will happen, plans will be hatched, and there’s a real risk that the calamity will drive the sea creatures all around into a frenzy. Some things will happen instantly, but one suspects that plans will need time to be carried out. If you need a kind of simile, think of it like crumbling island tiles ending up like cards in the hand of the faction that caused it to crumble. Then they can use those cards later to cause things to happen to other factions, or stop things happening to themselves.

Samantha Rookingpawn: That is… an incredibly awkward simile. Extraordinarily forced, in fact.

This lets you control a shark, if there are any in play. This is thematically... problematic.

This lets you control a shark, if there are any in play. This is thematically… problematic.

Jenny Meeple: All this action is bound to agitate the sea life around here too – there are sea serpents, whales and sharks that the poor people below will need to contend with. Strangely they only ever move when a part of the island has disappeared, and only ever to the advantage of the faction that just made a move. Sometimes nothing happens, presumably because no creatures of that type have yet made their way into the waters. Oh, look! The yellow faction have made a move:

I'm coning to get you, buddy!

I’m coning to get you, buddy!

Jenny Meeple: One of the yellow Meeple has commandeered a boat, and is heading towards the drowning Meeple! What heroism! What valour! It makes you proud to be a Meeple!

Jenny Meeple: But oh no, the island has sunk farther! It’s crumbling underneath one of the red Meeple – it’s almost Karmic, given what happened to the yellow faction! A tit-for-tat, if you believed in such things. But we don’t, because we are hard-bitten journalists.

A whale tile

Thar she blows!

Samantha Rookingpawn: What’s that, Jenny? It looks like there’s a swelling in the water where the island just crumbled!

A whale on the board

This may not go well for us in the long run

Jenny Meeple: It’s a whale! That’s lucky – whales are huge and will capsize boats, but they won’t kill swimmers. Sharks, of course, can’t do much to a boat but will devour any meeple they encounter. Sea serpents as best we can tell, destroy everything and then kill all survivors. They’re terrific, Samantha

Samantha Rookingpawn: You mean terrifying, Jenny. Again.

Rolling a whale

This must be how Aquaman feels.

Jenny Meeple: The whale is heading off, towards the red controlled boat! Whales move very quickly – up to three clicks at a time. Sharks are a little slower, managing only two. Sea monsters can move one click at a time, in a slow, stately manner. The thing about… green have made a move! They’re heading for the boat, and they’ve pushed off! They’re heading for safety! They’ll need to be careful of the monster, but if they make it to the island and get off they won’t have anything more to worry about. For a time.

Green meeples to safety

The monster is a problem for the future versions of us!

Jenny Meeple: It looks like red are having a bad day – another piece of the island has sunk beneath them. There are lessons to be learned from watching how meeple fall into the waters. I think the lesson green can learn from this is ‘We know how to kill sharks’

Shark prevention

You can play this to prevent a shark attack. Well worth remembering the next time you sink into the ocean.

Samantha Rookingpawn: Wait, what?

Jenny Meeple: I think spending a little time considering the implications of how red fell into the water will allow green to prevent a shark attack that would otherwise impact on them. I just do, okay. I know it doesn’t make any sense thematically, but there are PEOPLE DYING DOWN THERE and this is the thing you want to focus on?

Samantha Rookingpawn: Of course…

Jenny Meeple: Oh my! Blue have leapt aboard the ship that yellow was sailing to the drowning merson, and now they have control of the boat! Yellow is only a passenger now, and even if they weren’t there’s no more room on the boat for the drowning soul. Catastrophes like this sometimes bring out the best in people, but sometimes they bring out the worst. Usually they bring out the worst.

Commandeering a boat

Thanks for the lift!

Samantha Rookingpawn: Thank you Jenny. And now more from Twitter. BingoStar asks ‘did blue rly steal a boat and lv ylw to drwn? Messed up if tru’. ConvenientExposition says ‘I still don’t know how you learn how to kill a shark by watching someone drown’, while SkankBanker remarks, ‘Still a better love story than Twilight’. We’ll bring you more observations from the world of social media after this word from our advertisers.

David Pandemic: Do you suffer from red cubes? Blue cubes? Black cubes? If you do, the Centres for Disease Control want to speak to you. Please report to your nearest hospital, doctor’s clinic or elementary school for a free diagnosis followed by complementary sedation. For a limited time, we’ll also throw in a free humane execution and mass cremation at OUR EXPENSE. Thank you!

Samantha Rookingpawn: And we’re back. It seems things have developed during the break. Jenny has this to report.

Whale incoming

Call me Ahab.

Jenny Meeple: Thank you Samantha. Yes, things are becoming hectic down there on the island. The whale we saw earlier just capsized a red boat.


Thanks for the lift!

Jenny Meeple: Another merson joined red on board the ship they had remaining, and struck out for safety.

