Akrotiri is a competitive two player game where you explore the seas to visit islands, build temples and ship goods to make a name for yourself. A key part of the game is tile laying and picking up and delivering to make money.
Akrotiri was a volcanic Greek island in Santorini, and you’re trying to dominate this collection of islands in this game as your explorer travels around by boat.
Mapping Out Your Journey
To win the game you want the most points. To do this you complete maps, which are cards that require you to place a temple on an island which has certain icons around it. The maps are worth different amounts of Victory Points. You can only have one temple per island, so it’s often a race for the best placements. Where the icons are is based on which way the players are looking at the tiles (so it’ll be different for both people).
You start the game with a few different maps, some easier to achieve than others. Once a player has excavated 7 temples the game ends. Every turn you reveal a tile and place it around the centre island. Depending on the colour of the icon revealed you place a cube from the resource market, then you place a resource on another corner of the tile. Your tiles could benefit your opponent but your opponent could also help you.
On your turn you have a few actions you can do:
- Move your ship (you have fewer moves if you have a resource loaded)
- Load your ship (up to three resources)
- Excavate a temple
- Buy maps
- Request an icon and then look for it in the face down tiles
There are also some free actions:
- Unload your ship
- Sell to the market (you get more money for more scarce resources)
Selling to the market is useful as you use the money for more maps. The cost of maps goes up exponentially the more you buy, so there’s strategy in how many maps you buy too. Especially as towards the end of the game you know you won’t be able to use them all.
So throughout the game you and your opponent take a variety of these actions, trying to capitalise on the market, buy the optimum amount of maps and maximise potential points.
The map cards will show an island in the centre and the different icons to the north, south, east and west of the island in order to fulfil the criteria of building a temple. The icons don’t have to be directly adjacent to the island, just as long as they exist to the north or south (etc.) to the island. Once you really get to grips with the islands, routes and icons, you can excavate temples quicker and know where to place the tiles to meet your goals. You’re also able to take more actions (as indicated by the bottom track) the more temples you excavate which means you accelerate towards the end of the game.
As you excavate more temples, you also gain goal cards which contribute to game end scoring. These include goals that encourage you to build temples on islands with specific icons, sizes or locations. These are crucial for final scoring when things are close. As it goes for games where you obtain goals later on, you see how the goals already fit with the temples you’ve excavated. At the end of the game you score your maps, your goals and get a VP for every 10 drachmas you have.
For those who love tile placement games, this is a great one to have. It’s a really tight game that can be played quickly but exercises your brain. It’s very competitive as only one person can build a temple on an island and you have to make the most of the actions you have. There’s also a lot of pick up and delivering throughout the game with resources. It’s a game you can master as you play more and get more familiar with the actions, tiles and goals. As usual laying tiles down is very satisfying, it’s one of the best things about these kinds of games. The tiles are really solid and they feel good to lay down, I like the addition of matching the white routes as well as the islands and sea, it means as the game progresses it’s harder to travel further out. The temple tokens are fun and I always love a little boat that you can move things around in. As a quick strategic game, Akrotiri is a good one.