Some cooperative board games fail at two different things.
The first is that they fail to completely take the plunge in creating a “we’re all in this together” experience. Often the game will still find a way to crown a winner, which does negative a bit of the cooperative spirit. Secondly, they don’t build drama. There’s no sense of impending doom. There’s no feeling that time is actually ticking and the chance to win is actually slipping away turn by turn.
Atlantis Rising, by z-Man Games and created by Galen Ciscell, doesn’t fall into either of those traps, but if you’re not careful, you and your mates may fall into the ocean and lose the game.
Atlantis Rising is for two to six players with an average game time of about an hour. It is probably for tens and older.
It is a game where players must race to create a cosmic gate before island tiles have been destroyed, the island sinks and everybody loses.
One of the key things that make this game work so well is the modular board. Atlanteans are placed on the board to do the work. The further out on the island that the workers are placed, the greater the reward, but also the greater the danger. The island will sink from the outside in and the game has the risk/reward element nailed.
Another thing that works very well here is the scaling for difficulty. There is really no way Atlantis Rising is easy to win, but there are ways, through variable components, to make the game extremely difficult. So as the players become more proficient, the game can still provide a challenge.
Athenians will also attack the island, so it is necessary for the players to allocate enough resources for defense, while still getting the work done to build the cosmic gate in time.