Escaping reds

Row faster!

Jenny Meeple: Green have made it to an island, but they’ve suddenly realised the problem:

Greens on boats

I know I drew the short straw. I’m still not going.

Jenny Meeple: After all, if they’re going to bring that boat back for more green survivors, one of them is going to have to sail it. It looks like they’re drawing tiny straws to decide who gets to live and who is probably almost certainly going to die. At least they’ll die doing what they loved – being eaten by sea monsters amidst the screaming terror of a sinking island. Another red merson has been thrown into the ocean, but they found a boat! That’ll make things easier for them, if they can ever climb aboard.

Bridge of boats

Boats all the way down

Jenny Meeple: Boats placed end on end could serve as a kind of bridge, one suspects. Although it seems like nobody is co-operating enough to make that happen. After all, only one faction can win this rescue attempt.

Samantha Rookingpawn: Ah yes, because of the Atlantean Winner Takes All Humanitarian Effort Act of 2021, of course.

Jenny Meeple: That’s right, Samantha. Another whale has capsized a second boat of red’s, leaving two meeple stranded far from home and at serious risk of shark and serpent attacks.

Capsized again

Jump, Free Willy! Please, jump!

Jenny Meeple: And now a blue merson has fallen in and… oh my word, it’s a shark.

Shark tile

Does anyone else hear a cello?

Jenny Meeple: They’re gone! Just like that, they’re gone! The ocean has become so much more dangerous now!

Shark attack

Num num num

Samantha Rookingpawn: Can you show us how the island looks now, Jenny?

Jenny Meeple: Bill, get us a landscape shot of the island. The island, Bill. JESUS WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU! WE’VE BEEN CIRCLING IT FOR AN HOUR YOU DUMB FU…

Island tiles

I’m sure it’s going to be fine.

Samantha Rookingpawn: More from Twitter. BeakMcDuck says, ‘This is the shittiest sequel to Jaws ever lol’, and WhipDickington agrees, saying ‘the only solution to a bad shark with a gun is a good shark with a gun’. JadedUmpire asks ‘This is all very well but what does it mean for our cod quotas come #brexit?’. Thought-provoking comments as ever. Over to you, Jenny.

Jenny Meeple: Oh my God, geological disturbances have triggered a whirlpool!


I think you’re supposed to steer into it?

Jenny Meeple: In an instant, everything around it is gone! Men, women, sharks, whales, pens, small dogs – whatever! It’s all gone!

After the whirlpool

It’s a lot quieter around here now.

Jenny Meeple: And another one!

Whirlpool #2

What’s that noise?

Jenny Meeple: Bill, if you didn’t get the shot of that serpent being sucked down the whirlpool like a spider down a flushing toilet I’m going to tell your wife about Patricia at the convention, just see if I… yes, Samantha! As you can see, things are coming to a head below and I’m not sure that there is much hope for anyone left. So much of the island is now gone, it is so hard for anyone to get to boats, or for boats to get to people. Red, blue and yellow are currently fighting over one boat, each taking control from the other on a turn by turn basis. It’s madness!

Sinking island

This is probably still fine.

Jenny Meeple: Green has made a dash for safety, and as the island sinks it looks like a sea serpent is diving – it could come up anywhere!

Diving serpent

This is gonna hurt

Jenny Meeple: Oh god, It just smashed the boat with the red, blue and yellow meeple and ate everyone! That was amazing! Horrible! That was horrible! Ahem.

Serpent rises

That boat didn’t last long

Samantha Rookingpawn: We’re joined in the studio now by Alice Deckbuilder, Emeepletus Professor of Catastrophic Events at the University of Meepleton. Professor, what do you have to say about the events of today?

Professor Deckbuilder: One hesitates to confuse correlation and causation, but I’m pretty sure that the factions are actively willing bad things to happen to each other. It seems like everything follows a set procedure – a faction makes use of experience or luck it accumulated in previous island sinking episodes, they move three clicks, then another part of the island is destroyed. And then one of the sea creatures moves. It’s as if it’s a game to everyone involved.

Samantha Rookingpawn: Sorry to interrupt Professor… Jenny has a development to report.

Jenny Meeple: Yes I do, Samantha – the last of the forest regions of the map is about to sink under the waves, leaving only the mountains. We’re very close to the end of all of this now

Hardly any tiles left

Running out of time!

Jenny Meeple: The only thing stopping Mount Atlantis from erupting and killing everything left in the ocean is the thick cardboard deposits of mountain that have plugged it up. At some point, as that cardboard sinks beneath the waves, it’s going to be unblocked and the pent up pressure within will force it to erupt. There’s very little hope for anyone that hasn’t made it back to an island.

