In 1646 BC, the island of Thera (present day Santorini) was the site of a volcanic eruption one hundred times more powerful than Pompeii. This eruption coincided with the decline of the Minoan civilization and the rise of the Mycenaean civilization. Due to Thera's strategic location, the Mycanaean wanax (king) has decided that it is time to rebuild Thera and has tasked you, one of his koreters (governors) with this responsibility. The koreter who best rebuilds Thera to its prior glory will be victorious.
In the role-selection and resource-management game Thera, each player has a map of the island where they will engage in trade, clear ash, generate resources, move those resources to building sites across the island, and construct economic and luxury buildings. On a player's turn, they select one of five roles from the rondel. Every player can benefit from this role, and the one who chose it gets benefits that scale with the amount of favor on the role. Favor accumulates on roles over the course of the game and is redistributed every time a role is chosen. Here's an overview of the five roles:
- The Priestess prays for rain, bringing the life-giving resource to the island.
- The Worker consumes that water and produces resources.
- The Planner moves those resources around Thera so that they can be used for construction or trade.
- The Builder uses those resources to construct buildings on undeveloped sites across the island.
- The Trader buys and sells resources at the port.
Players earn points by constructing buildings. You must get the needed resources to the desired building site, then acquire the building plans (which are available to all from a common building tableau). Should you build another quarry (a resource-generating building), or are you worried one of your competitors will take that temple (a luxury building) that aligns with your strategy? Time is of the essence in Thera, so efficient planning and resource management are important in winning the day.
—description from the publisher