Santorini Game Board Game
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- Teachable in 30 seconds
- Variable player powers fundamentally change player strategy
- Huge depth and replay ability
- True 3D board that rises up from the table
- For 2-4 players, ages 8 & up, plays in 10-20 minutes
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CHOKING HAZARD -- Small parts. Not for children under 3 yrs.
Santorini is a non-abstract re-imagining of the 2004 edition. Since its original inception over 30 years ago, Santorini has been endlessly developed, enhanced and refined by mathematician and educator, Dr. Gordon Hamilton. Santorini is a highly accessible pure strategy game that is simple enough for an elementary school classroom. But with enough gameplay depth and content for even hardcore gamers to explore, Santorini is truly a game for everyone.
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|Sold By||BoardGameRetail||CLOTHING CABOODLE L.L.C.||Better Best Bargains||Amazon.com|
|Are Batteries Required||No||No||No||No|
|Item Dimensions||11.8 x 2.75 x 11.8 in||7.67 x 7.67 x 1.77 in||11.6 x 2.8 x 11.6 in||3.75 x 3.75 x 10.5 in|
|Item Weight||3 lbs||1.24 lbs||4 lbs||1.5 lbs|
Top Customer Reviews
You simply move once to any tile next to you where you are not blocked and then build... and then the gods come in and break the rules. A lot of strategy and very fun!
The components are excellent-- high quality plastic and fun artwork.
Highly recommend for anyone interested in abstract-type board games.
You can teach this game to anyone in under a minute and be playing for hours. I hope this games becomes incredibly popular.
I think it is best played as a 2-player game, but 3 works as well, and with 4 players you play teams. Santorni has gorgeous components. It's quickly becoming my favorite 2-player game.
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The three dimensional island board is a nice touch. The building components are high quality and the larger size god cards with colorful artwork help round out the theme.
The Golden Fleece expansion should make this a game with so many options you will probably never grow tired of it.
The description says the game is teachable in 30 seconds, but I can tell you the basics in 16 seconds: After an obligatory movement of either one of your workers from one of the spaces on the 5x5 grid to an unoccupied adjacent space, including diagonally and up to one level higher or any number of levels lower, that worker must build the next level in an unoccupied adjacent space. You can build any of the levels 1-3 or a capping dome but you must choose the next correct piece for the space you want to build in. A tower with a dome is considered complete and no workers may enter that space. You win by moving one of your workers onto a level 3 tower. This is the “base game.”
The base game is amazing by itself. It’s fun and deep and you could play for hours. But where Santorini shines is with the introduction of “God Powers.” 30 Gods form a pantheon of game-rule-changing cards. One of the players selects two of the 30 Gods and the other player selects who gets which God. A divide and choose method that creates fairness from possible imbalance in the initial God selection. Each card changes something about the rules of the game, e.g. you may move one additional time; your worker may build a block under itself; your worker may build a dome at any level. Each and every different combination would make for a truly unique experience. Some people I played with liked playing a few games as each of the two Gods before moving on and trying new Gods. Personally, I could play a whole evening with just 2 of the 30 Gods, trying to find new and interesting ways to counteract each other's abilities. Then switch God cards and play another evening. If only I had so much time.
The manual also includes details about 15 additional Gods and 10 “heroes” described in the “Golden Fleece” expansion. There are a few other various additional components but I won’t touch on those here because, quite frankly, they’re not included in the box. You have to shell out again for the expansion. It is ridiculous that they included this expansion information in the initial rule book - they obviously knew all the details of the expansion ahead of time, but it appears to be all about making more money by having us buy expansions. I don’t like it, but I get it.
The rule book further mentions a Santorini App available to help select God pairings. No such app is available at the time of writing this review. I poked around on boardgamegeek’s Santorini forums and found a post where people in the know said the app just wasn’t ready yet and they were spending their time making sure the game got into people’s hands. That’s a noble pursuit, because playing the game is wonderful, but it’s putting the cart before the horse. If there is no app, don’t say there is in the rule book. Save it for an insert flyer in the presumably many forthcoming expansions.
The game is playable by 2-4 players. The instruction manual goes so far as to say the game is best with 2 players and they only included rules for 3 and 4 players for those times you really want to play with more. I disagree wholeheartedly. The game is wonderful with 2 or 4 players. 3 players is ok-ish.
With two players it’s 1 vs 1 (obviously) and gives a similar feeling to playing a game of chess. A battle of wits with a fair mix of strategy and tactics being used to win. It even has a feeling reminiscent of tic-tac-toe or Connect 4, as players often create a win by standing on level 2 and creating a situation where they have two level 3 options (with only one being blockable by their opponent on the opponent’s final turn) for their next move.
With 3 players it’s 1v1v1 (there are three pairs of pawns included in the game) and an interesting dynamic is created. If player A makes a move to win, one of players B or C has to block. But which one? If player B forgoes a defensive build to put themselves in a position to win, does player C (if possible) block A or B? This is a tough choice and can lead to the dreaded “kingmaker” criticism where player C basically decides who wins. It creates an interesting dynamic but in the end it falls flat.
With 4 players you play in teams with teammates across from each other so that turns alternate between teams. Everyone has their own unique God power, but teammates can use either worker on their turn. This creates fun choices each turn as you use your own God power to react to the previous opponent while thinking ahead to prevent your other opponent from beneficially using their power. Also, you try to play off your teammate to try to win. Perhaps you made a great play and your partner can force a win if she makes the one super-awesome-move you envisioned for her. But does she see it? Without allowing partners to give each other advice (which is a house rule I would suggest, but do what makes you have the most fun) this adds yet another fun layer of strategy and thought to the game. And prevents someone from being too dominant and controlling the whole team. Where’s the fun for the non-alpha gamer?
The box says 20 minutes and the amazon description says 10-20 minutes. This game is difficult to hammer down an estimated playtime. I’ve lost a game in 40 seconds. Won one that quick, too. The longest was perhaps 8 minutes. It really depends on how prone to “analysis paralysis” the players are. This isn’t the type of game where you sit down and play just one game, either. When I first opened the box I played 6 base games in 25 minutes, then messed around another hour with a few God powers. I’m not sure how many games we played, but the time flew by.
The game is beautiful. The pieces are made of a sturdy and durable plastic and fit together wonderfully. The game board is described as a true 3D board. It’s basically just two high quality cardboard boards with a plastic volcanic-island-looking cliff pedestal spacer between them. It’s great. Is it needed for gameplay? No. But it really gives you a Santorini (an island in Greece that actually has white buildings with blue domes as in this game) atmosphere. The God power cards are large as well. They feel substantial and look great. The art in this game is top notch. Even if you’re not a huge fan of the cartoon drawings, you can at least appreciate the quality and attention the art was given. My only complaint about any of the components is that the three colors of workers are a bit boring and the light gray and white don’t contrast that well. But who cares? The components are pure quality.
As I began, Santorini is likely going to be one of the top games of the year. It’s well made, you can play with your kids or your grammy in any amount of time, and most importantly it’s fun. It has a permanent space on my game shelf, and I’ll probably cave and buy all the expansions.