The expansion adds in the little ocean board that makes the game look a bit niftier. Also added are a few new Gods and Heroes -- which are effectively gods who can activate their powers only once, which is ideal if two players have unequal skill, or if you want each player to have one high-stakes opportunity to use a god power. The Golden Fleece game mode, of course, is the main addition, and it adds another key consideration -- in game with the Golden Fleece, there is only one god power, and players can only use it on any particular turn if they start that turn with a builder adjacent to the Fleece. (In normal Santorini games, players either have no god powers at all, or each player drafts 1 that takes effect all game.)
Some of the new gods are a little involved, especially Hecate, who has a miniature version of the game map (and a shield to hide it from opponents) and moves the workers on that map as if it were the game board. BUT Hecate builds on the game board as normal. At any point, if an opponent attempts an action that would be illegal because of the secret workers, their action is cancelled and they lose their whole turn. This introduced a bit of bluffing and deduction into the game, but I felt it was a little too Battleship-esque and resulted in a bit too much chaos and frustration. BUT -- some people I've played with absolutely love Heccate. One person even compared it to Cosmic Encounter, in that it totally changes the game for one player in a fun and zany way, and it's fun if you're up for some chaos. The great thing about Santorini, is there are so many god combinations that if you don't like one style, you can simply not play with it!
The Heroes, which again are one-use only, are good to give to more advanced players so that they have to budget their god power. Achilles can have his worker build both before and after moving, just one time per game. Heracles can have both his workers build any number of domes -- even zero -- at any level, again just once per game. Odysseus can force to an unoccupied corner space any number of the opponent workers that neighbor his workers. I generally don't play with Heroes, but they can work well with a big skill imbalance between players, or add some more decisionmaking as to when you can use a god power when not playing with the Golden Fleece expansion.
The game clearly indicates which gods can be used in the Golden Fleece mode, which is my preferred mode of play. If there's any real downside to this game -- which also applied to the original -- it's that planning out your moves can be tricky and brain-burning. You might want to introduce an hourglass timer to keep things moving and prevent someone from mapping it all out, but I've found in casual games people generally keep things moving quickly. The light-hearted theme and great-looking components help so much with this.
In conclusion: The best god is the Minotaur, who can push other workers out of the way. No debating this one! Poseidon is overpowered -- just too strong there I think. The rest seem great.
Raise the stakes in your game of Santorini with the golden fleece expansion pack filled with new gaming possibilities, the expansion pack adds significantly more playability to this already exciting strategy game players begin when they choose a god to be represented by the golden fleece. Once a god is selected and the golden fleece makes its way onto the board, things get interesting. The golden fleece has the power to grant builders in neighboring spaces the power of the god they represent. With 15 new god abilities, 10 new hero cards, extra builders and god power tokens, who knows what will happen? To complete the island surrounding Santorini, this set also includes the gorgeous ocean board. Ascend to heavenly heights with the Santorini golden fleece expansion pack.