When Dolphins are your friends & squids the enemy – or – #Boardgame adventures with the Survive: Escape from Atlantis! 30th Anniversary Edition (@StrongholdGames, 2012)

SURVIVE: ESCAPE FROM ATLANTIS! MAY BE THE MOST MISNAMED GAME IN EXISTENCE. When I play, “survive” is the last thing I do. Maybe it’s the fact the RockyMountainNavy Boys take great pleasure in beating up on me. So, in a game that already raises “take that” to a legendary artform, why would I want more?

Cute meeples; or in this case, little meeple dolphins and squids.

Courtesy BGG user jlp303

Survive: Escape from Atlantis! (Stronghold Games, 2012) has several expansions available. I own the Dolphin & Dive Dice Mini Expansion (Stronghold Games, 2013) which takes the Dolphin tiles in the base game and makes them a meeple with a different set of powers. Using the expansion, dolphins are very protective of swimmers and a powerful ally. Alas, evil gets their own expansion with The Giant Squid Mini Expansion (Stronghold Games, 2013) which introduces, what else, giant squids that like to grab explorers from land or on boats.

Survive: Escape from Atlantis!, with both expansions, landed on the RockyMountainNavy Game Night table recently. The expansions were easy to incorporate and the Dive Dice makes for a nice element of randomness in creature movement that lacks in the base game. The game didn’t last any longer nor did the scores seem to suffer. That said, the strategy of moving creatures was elevated to a new level and became the major feature of the game.

I still lost as the RMN Boys conspired against me. Eventually, they turned against each other but not until I was far out of the game. RockyMountainNavy T got a runaway win as Youngest RMN realized, too late, that he had spent a whole lot of effort beating up on me while his brother quietly slipped explorers away. Final Score: 24-15-10.

Both expansions for Survive: Escape from Atlantis! were so easy to integrate I can’t foresee not playing with them in any future game. Maybe my luck will change and I will actually survive and win.

Then again, maybe not.

#Snowday #wargame #boardgame w/ #RevolutionGames @Hollandspiele @compassgamesllc @StrongholdGames @Gamelyn_Games @gmtgames

It snowed here yesterday.

Not a YUGE snowstorm, but enough that the Federal and Local governments along with schools were closed. Road conditions looked pretty bad so the entire RockyMountainNavy family stayed in all day. Which means it’s GAMING time!

21Zs4bRKTyePYBBq8zpgGQThe first game played was actually the night before. Seeing that a day off was coming I pulled out Counter-Attack: The Battle of Arras, 1940 (Take Aim Designs/Revolution Games, 2019). I used the Historical Setup (again) but this game went nothing like my last. The Impulse part of the Area-Impulse mechanic ensured that the fortunes of war were fickle, especially for the German player. This time fate favored the Allies who won an Automatic Victory at the end of Turn 2.

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German victory….

For the snow day proper, the first wargame to hit the table was Brave Little Belgium (Hollandspiele, 2019). Again, the chit-pull mechanic made for a hard-fought battle. At first the Germans were neigh-unstoppable but in the mid-game the tide turned against them. However, in the late-game the End Turn chits came out before the Entente could counterattack effectively. The Germans won…just barely.

 

pacific-tide-front-coverPacific Tide: The United States versus Japan, 1941-45 (Compass Games, 2019) followed with me playing as the Japanese player against the US solitaire bot. Although the rules for this game are very easy I still struggle to execute good actions for the US side. Consequently, the bot was unable to stop me and I achieved an Automatic Victory at the end of 1942.

The RockyMountainNavy Boys interrupted my wargame marathon with a 3-player Tiny Epic Galaxies (Gamelyn Games, 2015). I was able to hold them off and win with the Orbiter Secret Mission.

519Going into the late afternoon and evening, I pulled out Cataclysm: A Second World War (GMT Games, 2018) and set up scenario C.7 Pour La Patrie. This is an alternate history scenario which posits that France is Fascist and allied with Germany while Italy is Democratic and allied with the United Kingdom. The scenario runs from 1937 to 1942 (three turns). I really liked this scenario as it allowed me to explore the core game mechanic without any subconscious pressure to follow a “historical” strategy.

