Game Overview: Looting Atlantis was successfully funded on Kickstarter in October 2015. In the game, it is a race against other players as Atlantis nears its end with a looming volcano eruption where players determine where the lave flow goes on the board. Meanwhile, you are trying to gather technology card sets before the eruption occurs. These sets go towards points that are scored at the end of the game. Beware though, as other players can use an ability from each card that can have a lasting impact in your game strategy.
Box Contents: The plastic game box insert has a place for each of their components and includes a small plastic baggie for the wooden lava pieces. The board fits nicely on top of them to keep them in place. The board itself is well made. The art on the board and cards is acceptable for the game. Although I don't pay real close attention to it as most of the board art is covered up for most of the game and players are more concerned with the text and scoring charts on the cards. The cards are a little thin but should still hold up to many, many game plays. The one thing we saw is that the rules manual is just a little big for the box, which causes it bend a little.
Clarity of Rules: Even though the eight page fully color manual is just slightly bigger than the box itself, it does an outstanding job of explaining the rules and includes pictures and detailed instructions for each of the card types in the game.
Game Play: Game setup is very quick. It simply involves shuffling of the deck and then flipping over a card so that it is face up into one of the 20 spaces on the game board. Once you are finished, you will have four cards at each space. There are seven different cards that will be found on the board that you will attempt to collect to gain victory points. Each of the card types has a different point value based on the number of cards that you gather.
Personal Force Field-Worth 25 points for every three cards you obtain, allowing you to max out at 100 points by obtaining 12 cards. You can discard the card to change the lava placement of another player.
Fusion Battery-Value is based upon the chart on the card, with a maximum 199 points for 10 cards obtained. You can discard a card to get two additional actions on your turn.
Quantum Nullifier-Value is based upon the chart on the card, which is the square of the number of cards collected. Can be discarded to nullify another players card ability that is being played against you.
Mental Amplifier-No set collection is available but each card is worth seven points. If you are on the same spot as another player you can give them this card to take one of their cards.
Unified Field Generator-By itself, each of these cards are worth 4 points. For a single set of the Blue/Red/Green/Yellow cards, it moves the value up to 20 points.
Mass Energy Converter-The solid circle card can be played by itself for 5 points for each card. When played with the open circle card, it changes the value of each solid circle card based on the number of open circle cards you have. 1=10 points each, 2=15 points each, and 3=20 points each. You can discard either card to claim any card at your current location instead of the top card.
When a player begins their turn, they first place an orange wooden lava token, which represents the eruption of the volcano. They must begin in one of the four designated spots on the board. Each subsequent lava token must be placed in an empty starting spot or in the next open space. The player then has two actions with their game piece (air ship). They can go to one of the spots that has a card and take the next available card or they can stay at the spot they are at and take the next two cards. At any time during your turn, you can take the additional actions that may be on the card which does not count as your turn. Some allow you to take actions when other players are taking their turns. Game progresses at a relatively slow rate until the lava makes its way into the city, where you are selecting your cards from. When this occurs, players now take three actions instead of two. If the lava is played onto an area of the board that has cards, the cards are removed from the game. If the player has their air car at a location that has lava moved into it, they must remove their game piece from the board and then use one of their actions to repair their air car before returning to play. At any point (if your air car is not damaged), you can use your turn to make a run for it and lock in your points and cards. The first person to do so runs off to Egypt and scores 40 points, the next player that leaves and heads to China gets 30 points, and the third person that runs off to Mycenae and gets 20 points. Once all players have left the game or once all cards have been taken, points are calculated to determine the winner. Additional rules are provided that slightly change the game play for two and three players.
Replay Ability: As long as players do not stick to the same strategy each game by grabbing the same card sets, you have lots of replay ability here. I actually enjoyed taking different paths to see how that impacted the game and the other players.
Appropriate Audience: The game suggests 13+, probably because of the wooden lava tokens. However, you should be able to go down to someone as young as 9 or 10 years old.
What We Liked/Didn't Like: What we really liked about the game was having different paths to victory and needing to adjust your strategy on the go based on what other players are doing with their sets. When we have played we have seen people win with different sets of cards as well as going for a lower point total and removing as many cards as possible with the lava flow to end the game early before other players can gather their card sets. The scoring is different from what you expect in other games. It's not necessarily a bad thing, but for some people it will require that you pull out a calculator when determining the final score. You may have gained 121 points here, 199 points there, and 15 points elsewhere. One card action that we didn't like was the Mental Amplifier which allows someone at the same spot on the board to exchange that card with that player for any card that you have. This can easily go back and forth (and has) because the other player now has the Mental Amplifier card and can do the same action on their turn to get their card back. Players have the ability to exit the game at any point to gain bonus points in either 40, 30, or 20 points. From our games, it felt that may be a little over powering. Those 40 points can easily account for 25%+ of your overall score. The only other complaint we had was the differences in the dark green and black player air car pieces. In lower light settings, they are hard to tell apart.