We Played Santorini! What Makes This Game So Good?

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I went to Board Game Republic (it's a board game pub in Denver) over the weekend and my friends and myself played Mysterium and Santorini. Both of these games were very good, but what stuck out to me with Santorini was how much is packed into this game that is relatively small and super easy to learn.

Santorini legitimately took less than a minute to understand, yet there is so much critical thinking and strategy involved. I believe this concept for games that are quick and simple to learn, but still involve lots of strategy; get less attention among the hardcore board gamers today. This is a tragedy. 

Santorini is following one of the greatest game designs ever, one which more games should strive for. My one con in this game is that some characters may be a little overpowering (or weak) when combined with other characters. That being said, these are the aspects that make it so great:

  • This game takes no time to learn, thus having virtually no barrier to entry for any audience.
  • There are so many strategies and tactics, not only given the ways to build or hinder other builders, but also with the variety of character abilities.
  • It's pretty cheap, but the pieces still appear so nice and create a very thematic experience.
  • With all the character abilities and different strategies, it has a huge replay value.
  • The design has a nice, cohesive theme, from the cartoony illustrations to the design of each level of the buildings.

Moral of this story, go buy/play Santorini and let me know what you think makes a great game design!