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Santorini New York 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 New York is quite a different game than the original, but has it taken the title to new heights?

Santorini New York Review

7 out of 10
Santorini Two Player Review A Pair of Meeples

Is it Good For Two Players? : A better “game” at two but may not be as fun as higher player counts.

Where the original Santorini is very clear-cut, simple, and chess-like, New York instead introduces a little bit of luck and chance while also giving players the impression of an even playing field. This makes it a much better game for more casual players.

With enough plays, you’ll notice that Santorini New York still has some of the same problems as the original though.  The main issue is that to enjoy the game to its fullest you have to be pretty good at it and have opponents of equal skill.

Theme: 7/10
Replayability: 4/10
Components: 6/10
Conflict: 7/10
Fun: 5/10

His Rating
7 out of 10
Her Rating
7 out of 10

Pros

Plays pretty quickly, especially once your familiar with the abilities

The cards add a new aspect to the game, increasing the luck while giving players more to think about in terms of hand management

Better for more casual players

The components are pretty good

Cons

Still requires opponents to have pretty equal skill levels to really be enjoyed

The end game often feels unsatisfying, and seems like it all comes down to a very minor mistake

Gameplay Experience:

Santorini New York Two Player Review

If you’ve followed us for a while you know Santorini isn’t our favorite game.  Partially due to our tastes, but also due to some flaws that you can read about in our review.  Well, Santorini New York made its way into our collection regardless of that fact (we know, we have a problem).

I don’t know if it was on sale or whether I was just being hopeful that it would be a better game, but here we are.  I will admit, that it sat on our shelf for a long time unplayed, we knew our feelings about the first game so it was rather hard to find the motivation to give Santorini New York a go.

I don’t think we should have lumped them together as much as we have though, because after playing our first round we were pleasantly surprised.  The game is very much built on the same core mechanic as the original but felt much different to play.

Where the original Santorini is very clear-cut, simple, and chess-like, New York instead introduces a little bit of luck and chance while also giving the impression of an even playing field at the same time.

After starting our second round we already felt this version of the game was more aligned with our tastes.  The ability to play off your hand while having all the unique powers available to all players at the same time created a more fun and less frustrating experience in our opinion. 

We played a few more rounds, switched up the special abilities, and enjoyed it much more than we expected, but with each round, some of our main issues with the original started to peek out in this version also.

This is a game that makes your victories and losses just feel “blah” unless you’re willing to play enough to become really good and also find an opponent who is a perfect match in terms of skill level.  Most times the end game comes down to one simple overlooked move or mistake as opposed to an actual “checkmate” style setup.

This probably isn’t the case for more experienced Santorini players but for the more casual players this is something that’s hard to miss and kind of results in a rather unsatisfying end to what is actually quite an awesome, unique and well designed game.

Overall Santorini New York adds just enough fun and luck factor to diminish the frustration of these things, and in our opinion, it’s a better game for the more casual board gamer.

Santorini New York Rules Summary:

Santorini New York plays pretty similarly to the original but comes with a few significant changes.  The core gameplay of climbing to new heights works just like in the original, players try to reach the top before their opponents.  

Santorini New York Components and Tower Heights and Skyscrapers

Each player has two player pieces on the board, and a turn typically consists of moving one of them into an adjacent space and then building something on an adjacent space. This game adds a twist by requiring players to play cards to determine player order, the abilities they use, and actually whether they are in a position to win or not.

The cards in the game represent the four various abilities, and for most there are different variations of each.

  • Builder: These cards modify the building action that players will take.
  • Mover: Alters the amount of movement or type you can take.
  • Specialists:  These cards usually have an effect on your opponents player pieces.
  • Engineer: There is only one variation of this card (included in every game), it requires players to place skyscrapers and gives them the potential to also win if they can place a roof on a building, while having the Statue of Liberty.
Santorini New York Card Variations

Players pick whichever card they want to play from their hand and put it face down in front of them, then all players will reveal them simultaneously.  The player who played the lowest card gets to go first, whereas the player who plays the highest card goes last but gets the Statue of Liberty.

Santorini New York Numbered Cards

In order to win, players will not only need to reach a three level building, but they must do so while the Statue of Liberty is in their position.  This dynamic adds a lot of interesting aspects to the gameplay when deciding which cards to play.

As we said, one other way to win is with an Engineer card, but the number on those cards makes it not as easy as it may seem at first.  The final way a player can win is by a process of elimination.  If a player can’t move or complete a required action on the card they play they have to remove one of their players from the board.  

At its core, the game is very similar to the original, but the card play adds a little luck and changes the dynamic up in quite an interesting way, as players will have to figure out the best time to play the cards they have available.

Conclusion:

Santorini New York is a much different game than the original while somehow looking almost identical in terms of form factor.  You’re still mostly just trying to reach the top before your opponent by outmaneuvering or blocking them.

Santorini New York Table Presence

The cards deciding player order and the abilities you have, change up the dynamic a lot though.  Everybody has the same abilities at their disposal (usually) which just makes the game feel a lot better in our opinion than the way both players have their own separate abilities from the god cards in the original.

Even though the cards also introduce luck, it somehow feels more fair, fun, and balanced knowing that everybody is using the same four abilities.  In the original, it can be frustrating trying to play against the same special move over and over again, because who knows, maybe the powers you used that round aren’t balanced.

Santorini New York Mid Game

Santorini also implemented a lot of quality of life upgrades that haven’t gone unnoticed.  The slotted board is nice and holds pieces in place and the pieces themselves aren’t level unique, so it’s as easy as grabbing and placing.  These aren’t major things but they are nice.

Overall though, with enough plays, you’ll notice that Santorini New York still has some of the same problems as the original.  The main issue is that to fully enjoy the game you have to be pretty good at it and have opponents of equal skill.

If those conditions aren’t met most games will end because of a minor mistake or overlooking something so simple that you probably shouldn’t have missed it.  It’s kind of odd that the game ends this way because it doesn’t really match the way the rest of it feels to play.

Is Santorini New York Good For 2 Players?

Santorini New York is probably a better “game” with just two players but a much different experience than playing with more.  

In a two player game the board is less crowded and you have a lot more control.  You’re fighting over who goes first and who goes last, and this gives you a lot more ability to strategically go on the offense or defense.  With more players, turn order is going to be a lot more varied.

In a two player game it’s not very likely for players to get eliminated due to the amount of space on the board, and thus is almost a non existent aspect of the game.  When playing with more players it’s going to happen a lot more often and may make some rounds more about survival than actually winning the more traditional way.

Normally player elimination isn’t a great aspect of games as it kind of stinks to have to sit out, but Santorini New York plays pretty fast, so it’s not as big of a problem.  It’s still something that’s often only applicable to higher player counts though.

Overall playing with two provides a less chaotic and crowded game allowing for more strategy and planning, whereas playing with more players makes luck a much larger factor while also increasing the chance for player elimination to be a more significant aspect of the game.

Pros:

  • Plays pretty quickly, especially once you’re familiar with the abilities
  • The cards add a new aspect to the game, increasing the luck while giving players more to think about in terms of hand management
  • Better for more casual players
  • The components are pretty good

Cons:

  • Still requires opponents to have pretty equal skill levels to really be enjoyed
  • The end game often feels unsatisfying and seems like it all comes down to a very minor mistake

Santorini New York, Strategy Board Game, for Adults and Kids Ages 8 and up
Santorini New York, Strategy Board Game, for Adults and Kids Ages 8 and up
Santorini New York, Strategy Board Game, for Adults and Kids Ages 8 and up

We hope this Santorini New York two player review has helped you.

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.


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