Our step-by-step guide to the rules of how to play Santorini Board Game. This is a showdown among players set against an ancient Greek backdrop. Everything you do is in response to your opponent. From start to finish this is a game of misdirection and well throughout planning. The game is for 2 – 4 players at ages 8+. The rules for how to play Santorini are incredibly easy and should have you up in running in no time.

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You are constructing multi-level buildings on the glorious island and the first player to reach a certain level wins. You have only two things to do each turn, move a builder and build up. The first player to get a builder on top of a 3 story structure wins, and they must climb to it via a 1 and then a 2 story building. The key is if you are not strategic in how you do it, your opponent can block you, or worse yet, beat you there.


Time Needed: Approximately 20 minutes.

This is a step by step guide for how to play Santorini the popular abstract strategy board game. Additional notions and special rules can be found below the list. These will be referenced for your convenience.

1. SETUP | Construct Game Board
The first step of how to play Santorini setup is to construct the game board. There is a plastic rock cluster base. That needs to be attached to the square grid board but clipping it into the four corresponding spots around the edges. This structure can be placed on the larger ocean board.

2. SETUP | Assign Got Powers
The starting “challenger” player selects god cards (special unique powers) equal to the number of players. The next player selects the god card of their choice and this continues until everyone has a card and all the cards have been taken.

3. SETUP | Give Out Player Tokens
Each player needs two worker figures in their color. Distribute these now.

4. SETUP | Set Aside Building Pieces
There are four building-size pieces that will need to be accessed and placed during the game. The first level placed is a specific type, the second is a little smaller, the third level a little smaller than that and the fourth level is a dome roof. Put these nearby so you can grab and add them to the board as needed.

5. SETUP | Place Initial Workers On Board
The final step of how to play Santorini setup before getting into gameplay is to determine worker starting positions. Starting with the first player, place one worker on any open space on the grid. Continue around the circle, with each player placing one worker in an open space until all workers have been placed. Since everyone has two, you are going to go around the circle two times.

6. GAMEPLAY | Step 1 | Move
During this step, you chose one of your workers and move them one space in any direction. They can move (1) side to side, (2) up one level or (3) down any number of levels. A move includes diagonal spaces, which could mean any of the 8 surrounding spaces are in play if you were in the middle of the grid. A worker CANNOT move into a space occupied by a dome (the 4th level of a building) or another worker.

7. GAMEPLAY | Step 2 | Build
Now that you have a new spot after moving, you need to build one building piece in any space surrounding you. You can build any piece but buildings must go in order. If there is nothing there, a level one piece needs to be added. If a spot has three levels on it already, if you choose to build there, you are building the fourth level dome. The whole idea is to build a three level structure that you will be able to eventually move onto, before your opponent can do the same or build a dome to block you.

8. GAMEPLAY | Using God Powers
These tend to be passive things that are effects that just exist, so you do not need to trigger them. They are things like “Your Worker may build a dome at any level” and are just little tweaks to switch up the dynamic of the game. These are optional and you can play without them, especially if it is your first time and you want to get the base down.

9. GAMEPLAY | Rotate & Repeat
After a player takes these two steps, the turn moves to the player on the left and they repeat. This continues until someone is able to get on top of the right building and end the game.

10. WINNING | Place A Worker On Third Story
If you are ever able to move a worker on top of the third story of a building, you instantly win the game. This is difficult because with enough planning an opponent should be able to thwart this move by building a dome or beating the other player to it. Getting this done is because you had a sound strategy to block or misdirect your opponent enough to sneak this in.



The God cards are optional but a great way to keep the game fresh. These are effects that give each player a slight edge in a certain area. The base game comes with 30 different gods such as Zeus, Poseidon, Morpheus, Aphrodite and more. These are drafted at the beginning of the game but could also be given out randomly.

See the Full List of Santorini God Cards


  • 18x Dome Blocks
  • 14x Level 3 Blocks
  • 18x Level 2 Blocks
  • 22x Level 1 Blocks
  • 1x Rock Cliff Pedestal
  • 1x Island Game Board
  • 30x God Cards
  • 1x Ocean Board
  • 6x Workers (2 each in 3 colors)
  • 1x Rulebook


We hope you can now say that you now how to play Santorini. This tight showdown on grid is a great abstract strategy game about making the right moves that will allow you to steer clear of your opponents and sneak into a well-timed win. All you do is move around and build, but the implications and dimensionality get kicked dramatically up from there. While the rules for how to play Santorini are incredibly easy, mastering the game can be quite the challenge.