Panic in the seas of Atlantis

Tick tick tick

Jenny Meeple: Oh god, look at it. There’s hardly anything left of the island. Oh, the huge manatees.

Samantha Rookingpawn: Manatees? I thought there were just whales, sharks and monst…

Jenny Meeple: Oh no, the volcano! It’s over, it’s all ov…



Samantha Rookingpawn: Jenny? Jenny? Can you hear us, Jenny?

Jenny Meeple: …

Jenny Meeple: …

Samantha Rookingpawn: Uh, well – I’m sure she’s fine. She was pretty close to that volcano, though. But I’m sure it’s fine, because it’s just fine. It’s fine.

Professor Deckbuilder: I’m not sure it is fine, because the destructive power of…

Samantha Rookingpawn: It’s fine. So, professor – how many people survived, according to official figures?

Professor Deckbuilder: How could I possibly know that so soon after…

Jenny Meeple: I’m fine! We got away, just in time. And we’re here on the beach with the survivors!


We made it!

Samantha Rookingpawn: Wonderful Jenny! How did the survival effort go?

Showing score

Okay, arses out. Let’s have a look at you.

Jenny Meeple:  As you know, we count the success of a rescue effort based on how many celebrities we saved, and how many Trump voters we left to perish. We caught the post-apocalypse rectal exam on camera, as you can see from this disturbing footage. Children and those of a sensitive disposition probably should have looked away before we showed it. Despite only rescuing two meeple, Yellow are the clear winners. Red, despite managing to rescue three, are the third most successful. Green is the worst. In every sense of the word. It takes wit and ingenuity to survive a disaster like this, and as we all know green is not a creative colour.

Samantha Rookingpawn: And as per the Atlantean Winner Takes All Humanitarian Effort Act of 2021, what does that mean?

Jenny Meeple: It means everyone in a red, blue or green outfit gets thrown into the volcano. Seems a bit harsh, but it’s important not to get too entangled in or too judgemental about, the domestic affairs of other nations, even those that are currently under the water. Oh look, they’re just throwing them to the sharks. That’s at least convenient. We’ll take the yellow survivors with us when we go, because these are going to be some tremendous, and very exclusive, interviews. Over to you, Samantha!

Samantha Rookingpawn:  A happy ending indeed. Let’s see what Twitter thought of the final moments of the catastrophe. BickPuller69 says ‘glad yellow won was rooting for them hashtag teamyellow’. CyberBrat says, ‘Total fix, there’s no way red lost. Illuminati bullshit’. DimMorrison provides our final highlight, remarking, ‘I still prefer Game of Thrones. There wasn’t enough death in this for me.’. Thank you everyone. Final thoughts, Professor Deckbuilder?

Professor Deckbuilder: One of the most remarkable things about how everyone responded to the crisis was how excitingly mean-spirited it was. It would have been so easy to collaborate and save almost everyone, but instead every side looked out only for themselves. It created a competitive environment that is unusual in just how pointed and directed it turned out to be. This wasn’t a light, friendly competition like say… your average guerrilla war. This had the potential to be extremely mean-spirited and ably lived up to that potential. Having said that though, it seemed like if you could look past all the death and dying there was a lot of fun to be had in an exciting environment. It looks beautiful there. Haha, sorry – looked beautiful. There was a lot of strategic depth to the decisions each faction made, and meaningful choices that led to success or failure. It was well paced, at least as well paced as natural disasters can be. It started off with a light tempo and built into a crescendo of frenzied bloodlust. And just as it was getting to the point that despair and futility kicked in, a volcano came along and ended it all with an agreeable sense of closure.

Samantha Rookingpawn: DisasterPorn Incorporated is a local video game company looking to convert exciting human disasters into virtual reality immersive environments. Would you recommend the Atlantis sinking as a good candidate for this?

Professor Deckbuilder:  Yes, but not a great one. It’s not a catastrophe I would necessarily go out of my way to experience very often. There’s a lot that needs to be done, but not an awful lot you can actually do. That makes learning the ropes of survival very easy, but limits just how clever you can be in ensuring it. If you don’t like direct confrontation, it’s going to be off-putting. If you do, there are many apocalypses that offer a purer expression with more tools to genuinely butt heads. That said, I don’t think I’d ever say ‘no’ to a session of it, but it wouldn’t really satisfy in and of itself except on an occasional basis. Well worth having in the library, but not the kind of thing you’d really want to build a night around too regularly. Unlike post-catastrophe Atlantis itself, it doesn’t have an awful lot of depth.

Samantha Rookingpawn:  Thank you professor. And with that, we hope you enjoyed watching dozens of meeple torn to bits by sharks. Press the red button for some interactive content, including our new Atlantean Tragedy themed online games! Tune in next week also for our new reality TV show, ‘Survive: Escape from Atlantis!’, it promises to be something you can sink your teeth into!