I’ve been playing quite a few new games (or at least new to me) this week, and I was having a hard time deciding which game to feature in this week’s The Robot Plays. I may have to do some additional posts, but for now, I’ve decided to talk about the one that’s been on my mind the most: Santorini by Roxley Game Laboratory.
Santorini is another of those games that fits into the category of “Ridiculously Simple but Ridiculously Strategic.”
The way I’ve been describing it to people is, “3-Dimensional Go.” It’s essentially an area control game, but you’re trying to build your “line” upward, rather than across the board.
Players take turn moving one of their two workers on a 5-by-5 board, and then building a piece of a tower on one of the squares next to that worker. If you move your worker onto the 3rd level of a tower, you win. You can only move a worker up one level (so no moving from the ground all the way up to level 3), and you can “cap” a tower by placing a dome on top of the 3rd level – essentially blocking your opponent from climbing it and winning.
Ridiculously simple. But–like Go–the strategy is intense. You’ve got to position your two workers very carefully so that you are simultaneously building towers for your own victory while ensuring you’re encroaching on your opponent’s progress as they attempt to build up to victory as well.
The game also introduces unique player powers in the form of “God Powers” – a single card that each player chooses at the start of the game which alters the rules slightly. For example, Artemis (Goddess of the Hunt) can move her workers two squares instead of one. The addition of these cards changes the game immensely, and add a lot of theme to the game. I’ve seen people doing Santorini tournaments, where they use their God card to show their placement on the tournament brackets. Doesn’t get more Olympian than that.
And look, you guys. The game is super cute. As soon as people get one look at it, they can’t resist.
Santorini offers a lot to admire; and I have a tremendous amount of respect for what Roxley is doing. Their games are top notch – not only in terms of component quality, but also gameplay. Their playtesting process is rigorous – something I’m a huge proponent of and something I’m trying to achieve as I work through closed beta testing of Osprey Adrift and get Blind Testing rocking and rolling.
What about you? Played Santorini and want to share your thoughts? Played anything else lately? Until next time, gang. Keep it plucky,