If I had to nominate a board game of the year, it would be Santorini.
I believe that a simple review of Santorini would not suffice to describe how good this board game is.
It’s not just about rules that are easy to follow, or the time you expend playing it without getting tired, or even the components.
A simplicity that is everywhere, yet complex when you need it.
It can be hard to explain how I feel when playing Santorini, but it is a good feeling, and I’ll do my best to show it to you.
Creator(s): Dr. Gordon Hamilton
Year Published: 2017
Number of Players: 2 – 4
Age: 8 and above
Play Time: 20 minutes
Learning Difficulty: Easy
Game Rules: Click here
Where to buy: Amazon | eBay
The original Santorini board game was created more than 30 years ago.
In 2004 it was launched with wooden shapes that you could stack to represent the constructions.
Having simple rules, it was a success, but not as successful as it is at the moment.
Dr. Gordon Hamilton never stopped developing the game, and now his effort comes together as the new redesigned Santorini.
I don’t believe he could choose a better publisher for the game.
Roxley vision comes together in this board game as it is innovative, robust, polished, beautiful, replayable, and addictive.
This is exactly what Roxley defines its games, and that’s exactly how Santorini is.
You may also have noticed that the game components look exactly like the buildings in the Santorini islands in Greece.
That’s not a coincidence, and it is because it tells a tale that the gods created Santorini, and the game mimics it.
What’s in the box?
These are all the components from the board game Santorini:
- 1 Ocean board
- 1 Island board
- 1 Cliff pedestal
- 22 Blocks level 1
- 18 Blocks level 2
- 14 Blocks level 3
- 18 Domes
- 6 Workers from 3 different colors
- 30 God powers
- 1 Rulebook
- For those who were lucky enough to buy the game in the Kickstarter edition, a storybook
One of the first cool things I saw in the game, was the 3d board.
Putting together the cliff pedestal with the ocean and island boards makes the buildings you stack pop out of the game.
The Illustrations from Lina Cossette and David Forest are stunning.
Every item of the game has a detail that makes it enjoyable.
Santorini has three different types of blocks representing its buildings.
Each block represents one level of the building and has its own details as, for example, a stair or a window.
The top domes are exactly like the ones from the island.
All three sets of workers have one female and one male character.
They are both beautiful and easy to identify on the board.
The cards representing the gods are also beautifully illustrated.
With so much expectation around this board game, I was afraid that I would be disappointed.
I couldn’t be happier when I started playing it, and it was even better than I anticipated.
The rules couldn’t be simpler.
You move one of yours workers and build in one of the spaces around them.
You can move on the same level you are, one level higher, or any levels down.
You can build up to three levels plus a dome.
If one of your workers reach the third level of a building, you instantly win the game.
It is so simple that, again, I was afraid to get tired of the game really fast.
I’m happy to say one more time that I was wrong.
As it is based purely on strategy, you can play on and on, and every game will be different.
If that wasn’t enough, the god powers give each player different abilities that can break the game’s standard rules.
For example, one power allows you to build two times instead of one, while other power gives you the ability to move again after you build.
With these variables added to the game, your strategy has to change the whole time to adapt to your opponents ability.
In general, it is a game for the whole family and friends.
You can spend hours playing it and not even notice.
It requires some concentration from the players as they have to try to stay one step ahead of their opponents.
The artwork also makes it an excellent board game for children.
If you want to see a gameplay of it, the video below will give you a very good idea of it:
Along with the Kickstarter, an expansion called Santorini – The Golden Fleece was created.
It adds a new game mode along with 15 new god abilities, and a new hero mechanism.
It is a lovely addition to the game and is totally worthy if you like the game.
Where to buy?
Santorini is already in almost all the specialized board game stores, but you can also find it in the online stores below:
You can find The Golden Fleece expansion on Amazon.
I hope you liked it as much as I did.
Feel free to share your game experience with me in the comments below, and ask any questions you may still have.
Nice to meet a fellow board gamer. Never saw this game before. Looks like a lot of fun. Will give a try some time. Thanks for introducing me to this game. Where are you from? Do you belong to a gaming group?
Hey David, it’s always great to meet someone that’s into this hobby. 🙂
I’m currently located in Sydney, Australia and have some friends that are always playing board games with me. You can take a look at my Olympic Board Games to meet some of them.
Apart from that, I just engage with the community on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google+, and Reddit.
What about you?
What an intricate board game. Very cool. Nice thorough review. I’m gonna have to look this one up.
Santorini is a very detailed board game indeed, but easy to master. 🙂
This looks like just the game for my 7 year old daughter. She is computer savvy (like most kids now), but she also loves ‘manual’ games and activities. I really think she’d love this, will get it for her birthday. Thanks!
She will love it 🙂
This is a very neat game… I’ve recently learned about it and was searching around to see what other info I can find and your post has given me more reason to get it for my girls.
Thanks for your detailed post about this game!
I’m glad it helped you, Grace.
Tell me later if your daughters liked it.
Santorini looks like a great game. It’s nice to see people are still interested in board games. Everything seems to be online now. I don’t like playing games on a computer or phone. Board games are so much more fun!
What makes me happier is that more and more people are going back to board games.
It’s also the reason why so many new board games have been launched recently.
Great review! Thanks for going so in depth, this game looks like a lot of fun!! Can’t wait to try it out!
I know you will love it. ???? Enjoy
This game seems like a lot of fun. I think I am going to have to add this to the list for family game night!
Thanks for this review! I have heard really good things about Santorini but never got to learn how to play. So what other strategies are involved in the gameplay? How do you stop other players from continuing to build?
You can try to move and build into positions where they don’t have anything else to do. If that happens, it’ll be an instant win.
The strategies you have to use varies accordingly to the god power you both are using.