TL;DR

What: a tense game of revenge as a group desperately tries to survive whilst simultaneously ruining each other’s plans
Players: 3-4 players, or up to 6 with the expansion.
Time: 60 minutes
People: Ideal for a small group of friends or family of all skill levels
Remember: don’t play with anyone that gets angry or holds a grudge
Available: ~£25 here, ~$30 here

The Gist

Why we recommend it

I love Survive and it is definitely one of those kinds of games you can play with anyone. I say this based on the amount of times my mother has asked me to bring it home for Christmas.

Everyone that plays it loves it, but when we play they often don’t like me … or each other.

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In Survive you are often sat there making glorious plans, designed to lead you straight to victory only to watch your best friends rip them apart right in front of you. Which would be traumatic if it weren’t so funny at the same time.

In short, there is an island covered in people of all creeds: red, blue, green, purple, white.

The usuals.

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This island is collapsing around them and they have to get away as fast as possible to survive. However there aren’t enough boats and the sea is full of creatures out to get them.

You can move your people around but everyone else will move the monsters too, making for slightly schizophrenic sharks who you move away only for your sister to charge it back at you.

The theme isn’t that important though, so if that doesn’t do anything for you, just ignore it.

This game is about vendettas. If you play with anyone that holds a grudge you may have a problem. Each turn you get to use your all-too-limited moves to try and save more people, but then the tables turn and you get to choose which part of the island to sink.

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This usually means dunking someone else’s person into the sea, or deciding which sea creature to move, almost always a case of attempting to eat the now-stranded swimmer.

Survive isn’t only about vendettas though. It’s also about skill.

If you can get your most important people to shore first, then you stand a better chance of winning.
You might choose to send them out in all directions, spreading your bets across as many departing boats as possible.

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Alternatively, you could put all your eggs in one basket, stocking one ship up with your finest wannabe survivors and making a beeline for the coast.

Clever players might even time their moves just so that they can stowaway on other people’s boats, saving them precious moves as they’re helped to shore on the cheap.

Like with so many other games, Survive includes a healthy dose of luck.

You try to squeeze in between a whale and a shark, ready to take down your precious vessel.

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Your sister rolls the dice but she can only move the slow but ominous kraken. You’ve made it! You decide your father is too far ahead and so you take the land from beneath his feet and try to drown him.

Removing any part of the island causes a random event. It could be another sea monster, it could be a devastating whirlpool destroying everything around it. Annoyingly, this time it’s another boat, which he gladly climbs into and sails off in.

It’s a game of hanging on by the skin of your teeth while someone you thought loved you ruins your day.

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Sometimes your friend will roll a whale, capable of destroying any boat within reach, but they are given a choice whether to destroy your boat or another player’s.

You will plead, argue, bargain or threaten anything to make sure your people survive.

“I’ll pour all your drinks tonight” you say, only to be counter offered with “I won’t kill any of your people in this game and you can have this box of cookies”, before that player dumps a very high end packet of M&S’s finest onto the table.

They’ve swung it and your men are left to fend for themselves, forever consigned to the horrors of the great deep.

The island is almost completely sunk. Most of the people are dead and a few have made it to shore. You think with just one more turn you might be able to get one more person to safety, but it’s too late and your mother turns over the volcano.

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The island is gone and the seas around it are destroyed.

You each count your people to find out the winner, but you all know it really doesn’t matter.

Buy Survive here (UK or US) and support Best Play whilst you’re at it. Win win!


Note: I would highly recommend buying the expansion pack that allows you to play with an additional two players for even more chaos and fun.