Wednesday, September 27, 2006


I was late to arrive at game night. My busy schedule meant that I didn't show up until nearly eight. When I arrived there were three games going: Tichu, Santiago, and Escape from Atlantis.

I've written about Tichu several times (see the side bar) and I've written about Santiago a few times as well (excellent, excellent game!) but I don't know that I've ever written about Escape from Atlantis before.

Escape from Atlantis was essentially a 1986 British remake of the 1982 Parker Brothers game Survive. Escape from Atlantis is almost the same game; a few things were added and a few of the rules were slightly tweaked. Both games feature the same type of board with its ever-shrinking island made up of hexagons. Both games feature boats, sharks, whirlpools, and sea monsters (and so on). Survive and Escape from Atlantis were games that were ahead of their time. Many of the concepts in these games would become common in modern eurogames. Neither of them are truly outstanding games but they are both quite good and worth playing at least once. Since both are long out of print, they can be rather difficult to find. If you decide to find yourself a copy, Escape from Atlantis is probably the one to get since the bits are much nicer and you'll have everything you need to play with either set of rules.

All three of those games broke up at about the same time and I was able to finally get in on a game myself. Curt, Kai, Mike K. and I played a game of Stephenson's Rocket. This is a classic Knizia game about building railroads across early 19th century England. Like many Knizia games, there is a lot of majority scoring and there are a lot of different ways to score. Gameplay is simple but the strategies are definitely not. This being my first time playing, I really had no idea how to build a winning strategy as my last place finish will attest. I take some consolation in the fact that I wasn't as far behind as I thought I would be. This is a very good game and, coming from Knizia, it's surprisingly thematic; although we joked that the way the trains leave tracks behind them suggested that the game could very easily be rethemed to be about slugs winding their way through a garden eating stuff.

When that broke up, Curt twisted my arm and managed to drag me kicking and screaming into a game of Tichu. (Yes, that's sarcasm.) We won a very satisfying victory in a close game that featured several Tichu calls and lots of back and forth. This remains my favorite game for exactly four players. I've played hundreds of games and I don't see myself ever growing tired of it.


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