Santorini board game

Welcome to the world of Santorini, a fantastic reimagining of the classic abstract game from 2004. Players are given a sandbox in which to play as gods, moving their workers around the board to build up a beautiful, multi-tiered city. Do you have what it takes to outsmart your opponents? Find out, in Santorini!

Build it Up! 

Turns in Santorini are made up of two simple step: Move and Build. Move around the board and build a building in a spot adjacent to one of your workers. The first player to move their worker from a second level building to a third level building wins the game! Though, there are a few things that add a wrinkle to the basic formula.

Invoke the Power of the gods!
Each player will have access to a god power which lets them do things a little differently than normal. Be it changing the rules for how you can build or move, changing how you interact with other players, or providing you with an alternate victory condition, the 30 different god powers are sure to make every game of Santorini different and exciting!

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User Reviews

  • Very fun, even at four player. Short and sweet. Even better at 2 player. Exactly the kind of game I like. Not brain melting, it’s straightforward fun but surprisingly deep. The kind of depth that you could play forever and still not have found out all the subtleties. Looks great, plays great. One of my favorites and a game that will stay in my collection forever.
  • Wunderbar. Fairly dry abstract, but the theme brings it to life.
  • one of the best fast abstract strategy games that really works with the theme. fast and elegant and the production value is high and the power cards adds challenge to watch out other than the level building.
  • This is a modern classic of the abstract genre in my opinion. Starts quickly and then ramps nicely to where some tricky bits of thinking are needed.
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Much lighter week this time:

  • #Santorini - my wife agreed to play with me despite not having the best first impression of the game. She said she liked it better this time, so hopefully she'll learn to appreciate it as much as I do!
  • #Mystic Market - we had another couple over and they brought this. The game is okay in my eyes. My friend seems to love it though, and it's short, so I don't mind playing it.
  • #War Chest - played the bloodiest game of this to date! The majority of the chips were eliminated by the time the game was over. As a result, this was also the longest game I've played to date! Probably around 45 minutes. Usually they take about 20-30

Wow, nice varied list! Here'smine:

  • #Everdell - I think this is my favorite game to play with my wife. We've played a bunch of times, so no one has to learn the rules or anything, it's charming and non-confrontational, and just overall a comfort game for us.
  • #Kingdomino - so easy to teach, and anyone can play. Usually end up playing twice.
  • #Santorini - again, ridiculously easy to teach. Top 5 game for me. My wife isn't as big a fan, so it hasn't gotten as many plays since quarantine. :(
  • #Wingspan - I like this game, but it seems like all my friends love it. For that reason, it's super easy to get to the table. When I play with just my wife, it plays very quickly, which is cool.

I share your appreciation for abstract games and have the same problem of not having the right group (or person) to play them with. First off, here are the abstracts I've played (I think I got them all??): Chess, Go, Janggi (Korean variation of Chinese chess), Santorini, Hive, Azul, Chinese Checkers, Onitama, and I guess I should include Tiny Towns here since most people seem to call it an abstract.

It's hard to order them because they serve a different purpose, but I'll try. This list assumes that I'm playing with a competitive opponent who's either my equal or better:

  1. #Chess - It's a classic and never gets old for me.
  2. #Santorini - Expanding the world of tic-tac-toe with fun powers! If I didn't consider the god powers, this would drop several positions.
  3. #Hive - You get to play with chunky tiles and the idea of the different bugs' movement patterns is brilliant.
  4. #Azul - Satisfying pattern building and you get to play with great tiles. I just don't enjoy it as much if I feel like I have to make sub-optimal moves so that I'm not being mean to a beginner.
  5. #Tiny Towns - Deceptively deep and difficult, fun spatial management, and surprisingly brain burning... Tiny Towns has a lot to offer but isn't one that I find the most relaxing.

Why Go didn't make the cut:

I considered placing this at #2 but ultimately didn't. I have fond memories of playing this a bunch of times throughout my elementary school days and even attending lessons, but it's not one that I'd gravitate toward at this stage in life. Even though it has deep tactical elements (probably the deepest game out of all games mentioned here) and zen-like appearance, the game also presents you with constant moments of tension and one bad placement can have devastating consequences. I think I now just want something a little less involved metally/emotionally.

Abstracts I'd love to try the most:

  1. #War Chest
  2. #Shobu

I'm gonna have to agree with this. The bar is rising, and while there is still room for lackluster themes, it's gotta do it better than before if it wants to succeed. 

Not including abstract games, of course, because those are all about the mechanic (although #Santorini does a good job making the theme appealing to the game's abstractness).

