Escape from Atlantis

Escape from Atlantis: A Full Guide to Rules, Winning Strategies & Instructions


Escape from Atlantis is a board game that combines elements of strategy, luck, and a dash of ruthlessness. The game revolves around the mythical island of Atlantis, which is slowly sinking into the sea.

The objective is to save as many of your Atlanteans as possible by moving them from the sinking central island to the safety of the surrounding islands. You have to navigate your Atlanteans through treacherous waters filled with sea monsters, whirlpools, and other players’ hungry Atlanteans.

The game was first published in 1986 and has since gained a cult following for its unique blend of strategy and luck. Escape from Atlantis was designed by Julian Courtland-Smith and is known especially for its hexagonal board and gameplay elements. The game is also known as Survive: Escape from Atlantis! in the United States where it was published by Parker Brothers

The game concept is an interesting one, though in my experience playing with younger kids always stimulates questions about Atlantis which I can’t quite answer.

The history of Escape from Atlantis is marked by several reprints and editions. The first edition was published in 1986, and the game quickly gained popularity due to its gameplay and theme. In 1996, a second edition was released with some tweaks in the gameplay. The version I’ll cover with rules and tips below is the most recent edition/version of the game.

As I mentioned, in 2010 Stronghold Games published a 30th Anniversary edition called Survive: Escape from Atlantis! This edition included new features, such as sea monsters, dolphins, and dive dice, which added more variety and unpredictability to the game. The 30th Anniversary edition also included components for up to six players, while the original game was for two to four players.

Despite its age, Escape from Atlantis continues to be popular among board game enthusiasts. Its combination of strategy, luck, and player interaction, along with its compelling theme, has ensured its longevity in a market that is constantly evolving. The game has also inspired several expansions and spin-offs, further solidifying its place in the history of board games.

Some similar games inspired by EFA include The Downfall of Pompeii, which I’ve written a guide on, where you’re escaping an erupting volcano rather than sea-level rise. King of Tokyo also has similar game mechanics, but the games (in my experience) often run a bit shorter.

Quick tip to win at Escape from Atlantis

Start by placing your Atlanteans close to the edge of the island for easier escape. Use your sea monsters, whales, and sharks strategically to obstruct opponents. Try to keep your Atlanteans grouped together to increase their survival chances.

Rules for playing Escape from Atlantis

  1. The game begins with all players placing their Atlanteans on the central island.
  2. On each turn, a player must first sink a piece of the island. The player then moves their Atlanteans towards the safety of the surrounding islands.
  3. Atlanteans can move by swimming or by using boats. However, boats can be commandeered by other players, adding an element of strategy and competition.
  4. The game ends when all the pieces of the central island have sunk. The player who has saved the most Atlanteans wins the game.

While these are the official rules, many players enjoy adding their own ‘house rules’ to add variety and complexity to the game. For example, some players might agree to allow Atlanteans to build bridges or to fight off sea monsters.

How do you play Escape from Atlantis

Escape from Atlantis is a fun and strategic board game. To play, you need to follow several steps:

1. Setup: Place the game board in the center of the playing area. Arrange the game pieces (land tiles, sea creatures, boats, and Atlanteans) as indicated in the game manual. Each player chooses a color and takes the Atlanteans of their color.

2. Objective: Your goal is to save your Atlantean people from the sinking island of Atlantis and get them to the safety of the surrounding islands.

3. Game Play:

– At the start of each turn, the player must sink one of the island tiles and follow its instructions. These can include unleashing sea monsters, whirlpools, or sharks into the water.

– After sinking a tile, the player rolls the dice to determine how many actions they can take that turn. Actions can include moving Atlanteans, moving sea creatures, or moving boats.

– Players can move their Atlanteans onto a boat if they are on an adjacent square to the boat. A boat can carry up to three Atlanteans regardless of color.

– Atlanteans can also swim, but it’s risky because sea creatures like sharks and sea monsters can attack them.

– If a sea creature is moved onto a square occupied by an Atlantean, the Atlantean is removed from the game.

4. Winning the Game: The game ends when all of the island tiles have been removed or all Atlanteans have either reached the safety of the surrounding islands or have been eliminated. The player who has saved the most Atlanteans wins the game.

5. Strategy: As you play, you’ll need to strategize about which island tiles to sink and how to use your actions most effectively. You can try to sabotage other players by moving sea creatures towards their Atlanteans or try to save as many of your own as you can.

Remember, the aim of the game is not just to survive, but to save as many of your Atlanteans as possible. It’s a game of strategic thinking, careful planning, and a little bit of luck.

How to Win at Escape from Atlantis

Winning at Escape from Atlantis requires a balance of strategy, risk-taking, and adaptability. Here are some strategies that can help you win the game:

  1. Plan your moves carefully: It’s important to think ahead and plan your moves. Try to anticipate what other players might do and plan your moves accordingly.
  2. Use your boats wisely: Boats are a valuable resource in the game. Be strategic about when and where you use your boats, and don’t be afraid to commandeer other players’ boats when necessary.
  3. Be adaptable: The game is full of unexpected twists and turns. Be ready to adapt your strategy as the game progresses.

Best Strategies for playing Escape from Atlantis game

While there is no surefire way to win at Escape from Atlantis, there are several strategies that can increase your chances of success:

  1. Spread out your Atlanteans: By spreading out your Atlanteans, you can increase your chances of reaching the safety of the surrounding islands.
  2. Be aggressive: Don’t be afraid to play aggressively. Commandeer other players’ boats, block their paths, and do whatever it takes to get your Atlanteans to safety.
  3. Keep an eye on the island: The island is constantly changing as it sinks into the sea. Keep an eye on the island and adjust your strategy as necessary.

Gameplay Scenarios

Escape from Atlantis is a game of ever-changing scenarios. Here are some common scenarios and how to handle them:

  1. You’re surrounded by sea monsters: If you find yourself surrounded by sea monsters, try to move your Atlanteans towards the safety of the surrounding islands as quickly as possible.
  2. Your boat has been commandeered: If another player commandeers your boat, don’t panic. Try to find another boat or start swimming towards safety.
  3. The island is sinking faster than you expected: If the island is sinking faster than you expected, you might need to take more risks to get your Atlanteans to safety.

Frequently Asked Questions about playing Escape from Atlantis game

Q: How many players can play Escape from Atlantis?
A: The game can be played by 2 to 4 players.

Q: How long does a game of Escape from Atlantis typically last?
A: A game typically lasts between 30 to 60 minutes.

Q: Can I play Escape from Atlantis with my children?
A: Yes, the game is suitable for ages 8 and up.

Q: Where can I buy Escape from Atlantis?
A: The game can be purchased online or at most board game stores.

Q: Can I play Escape from Atlantis online?
A: Yes, there are several online platforms where you can play the game.

Additional Tips for Playing Escape from Atlantis

Here are some additional tips that can help you master the game:

  1. Practice makes perfect: The more you play the game, the better you’ll get at it. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t win your first few games.
  2. Learn from your mistakes: Every game is a learning opportunity. Try to learn from your mistakes and improve your strategy for the next game.
  3. Have fun: Remember, the goal of the game is to have fun. Don’t get too caught up in winning or losing.

Julian Courtland-Smith’s (the game designer) Instagram

The 30th Anniversary edition is available fairly easily via online retailers like Amazon.