With schools already calling for a 2-hour delay on the next day all three RockyMountainNavy Boys challenged me to a fun game of Survive: Escape from Atlantis (Stronghold Games, 2012). Sharks and Krakens and Whales, oh my! I never had a chance!


Feature image by self

Playing ‘Four Solo’ wherein the President is a Cylon, the Admiral gets brigged, & Starbuck declares Martial Law – Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game (@FFGames, 2008)

To me, Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game (Fantasy Flight Games, 2008) is a near-perfect example of theming in a boardgame. This cooperative, hidden traitor game captures the tension of the reimagined series pitch-perfectly. Unfortunately for me, it entered my collection at a time the RockyMountainNavy Kids were a bit too young to learn the game. As a result it has sat on my shelf, underplayed, for way too long. I have thought about introducing it to the RMN Boys now that they are older and more experienced gamers but I hesitate because I remember it most for having a long playtime. Sometime in the past few months, I downloaded the ‘Four Solo’ variant from the BoardGameGeek files. This rainy weekend while the Boys were watching their football game I pulled the game box out and gave the rules a try.

It was glorious…

…and I lost.

Characters in play were Admiral Adama, President Roslin, Boomer and Starbuck. In retrospect, I should have taken the Chief for Support but, oh well.

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Early game…that’s alot of raiders….

The first two Crisis Cards were Cylon Swarm and Ambush. The Fleet eventually jumped, but not before losing too much Population and Food. Not helping, the Jump Distance was only +1.

Trying to take advantage of the clear space around Galactica and advancing the Jump Track didn’t work out too well as a Crisis Card revealed President Roslin to be a Cylon! Several more crisis’ followed; a Crisis Card Event landed Adama in the Brig and Starbuck, now Admiral, declared Marital Law. Though Starbuck and Boomer valiantly fought back the Raider swarms, in the end too many Cylons showed up while the Jump Track mostly worked in reverse. The Fleet eventually ran out of Food and perished.

The ‘Four Solo’ variant is generally easy to execute and preserves the core essence of the game. The rules are written in a very clipped, bulleted (very abbreviated) fashion and can be difficult to interpret at times. Most importantly, the solo mechanisms don’t totally replace or even disrupt the most important game mechanics. This makes the ‘Four Solo’ useful for learning the rules. Playtime is maybe a bit quicker than a normal game once you learn the “system routine” and understand the rules exceptions.

After rereading the rules and playing Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game using the ‘Four Solo’ variant I think I can teach this game to the RMN Boys. More importantly, I think they are mature enough to handle the game too. The Boys are not huge fans of cooperative games though we all love the occasional play of Pandemic*. They also can play ‘take-that’ games like Survive: Escape from Atlantis so the hidden traitor mechanic could work. The playtime actually doesn’t look as bad as I remember; BGG rates it at 120-300 minutes (my ‘Four Solo’ game clocked in right around 120 minutes…but I died early). A game this rich in theme supported by a game system that reinforces that theme so well deserves to land on game table…and soon!

* We are impatiently awaiting the release of Pandemic: Fall of Rome which mixes the cooperative game mechanic with an Ancient Rome theme which is a very popular theme in the RMN house.

Featured image courtesy BoardGameGeek.

April 2018 Behind Me

fullsizeoutput_5cdApril was a small month for gaming. Twenty-four (24) games played. The hit of the month was new arrival Survive: Escape from Atlantis! (Stronghold Games, 2012).

I did get in two comparison plays of Thunder at the Crossroads and Battle Hymn Vol 1: Gettysburg and Pea Ridge. I recently found a 2013 lecture from the US Army War College that really sets the stage for the Gettysburg Campaign and should be watched before playing any related game:

May is already looking to be a difficult gaming month with many conflicts on weekends. Let’s hope I can at least keep up with the Weekly Game Night!

First Play – Survive: Escape from Atlantis! (Stronghold Games, 2012)

First play of Survive: Escape from Atlantis! this evening. Caught ourselves playing one rule wrong early enough to correct. Game culminated with RockyMountainNavy Dad shouting, “Kill him!” as Middle RMN Boy used a shark to kill off the last Youngest RMN Boy’s swimmer. Lots of laughing and good nature “Take that!” RMN Mom laughing along from other room. Fun fun fun!