Thursday, October 25, 2012

Atlantis Rising: Zman Games

Atlantis Rising
Worker placement/ Co-op
2-6 players 13 and up (or in our case 10 and up)
30-90 minutes


Atlantis is sinking, you have to work together to get your people off of the island and in the meantime, fend off the Athenians who are attacking.

Game Play:
Pick your character. Priest,
or Scholar, for example.
Each player card includes convenient reminders on how to play, and gives you a special ability.

First you place your workers around the board
to collect resources, knowledge cards,
more workers, or fight the Athenians.
Then the other players place all of their workers.

Then you each draw a misfortune card. These are usually floods,

but some will take away various things, remove workers or make obtaining resources more difficult.
Drawing the misfortune card may cause you to lose your chance to use the space you placed your worker on. You can sometimes use mystical energy, knowledge cards and special abilities in various ways to get around this. One of these is to place a courage marker with your worker, which gives him the courage to work through the flood.

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After the misfortunes, players take turns using all of their workers that remain where they were placed: gathering workers, resources, mystic energy,and/or knowledge cards. These are called productive actions, and some require a dice roll to obtain the resource.

Oh no! You thought you were doing well when the Athenians press their advantage and attack! (This happens every turn!) Roll the dice for the Athenians and add it to the number on their attack track. If you don’t have enough placements in the navy, then more parts of the island are flooded.

Now if you have the resources you need, you can build a component to your escape ship. The components give you a nice bonus, and when your team builds all ten before the whole island floods you win!



Some thoughts:

The components are very good quality and work well with the game.
There are wooden workers and even a wooden Athenian ship. I love the mystical energy orbs (the eyes in the picture). The board fits together like a simple puzzle.
It is cool that the back of the board really looks like the island is flooding, but I have some concerns about it holding up. At least the front isn't showing this wear.


It seems to scale well from 2-5 players, more players means more misfortune cards, and the Athenians also attack faster and stronger the more players you have. But you also have many more workers to collect resources, knowledge cards, mystical energy and fight in the navy. It seems it should equal out, but for some reason when it's just Mom, Dad, and daughter, we always do great!


In our 5 player game, we barely scraped by... We had maybe one more round in us before it would've been too late.


Conclusion:
This does have a worker placement feel to it, and since that is probably my favorite mechanic, I am a happy camper. The co-op aspect really makes it fun when we take turns collecting resources because we are all holding our breath as the dice rolls and cheering as the other players are successful.

I wasn't sure what to expect out of this as a co-op game. Is this a lighter game like Castle Panic or a heavy game like Pandemic? Atlantis Rising definitely has a different feel to it, then say, Pandemic, where we usually find ourselves discussing options for a lengthy time trying to figure out how to scrape by.

I am thinking of Castle Panic, Pandemic, Forbidden Island, and Defenders of the Realm at the moment. I would say the difficulty level is similar to Forbidden Island, but the game-play experience is completely different. You can have all of the same pitfalls of a co-op game, which we have experienced in both a lighter and a heavier game: Mr. Boss can take over everyone's turn for them, allowing no one else to make decisions, Mr. Analytical can drag out each turn by insisting on discussing every option with unanimous agreement, and Mr. Coudn't Care Less might have to be told what to do every turn. I feel that some co-op games are more prone to these problems though, and, IMO, this one is not so much. So that it stays fun for everyone playing, just remember to let everyone take their turn.

We really enjoy the game. It is fun for Mom and Dad as well as our daughter, and it is also the first worker placement game that our 10 year old has been able to play and enjoy, so that is another consideration. Our group of adults really enjoyed it too. The theme is great and the combination of co-op and worker placement makes this game different than others we have to choose from, and that makes it a quality addition to our collection.

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