Santorini is a simple strategy game with a twist. It’s also one of the games we played for the first time at SaltCon 2018. Players control 2 pawns each, moving them around the board and building towers. To win, you must have one of your pawns on top of a 3 story tower. Understanding how to play Santorini is pretty easy. Actually playing is far more difficult. That’s because the simple mechanisms hide a game that relies heavily on strategy and thinking ahead.
When you begin to play with player roles as well, it adds even more complexity to the game. This is because each player gains an asymmetrical set of abilities that change their strategy. Santorini is a very fun game that I would highly recommend.
Santorini’s components are amazing. Primarily that is because instead of building figurative tower with punch-board tokens, players get to build actual towers with plastic pieces that fit together perfectly. Yeah, it’s nice. The board even floats over the “ocean” using a raised platform. It’s really cool. Additionally, Santorini’s artwork is consistent and works well for this game, even if it’s not a style that I personally prefer.
Probably the best part about Santorini is how deep the strategy goes. With only a few available actions, it still gives players some hard choices that can make or break their chances of winning. When playing with god powers it becomes even more intense. I really enjoyed playing Apollo and zipping around the board to mess with the other players’ plans.
If you’ve been reading this blog for any period of time, you’ll know I prefer cooperative games. Santorini isn’t one of them. It is unapologetically competitive. What’s funny is that I really enjoyed this game despite what I consider a major failing. Because it plays so quickly any frustration garnered by something going woefully wrong in the game is quickly subsumed by another round.
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