Who do you typically play with? By gateway games, if you're looking for games that are very easy to introduce to non-gamers, then here are some that come to mind:

  • #Century: Golem Edition - Great art, fun crystal-like components, and teaches the concept of engine-building
  • #Azul - Another very attractive game for newcomers because of the awesome tiles. Great tile laying/pattern building game
  • #Just One - Co-op word based game that gets people laughing easily
  • #Skull - Simple bluffing game that's easy to teach and doesn't put a lot of pressure on new gamers
  • #Santorini - Abstract strategy game that plays like an expanded 3d tic-tac-toe, best for 2p
  • #Welcome to... - If you want to try roll and writes and want a theme that's relatable and plays at near limitless player counts
  • #Pandemic - Staple co-op game

Here are some games that I consider a slight step-up in terms of complexity, but still very approachable:

  • #Wingspan - "Tableau-building" game with the theme of birds. You place cards in three different rows that give you different benefits such as gathering resources, laying eggs, or getting you more bird cards that have different powers. You can pull off satisfying chain reactions of combos that build off of the different bird powers. It's an attractive looking game so it's easy to wow a wider audience
  • #The Quacks of Quedlinburg - "Bag-building" game where you're creating a potion by randomly pulling out various ingredients from your bag and placing them into your cauldron. Some ingredients will help you create a higher quality potion while having too many of the white ingredients will make your cauldron burst. By creating and selling high quality potions, you'll be able to purchase better ingredients that will help your future rounds. Nice mix of long term strategy with an element of pushing your luck just before the point of bursting your pot
  • #Viticulture: Essential Edition - Good "intro+" for worker placement games. Players manage a handle of workers to accomplish various tasks to tend to their vineyard, produce grapes, and sell wine to your visitors
  • #Tiny Towns - Great spatial management and pattern building game where you're working with a highly limited grid space to build a town by making polyomino shapes
  • #Hive Pocket 2x with my boss
  • #Root over TTS @ 3p - I played as the Vagabond and actually won! People pretty much left me alone which allowed me to score 11 points in one turn to end the game. Don't leave the Vagabond alone, apparently.
  • #Mystic Market 3x @ 3p - a friend just got this game and was super jazzed about it. It's a very light economic game of "buy low, sell high," with a generic theme of "potions." It's quick and fun, and has some strategy, though there were times when I felt I just couldn't do anything to put myself in a better position. That's not so bad for a quick game, though.
  • #Disney Villainous 1x @ 5p - do not play at 5 players. I've played at 4 and 5, and while the gameplay is fun (not super strategic, but fun), all of them have felt too long. I have a feeling that 3 players is the sweet spot, as 2p wouldn't be as fun, and 4p is a tad too long.
  • #Evolution: Climate 1x @ 4p - finally got to play this again and got stomped, haha. I spent heavily on a carnivore that didn't make it, and after that there was pretty much no hope for me.
  • #Century: Golem Edition – Eastern Mountains - my brother in law just bought this after I showed him the first game and he bought that for himself and my sister. This one is fun! It feels similar to the first game, but with a spatial element and a little more interaction, as well as a couple more strategic choices. I got crushed, haha. He spent his first dozen turns or so building his engine, and I too quickly turned to buying points, so by the end he was outscoring me like crazy.
  • #Santorini 1x - I love this game! I got to show it to a friend as well, and he enjoyed it. I cannot wait for #Santorini New York!

The biggest area control game I have is #Dune. Area control is the main objective of the game. So that's one of my favorites.

Most abstract strategy games involve some kind of area control. #Santorini and #Hive Pocket are the ones in my collection, but of course classics like #Chess and #Go revolve around area control as well.

I generally enjoy abstract strategy, so I think that area control is actually a mechanism that I quite enjoy. I'm not sure what it is about it that I like - maybe it's just the feeling of strategizing and setting up your moves so that you can take the victory. I think I prefer area control more in the setting of a quick abstract strategy game than in a longer or more involved game, though again I'm not sure why.

I did my ranking and it was excruciating, haha. Here's mine:

  1. #Oceans
  2. #Evolution: Climate
  3. #Dune
  4. #Everdell
  5. #Western Legends
  6. #Santorini
  7. #Concordia
  8. #The Isle of Cats
  9. #7 Wonders Duel
  10. #Viticulture: Essential Edition

Honestly, any of the games in the top 6 could be my #1 on any given day, depending on my mood, haha. Possibly top 7. Perhaps with more plays of all of them, I'll get better at differentiating, but for now, I love them all equally and for different reasons.

Family was out of town for much of the week.  We played a game of #Call to Adventure before they left--always enjoy narrating our stories to each other at the end!

Took advantage of the time home alone to try some solo play.  I've been curious about #Near and Far for a while, and I found a trial version online with Tabletopia which enabled me to play Arcade Mode vs. myself to get a feel of the game mechanics.  Really enjoyed myself and bought a copy from a seller at BGG's Geek Market.  Looking forward to diving into the Character and Story modes!

Also broke out #Tapestry and tried out its solo mode for the first time.  It was nice being able to take my time strategizing without worrying about holding up other players.  I found the Automa and Shadow Empire pretty smooth to manage, once I got the hang of it...

Now with family having arrived back home, I just played a fun quick game of #Santorini with my son.  

A nice week overall!

This is really tough for me, because 3 of them were some of my absolute favorite games, and 1 was a new game that may very well move into my list of favorites. I think instead of ranking the actual games against each other (since I don't think I could actually do that), I'll rank them how much I enjoyed each play of the games this particular time around.

