I'll start by being honest - I am usually the first to turn my nose up at abstract games. They are usually, in my opinion, lacking in theme, which is a big deal for me, or exterior player interaction (because you’re so caught up in the strategy of it that you forget there is another person at the table), but maybe that one’s just me.
Santorini, however, throws that out the window and has given me an abstract game that’s everything I’ve ever wanted, and more. It is my current game obsession, and the more I play it ,the more I want to play it. Oh, you want to hear more? Allow me to explain.
Coming from purely un-themed abstract game, the newly developed theme is simple, but it is there – Gods, riddled with boredom, finding enjoyment in building a city taller and taller! What really adds to the story, in my opinion, is the storybook from the Kickstarter. It doesn’t add to the game, but it gives that backstory (in adorable couplets!), which really gets your mind into the game’s world right from the start. Of course, the game would still be plenty playable without the theme, but I think it softens the “blow” of the all-strategy game that lies beneath, and makes it so much approachable to those of us who prefer a mix of strategy and luck. (Dice rolls are my jam, don’t ask why – I still don’t know).
A small bullet point on my list of pros for the game, but the art is AMAZING. It’s cute, colorful, and, again, approachable. Not much more I can say about it, but please understand – I am obsessed with the art.
I may be starting to sound like a broken record, but I will say it again for the people in the back. The gameplay itself is – you guessed it – simple. The rules are as follows (both mandatory):
What adds to the gameplay even further, you ask? God powers, I reply. The power cards allow you to break the rules, so to speak, by allowing you to move more, move in different ways, attack players, and so on (there’s a lot, we’re not going to do them all). They add another element that builds on the depth of the game and only makes it more enjoyable.
Sorry, I thought it deserved its own title.
Overall, the game is fantastic…in case I had not made that clear prior to this point. The components, gameplay, and theme are wonderful, and it’s a game I’m always looking to bring to the table. I’ll admit, it says it plays 2-4, but I’ve only ever played 2-player. But, when a game works so insanely well at 2, and we don’t have enough 2-player only games as it is, I see no reason to rock the boat. I hope other pairs enjoy this as much as us! :)