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Play OverviewPlay Overview

Santorini (2003) is a strategy game where you place buildings on a Greek island in an effort to get your character to the top. This creates a chess-like three-dimensional competitive puzzle that changes as each player adds pieces to the village. It's unusual not only because of this tactical play but through the varied Greek Gods you play as, each with brilliant abilities that lead to very different strategies and win states.

Play involves choosing one of the Gods to determine your powers and then placing two workers on the board. Players take turns to move and then build (add a building piece to the city). This creates growing cityscapes where you can move your characters up and down one level at a time. Getting one of yours to the top of a three-high building wins the game.

This simple gameplay is extended by 'God' powers which change the mechanics in fundamental ways. One power allows a player to win by jumping down from a two-high building. Another power enables you to move both characters any number of squares, while another lets you build an additional time.

The remarkable thing about the game is how these powers drastically alter the play, but in spite of first impressions, are balanced to create nail-biting showdowns no matter the chosen combination. This not only offers variety but also gives lots of reasons to keep playing with different powers.

Our examiner, Andy Robertson, first checked Santorini 2 years ago. It was re-examined by Jo Robertson and updated 3 months ago.
There are lots of games similar to Santorini. Here are some we picked for you:

Play StylePlay Style

This is a Strategy and Traversal game with Brain Game, Puzzle and World Building elements. You can play with 2 to 3 players in the same room. You can play with up to three players, each controlling two builders. It works best with two players going head to head, otherwise, one player can be forced into moves to stop another one from winning.

You can play this game in the following styles:

This has been enjoyed by families in the following styles:


Learn to Play: This takes 20 minutes to learn. The game is quick to learn with its simple move-then-build mechanic, but the God powers and their implications require more time and consideration to understand. We suggest you do the following the first time you play:
  • Play one round with two players and no God powers.
  • Play one round with two players and some of the basic God powers as outlined in the manual.

Play Time: This game will take between 15 minutes and 20 minutes to complete.


This game is good if you want to:

This game has helped players develop their Belief, Disposition and Experience as part of the following pathways:

This game has been the inspiration for the following activities:

Age RatingsAge Ratings

Skill Level

8+ year-olds usually have the required skill to enjoy this game. Although you can understand how to move characters and place buildings, you do need some skill to think ahead and plan ways to construct situations that lead to winning.

Our Game Pathways reveal how 8-year-olds play this game:

Content Rating

We rate this suitable for 3+ years-olds.


There are no additional in-game purchases, loot boxes, adverts or subscription costs.
There are expansions you can purchase to add new elements to the gameplay:
  • Santorini Golden Fleece adds more Gods and a Golden Ram that temporarily imbues players with an additional God's powers.
  • Santorini New York offers a modern-day setting and Roles rather than God powers. 

DetailsGame Details

Release Date: 01/01/2003, updated in 2020

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Players: 2-3

Genres: Strategy, Traversal (Brain Game, Puzzle and World Building)

Accessibility: 37 features

Components: Board, Cards and Placeables

Developer: Spin Master (@SpinMaster)

Taming Gaming Book Written by parents for parents, the database complements the in-depth discussion about video game addiction, violence, spending and online safety in the Taming Gaming book. We are an editorially independent, free resource without adverts that is supported by partnerships.

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