Hello and welcome to another PaladinElliott Review,
First let us cover what Santorini is about:
PLEASE NOTE: This is a review of a homemade version based off of that created by Gavin Brown and Roxley Games, which is displayed in their successful Kickstarter. I tried to follow their claim of creating a "A highly thematic pure strategy experience featuring beautiful miniatures, game-altering player powers and 3D board."
Santorini (Thera) refers to the Greek Island and the Municipality on said Island in the Southern Aegean Sea. This strategy game is where you get to play as a Greek God/Goddess/Hero/Monster from the Mythos and compete to best help the inhabitants of the Island build their village into something magnificent!
The Kickstarter promises the game to be highly thematic, highly accessible, with beautiful miniatures and high quality production. The game can be played within twenty minutes (our games ranged from ten to fifteen) and you get to draw your character from roughly 54 different cards (which is subject to change via the production versus retail versions) and use them against each other in the efforts of moving one of your builders up to the game winning level three.
The game will support 2 to 4 players, but the best experience I believe will be that of the two player session. In this you have a move, and build game turn. You move one of your two builders (the number of builders can change depending on your character card) into a neighboring space. You then have the option with this move to have your builder step up one level (three levels of buildings not counting the dome to close off a building) or down as many levels as you want (that is allowed by the buildings in that area). The build is what follows, where you can place a building (level 1, 2, or 3) adjacent to the builder. Example you move up to a level 2, and you are beside a level 2, you can build level 3 on the level 2 you are standing beside. The dome can be built on a level 3 as a means of blocking someone who is about to ascend to victory. Once a dome is on a level 3 building, the building is locked for the remainder of the game.
What components does the Kickstarter version, and the version you made have?
The Produced version will have 18 domes, 14 level 3, 18 level 2, 22 level 1, 1 pedestal to hold the board game on, 2 tan builders, 2 grey builders, 2 purple builders, 1 game board (the island), 1 ocean board as scenery below the pedestal, and 1 golden fleece. They will also be producing the character cards (3 bonus cards in the production version that will not be in the retail version.
My version has 18 domes, 18 level 3, 18 level 2 and 22 level 1, and all of this was printed on cardstock and taped with packing tape. The images were of modern day Santorini. The pedestal (made out of dark hard foam)
holds up a cardstock island board that is taped together by packing tape. Underneath is the larger ocean board again out of cardstock taped the same way. I used card stock to print out the character cards, and sleeved them. I also used materials I had on hand (tokens) to make or fulfill the Imagination, Arrow, Wind and Ambrosia needed for some of the characters. I also printed out two Compass Roses and used plastic Easter Eggs for the domes. The pawns were printed out on adhesive printing paper, attached to cardboard, and super glued onto plastic caps. This included the Golden Fleece pawn (if a character is adjacent to the Golden Fleece then that player may use the character power assigned to the Golden Fleece-which is randomly predetermined at the beginning of the game). The process took ten days, and the results can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SknmU3rPtfs
We had 3 games played in one sitting, and here is the summary:
-On May 22nd, 2016
-Arnold (my son) draws Demeter and ends up winning the game
-I had Hestia and lost
-We each had 2 builders, and there was 9 level 1, 6 level 2, 3 level 3, and 1 dome used. Game lasted 15 minutes.
-Talia (my daughter) has Hephaestus and loses
-I have Artemis and I win.
-We each had 2 builders
-5 level 1, 4 level 2, 2 level 3, and 0 domes used
-Game lasted 10 minutes
-Talia has Charybdis and wins
-I have Nemesis and lost
-We each had 2 builders
-5 level 1, 4 level 2, 1 level 3, and 0 domes used
-Game was almost 10 minutes
This is a great game for many ages, and in our case it was 5, 7, and my 38 years old. This game is very upfront in players trying very quickly to setup and secure their way to level 3 while having to make the decision on how and went they can (if they can) hinder the opponent from doing the same thing. The game is very spatial, along with solid decision making, and teaching the players how to see moves ahead in their mind while playing in the real time of the game. I found that every game both of my children, and myself, felt like it was a great experience, win or lose. This is a game where you can play with the Golden Fleece or not, you can choose or randomly draw characters (depending on what the players agree on). You can play without the characters if you want. There is many ways to augment this experience and by doing so create different difficulties in which to play.
I completely recommend playing this game, whether you make your own homemade version, buy an earlier version of the game and add to it in your own way, or choose to buy the upcoming version from Roxley Games. It will be well worth it, and see much play in many gaming circles.
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