  1. #Oceans - this may very well be my favorite game. It depends on the day.
  2. #Santorini - hadn't played this in a while, so I was really excited to get it to the table. I also got to try out the expansion, which I hadn't done yet.
  3. #Concordia (with Venus) - 2nd time playing with my wife, and she beat me! I always enjoy when that happens. This is the new game I mentioned above that might move into my favorites list. I really like it. I'm afraid it might be too bland for my usual group, but who knows.
  4. #Everdell - one of my faves - so many combos to be had! My wife smoked me.
  5. #King of New York - tried for the first time at 2 players. It was a lot of fun, and I'm sure much more so at a higher player count (probably great at 5 or 6).

Cool list! I hadn't heard of Torres or Ingenious. My personal #1 is #Santorini

  • #Carcassonne @ 2p
  • #King of New York @ 2p - played this for the first time. It's pretty cool! A little more going on than #King of Tokyo, but still least enough to teach in a few minutes. I'm looking forward to playing with a higher player count.
  • #Santorini @ 2p. It had been a while since I played this - one of my favorites.
  • #Concordia @ 2p - my wife beat me by 10 points. I had more cards but she put out all of her houses and therefore ended the game.
  • #Everdell @ 2p - my wife crushed me. I had a decent game but she had a great one. I love this game. So much combo potential.

Interesting, so for a simple example, I'd consider #Santorini to be vulnerable to kingmaking when played at 3p count. And while I agree that some people will take this better and some people will not (which is an issue of its own), I'd say that it's not the optimal player count if you want to avoid a game where you can choose which player could win. I'd personally still play at 3p if needed because I enjoy it and I'll have fun regardless of the results, but I think it'd be fair for someone to not want to play because it's a regular occurrence.

I really didn't think I would have so many, as a lot of my games collection is curated to appeal to the four people I can actually play with regularly, which includes a 5-year-old and a 7-year-old. But here's my list:

  1. #Wingspan
  2. #Pandemic
  3. #Carcassonne
  4. #7 Wonders Duel
  5. #Santorini
  6. #Catan
  7. #Kingdomino
  8. #King of Tokyo
  9. #Forbidden Island
  10. #Clank!
  11. #Coup
  12. #Sushi Go!
  13. #Ticket to Ride: Europe
  14. #Dixit
  15. #The Resistance
  16. #Takenoko
  17. #Mysterium
  18. #Stone Age
  19. #Hive
  20. #Magic: The Gathering

  1. #Viticulture: Essential Edition
  2. #Wingspan
  3. #Azul
  4. #7 Wonders (having issues getting this one to link)
  5. #Carcassonne
  6. #7 Wonders Duel (same issue ^ )
  7. #Concordia (just ordered it)
  8. #Santorini
  9. #Kingdomino
  10. #Jaipur
  11. #King of Tokyo
  12. #Everdell
  13. #Sushi Go Party!
  14. #Lost Cities
  15. #Hive

So...most of my collection are in BGA's top 100, haha. I'm guessing #Tiny Towns will make it in there eventually (119 overall), and I wish #Evolution: Climate (181 overall) and #Oceans (not ranked yet) were in there, haha. Those probably don't have as wide appeal, though, so I understand why they're not. I think Oceans has the potential to appeal to a wider audience than Evolution does, so we'll see what happens there, as more people get the opportunity to try it, since it's making it to retail now.

#Santorini at 3p is a great example of kingmaking lol. I had fun regardless since it was my first time but I wouldn't want that happening again and again.

I've played 4p a few times and I like it even less than at 3p. It's much more difficult to keep track of the power interactions and the way they interact sometimes isn't very clear and you need to look it up. It also creates power combinations that can be very unbalanced, where going against two complex god powers can make you feel like you're playing chess where you only have a pawn and a king left and you're getting "checked" left and right.

Maybe it would help to define the term for those who haven't come across it before. My understanding is that it's when a game allows players to sort of "choose" the winner. For example, in a 3 player game, if players  A & B are poised to win, but only of them can, and player C (who will definitely not win) has the ability, through his/her available actions, to determine whether player A or player B will win, that could be considered kingmaking. That's been my understanding of it, anyway.

For my part, it sucks. I haven't played a ton of games in which it was an issue, but I did play a 3 player game of #Santorini once where I managed to outmaneuver my opponents, and got into a position where they could not stop me from winning on my next turn. One of them simply created on opportunity for the other guy to win just so that I wasn't able to. That really sucked and I told them I considered that a victory for myself. I think I even logged it as a victory for myself, haha. I beat them and technically lost.  -__-

Tournament of Towers and Santorini are the two in my collection that I'm hoping to get my son playing when he's old enough.

Played Santorini with 4 players! I like chess and am decent at it, but 4 players is honestly way too chaotic for me. Especially with the complex god powers, where a heavily restrictive god power's passive is on both of the opponents' workers, it was too much to track of the limitations in movement haha


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