Survive! 5-6 Player Expansion: Feeding Frenzy
The reprint of the classic game Survive is simply awesome. It’s a splash of fun with almost any group… as long as that group is 3 or 4 people. If there are 5 or 6 people in your group however, you are out of luck, even though it seems like it would be a great game for more people. Ever since I purchased Survive I thought that a 5-6 player expansion, similar to the Settlers of Catan extensions, would be a great fit for this game.
Well low and behold, look what Stronghold Games came out with! Now if you have that one extra person in your group, you can still play this wonderful game of swimming to safety and sic’ing sharks on people. And with so many players scrambling to get off the island, it’s a veritable sea creature smorgasbord!
Survive now adds enough swimmer meeples to accommodate two more players, in the colours white and orange, but wait! It also contains all the meeples for the original four colours as well! Why? Because they’ve been made plastic instead of wood. The reason they did this are for the following reasons: a) it was hard to see the value numbers on the blue swimmers, b) the wooden meeples were irregularly shaped and if you paid enough attention you can tell which meeples had the higher values.
Here’s my thoughts on those reasons. I play with red, not blue, so I honestly don’t care that the blue numbers are hard to see. The blue player can just suck it up. As for the irregular shape, if you are playing with someone who takes the mental energy to memorize which slightly different curves on the swimmer heads correspond with which values underneath, you are playing with the wrong person. They obviously take games way too seriously, especially a game like Survive. That being said, the new plastic meeples are of nice quality.
There are also new mountain tiles added… well, I’m not sure why. Something about addressing a concern about the edges of the base set tiles? Something nitpicky like that. It’s nice that Stronghold listens to the concerns of fans, but is it really that big of a deal? Not really.
Even though most of this expansion set is dealing with the concerns of whiners and complainers, I’m still really glad they came out with it. This is for the simple reason that I have often found myself in a situation where we have 5 people who want to play Survive, but couldn’t before. This is a game well suited to the extra players.
Even though in the rules you have the same amount of meeples on the board (since each individual player cuts down how many they use), it still feels much more crowded and dangerous. This may be because you have even more people who can attack you! There are extra chances that a whale or sea serpent is going to get that boat of yours, just because there are more people who want to see it sunk. Adding players makes this game even more cutthroat and much more difficult to get your people to safety. It’s a mad scramble, which may actually make it even that much more fun.
Bonus Review: The Giant Squid
Now, along with this expansion, I also received a mini add-on for Survive called The Giant Squid. This adds five squid pieces which look great and fit well with the whales, sharks and serpents. So I just took out the useless mountain tiles in the expansion and fit these squid in instead. The squids can enter the game like whales, except that they can actually pull people off of the shore (!!!) and can even kill any whale it comes into contact with. But if a whale attacks the squid, the squid is taken out instead. It’s a battle of the behemoths, Jules Verne style!
I like the squids added in, because it makes the whole affair even more dangerous and difficult to escape the island. Now even your land dwellers are no longer safe! Expect to have much fewer survivors than usual if you play with 5 to 6 players AND with the squids. With so many sharks and serpents being moved and with squids being able to snatch meeples from coastlines, Survive has become a manic feeding frenzy. In a good way.
The Giant Squid –
Base Game –
Base Game & Expansion –
My Expansion Ratings
-- The expansion improves upon the original base game.
-- The expansion provides a differing experience than the base game but neither improves or detracts from the base game.
-- The expansion is effective and provides an interesting new aspect, but the base game is still preferred.
-- The expansion detracts from the base game.