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Santorini Two Player Review

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All board game reviews and ratings from “A Pair of Meeples” are entirely based on the game at two players. You can learn more about our rating system by clicking below.


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Santorini is a great game that is very well designed and gorgeous to look at, but might require you to be “godly” skilled at it to really enjoy it to its fullest.

Santorini Board Game Review

5.5 out of 10

Is it Good For Two Players? : It depends

If you and your opponents like your games to have perfect information and be an epic battle of wits, then Santorini might be a good game for you.  If you like your two player board games to allow for a wider skill gap, have some luck and variability, and can be played less consistently then another game might be a better option for you.

Theme: 6/10
Replayability: 6/10
Components: 8/10
Conflict: 8/10
Fun: 3/10

Husband's Rating
6 out of 10
Wife's Rating
5 out of 10

Pros

High-quality and unique components

Gorgeous to look at

Very tight and well-balanced gameplay

Simple to learn and play

Cons

Requires equally skilled players

Takes time and lots of plays to master

Gameplay Experience:

Santorini is a game that was added to our collection very early on, it might have been one of the very first because it was highly praised as one of the best two-player games ever.  

All we could think when we opened the box was that a lot of love and thought had gone into this game.  It did not surprise us to find out that it has been refined and continually worked on over the course of 30 years.  

The pieces are high quality and there are so many of them.  The cards and art looked great too.  Even cooler though was the plastic island piece that makes the game board rise out of the table making it very impressive and nice to look at. 

Once you start building towers this game starts to rise out of the table even more.  Santorini definitely provides a unique table presence which is surprising with how simple this game is to play.

Santorini Towers

The first few times you play Santorini, you are supposed to play without a God power.  During these we could already tell this was a very tight back and forth chess style game, that is easy to play but tough to master.

Without God Powers, it was a definite tug of war and it usually only takes one mistake for your opponent to get the upper hand and win.  In other words, once it’s over it’s usually over in Santorini.  Usually, you have to plan ahead and have two routes to victory to win since this is a perfect information game.

After we were comfortable with the game we added some simple God Powers to the game.  This definitely added more variety and complexity, but the essence of the game was still the same.  With the powers, each round was still insanely tight with that tug-of-war style turn-taking, as both of us tried to get the upper hand and win.  

In the beginning, we played Santorini a lot and found it pretty fun, but as we have collected more board games it has been pulled off our shelf less and less.  This isn’t because it’s a bad game, but because it requires a high skill level to be enjoyed to its fullest.  The closer both players are in skill level the better too.  

Santorini is a game that we think is best enjoyed if you can play it consistently and perfect your skills over time.   It takes time and lots of play to learn how to strategize better in Santorini, which doesn’t really work for us since we like to play lots of different games and only pull it off the shelf every once in a while.

Santorini Rules Summary:

In Santorini, players have two builders that they will use to move and construct towers around the board.  To win players have to get one of their builders to the top of a tower.   At its core, Santorini has some of the most simple rules, but in truth, it is quite difficult to play well.

Players take turns moving one of their builders in any one of the surrounding spaces and then constructing a tower piece in a space around the builder they moved.  Players can move up and down towers but only one level at a time.  Players can also top off towers with domes making the space unplayable.  The first player to reach the top of a tower wins.

Santorini Towers
Santorini Towers

There is no luck or variable conditions in Santorini.  Players know all information and have to predict, plan and counter each other to win.  God powers can be used, but this does not add any luck or unknowns to the game because your opponent still knows your singular special power.

God powers give each player a special unique ability.  One allows players to move their builder as many spaces as they would like while another gives the player the ability to knock a player down from a tower if possible.  These are just two examples of the countless god cards included in the game.  

Santorini God Cards
Santorini God Cards

God powers will change the game a little and add some complexity but ultimately it’s all still about positioning your builders just right and building exactly when and where is needed to win in Santorini.

Santorini Trapped
Santorini Trapped Opponent

Conclusion:

Santorini is a good game, actually a great game but only some will enjoy this game to its fullest.  To play Santorini well takes practice which takes a lot of time and many plays. So if you like to play many different games instead of the same ones over and over, it might not be the game for you. 

We believe most people won’t fully enjoy Santorini if they only pull it out every once in a while.  Not only do you need to perfect your skills, your opponents will also have to because this game requires both players to be quite equal.

If both players aren’t similar skill-wise, there isn’t much of a game there.  The better player will win over and over again until the other player gets better.  This is fine but can be quite frustrating if you don’t play very often as you won’t have the opportunity to get better.  

The god powers seem like they could mitigate this by giving the weaker player an advantage sometimes, but this usually isn’t the case.  The game is very, very well designed and all the powers are pretty well balanced.  So if you’re worse at the game you are still almost guaranteed to lose no matter which power you have. 

All this leads to our opinion that Santorini is only a good game for a certain group of players.  You’ll be more likely to enjoy this game if you like games that require a lot of skill to win and have opponents you can play who are pretty equal in skill to you.  For these two things to happen though you and your opponents will have to play the game more often than other games to develop those skills.

Is Santorini Good For Two Players?:

So, is Santorini a good two player game?  It is a game that is definitely best played with two as opposed to higher player counts.  Like we said before, it is a great two player game but only for certain people.  

It really is super crucial that both players have similar skills in order for there to be any sort of game when playing Santorini.  This is a big negative for us but might be a positive for others who like a challenge and like to perfect their skills at a singular game.  

If you and your opponents like perfect knowledge games and super tight battles of wits then Santorini might be perfect for you.  If you like your two player board games to allow for a wider skill gap, have some luck and variability, and can be played less consistently then another game might be a better option for you.

Pros

  • High quality and unique components 
  • Gorgeous to look at
  • Very tight and well balanced gameplay
  • Simple to learn and play

Cons

  • Requires equally skilled players
  • Takes time and lots of plays to master

We hope this Santorini two player game review has helped you and if you are interested in buying a copy you can click the orange “Buy on Amazon” button.

Our reviews are not paid reviews, but some games are given to us, we do not let this affect our opinions in any way. This post may contain affiliate links so we might receive compensation if you sign up for or purchase products linked to. As an Amazon Associate, we can earn from qualifying purchases. This helps cover our site’s costs and allows us to continue reviewing games.


Santorini Expansion

Santorini also has an expansion called Golden Fleece, which adds more god cards and a golden fleece figure.  This expansion is supposed to help balance out skill gaps which is one of our biggest issues with the game.  This expansion also comes with the ocean tile to surround the island.

Santorini Spin Master Version vs Roxley

This review was based on the Spin Master version of the game which is the only version you will easily be able to find around today.  It is basically the same as the old Roxley version with the biggest difference being no ocean tile around the board, but this was purely a cosmetic piece.  

The ocean tile does make the game look even better on the table, but the more affordable price of the current version is definitely worth the missing component.


Santorini New York

Santorini New York is a rethemed version of the original that introduces some new rules and features. Players are still trying to reach the top first but now they have various role cards they must reveal and use and will also need to have the Statue of Liberty to win. This version can also be played with more players than the original.


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