Over the next few months, instead of going with my Three Games articles, I am going to take a look at my collection and try to discuss why certain titles survived the great purge of 2019. During this process I may take a look at some games that didn’t survive, but only as a measuring stick for what did survive. Since I am silly, like a lot of gamers, I use Ikea Kallax shelves to display the games that we own. This makes it pretty easy to break things down cube by cube, so that’s what we’re going to do, twenty-four cubes, plus a top shelf for games that don’t fit in the cubes, over the course of a few months. I hope you enjoy!
If you are a BoardGameGeek user, you can also follow along on the Geeklist I created.
Survive Escape from Atlantis
Another game with no presence on The OG in spite of it being a classic in my mind. Survive Escape from Atlantis has the pleasure of being the only game that I have ever seen one of my kids cry during. We, including her, still laugh about it to this day. If you have read many of these posts you can kind of tell that my family kind of likes direct confrontation, in a fun, light way. Not direct confrontation in a big war game, or big Ameritrash style game, but direct ways that we can completely screw over our opponents, or they can screw us over, but still manage to have fun the rest of the game. It’s a game about surviving the sinking of Atlantis. All of your people start out on the island, which consists of tiles of differing thicknesses representing different topography types of the island, and the meeples are of differing values from one to six. Meaning if a 3 point meeple escapes to safety they are worth three points. Once those meeples are put on the island though, you are not to look under them to see the value, it’s a bit of a memory thing. Each turn a player destroys a part of the island and can move some of their meeples and possibly a monster, or shark or whale, or dolphin. All of which can do different things, like eat other player’s meeples or sink their boats as they try to get to safety. It was a shark encounter that really upset my daughter, who was probably 5 or 6. It was a turning point in our gaming experience, from a game where I was always picked on, to a game where my kids mercilessly would attack their mom’s meeples any time they had a chance. We don’t play that way now, it’s a pretty even game when we play now, but rest assured, we will eat those meeples, sink those boats and leave your swimmers to drown in the middle of the ocean, so you better get ‘em moving quickly. 10 plays since 2015.
There is a very fun story for this one, a touching one even. But first, I’ll let Matt have the honors of telling everyone what exactly Takenoko is, and how it plays. To start with, Takenoko is firmly in the “I lIke it” ratings for me according to the OG scale, but sentimental reasons have it in an “I love it” rating. Let’s see, how is the best way to tell this, probably to just kind of copy an old blog post of mine from 2013, it’s a story that some have heard, so I apologize.
It all started with this comment on a Geeklist Item “Ugh, it might be worth it to drive 12 hours to Gencon for a one day pass just to pick this up and head back. I would be gamer dad of the millennium according to my daughter.”
Well technically, it started a bit earlier than that with me showing my daughter the giant sized Takenoko that was going to be sold to a select few. Then we saw it on the Gen Con 2013 Geeklist done by W. Eric Martin and she jokingly told me I would be the “Gamer Dad of the millennium” if I surprised her with it. But like most dads, I took it to heart and started thinking of a way to get up to Gen Con, if even just for a day, just so I could pick it up. I tried to talk my wife into it and she probably would have relented if our financial situation hadn’t changed a bit due to us deciding it was time to sell our house and find a new, more up to date home. So frivolous spending on becoming Dad of the Millennium was out and I had come to grips with it. Then GenCon comes and I see that they were selling it for $300 and I was pretty happy that we had decided that I wasn’t going to make the trip. If I had driven up there for that and then spent almost double what we had thought it would cost, I would have been sleeping in the garage, which is even more out of date than our house, for a few months.
Then, a month and a half after that comment I get a random email with the Title of “Random Question – Takenoko?”. It was from a user asking if I had made the 12 hour trip to GenCon to pick up Takenoko. I explained to him that I had not made it up there and kind of explained why and then sent the geekmail, not thinking anything of it.
About a week or so later I get another Geekmail with the same subject, this time he apologized for the delay in reply and said that he had to check with Asmodee first, but wondered if I would like a copy of it. He went on to say that he wrote for a website called Meepletown and that he had been invited to a press event and was one of the media outlets that received a copy of the Collector’s Edition Takenoko and he thought I should have the opportunity to be “Dad of the Year”.
So I reply that while I would love a copy, I know how much the copies cost and I didn’t think that I would be able to swing the price that I was sure it would fetch. To which I got an almost immediate reply of, “No no, I mean totally free.”
That’s when my jaw hit the floor, I mean I had heard of random acts of kindness happening on BGG, but I never really grasped that it really happened. If there was ever a case of being a blubbering idiot via Geekmail, that’s what I turned into over the next couple geekmails that we exchanged, and I am still kind of blubbering. It’s not everyday you encounter unselfishness and kindness like this, let alone on a website, even if this website houses all kinds of people that enjoy the same hobby as passionately as you do and your family does.
Fast forward to today at around 1:30 pm, I was on my lunch when the UPS man knocked at the door holding a box that had Takenoko all over the outside. My wife and I couldn’t decide if we were going to let my daughter open it tonight or if we were going to wait till this weekend so we didn’t interrupt any homework that might need to be done, but Gabby(my oldest daughter) had done her homework right after school at her Aunt’s house AND helped make cupcakes for my brother’s birthday and we couldn’t keep it from her.
I put it in the FFG bag that we got from GenCon 2012 and handed her the bag and we let her dig in, and I will remember that goofy smile on her face for the rest of my life, she looked at me and said, “You got it for me!!!!” I told her the story of how this came to be and that it was the kindness of Derek Thompson, his co-writers at Meepletown, the folks at Asmodee and the community that is built every day here at BoardGameGeek that really deserved the thanks.
I have been rendered almost speechless, even my wife shed a tear and our three year old couldn’t get enough of how HUGE the bamboo was.
Thank you Derek! I don’t know if we’ll be able to Pay it Forward quite like this, but we will most definitely try, and like I said, if you are ever in the Mid Missouri area and have some free time, I know a family that would love to play a game of Takenoko with you or just about any game.
Now, I do wish that we had kept the smaller, more manageable version to play on. That die can do some damage and it definitely occupies a huge chunk of table real estate, but it does bring a smile to my face to play it with the kids whenever they want to, even if some of those goal cards are a bit easier to fulfill than others late in the game. 19 plays since 2012.