Review: Sagrada

In Sagrada, you have been given the task of forging the most beautiful stained glass window for the Sagrada Familia.

Publisher

Floodgate Games

30
minutes

€40
cost

1-4
players

Game explanation

The Sagrada Familia is a cathedral in Barcelona from which the first stone was laid in 1882. Since then, the cathedral is constantly being built and is still not finished. In the Sagrada boardgame, you are an artist and have been given the task of creating the most beautiful stained glass window for the Sagrada Familia. Your stained glass window is made with the dice, each of which has a specific color and shade. Will you forge the most beautiful stained glass window and help to finally finish the Sagrada Familia?

The goal of the game is to score as many points as possible using your player board and the various goal cards. There are a number of rules associated with the placement of dice in your glass window. You are not allowed to have the same color or number adjacent to each other. This makes it increasingly difficult to place the dice correctly.

The game begins with a little bit of set-up. The first thing you do is pick the pattern cards. There are 4 different levels of difficulty. You are given 2 window pattern cards of which you may choose 1. You slide these cards in your Sagrada. Next, each player is given favor tokens based on the difficulty of the pattern card used. After this, you get a private objective card with a certain color on it, this color is worth extra points at the end of the game. Finally, place 3 shared objective cards and 3 tool cards face up on the table.

Besides the fact that you may not place dice of the same color and value next to each other, there are shared objective cards that you must take into account to score points. For example, an objective card could be to have all different colors in one row. This sounds easy, but in combination with 2 more objective cards and the placement rules, this is quite tricky.

After setting up the game, determine a starting player. The starting player may then take dice equal to 2 times the number of players plus 1 from the bag. So with 2 players this is 5 dice. These dice are then thrown in the middle, after which the starting player may take the first die and place it in his glass window. The first die of the game can only be placed on the sides or corners, you can obviously not start in the middle when making a window. Then you take turns taking a die until everyone has had 2 turns. If all goes well, 1 die remains, or if someone couldn't get a die, several remain. This remaining die is placed on the round track to keep track of the rounds. In the next round, you switch starting players and perform the same actions over and over again. This continues until round 10, after which you can fill up your glass window.

If you are unable to place a die, you have the option of using tools. These are paid for with favor tokens. The first time a tool is used it costs 1 token, but each time after that it costs 2. A tool can be, for example, that you can re-roll a rolled die, or that you can move 2 dice in your window. By using these tools cleverly, you may end up being able to place a die you actually couldn't place!

After playing the 10 rounds and filling your glass window you add up all the points. For your private objective card, you get points for the summed value of all dice in that color. For the shared objective cards, you always get points for each set that meets that condition. For example, you get points per row of different dice (provided you have that shared objective card). The points you get are different for each objective card. If you have any favor tokens left, you get 1 point per favor token and if you have empty spaces you get a minus points. The player with the most victory points wins the game and may place his stained glass window in the Sagrada Familia!

Our thoughts

How surprised we are by Sagrada! We were hesitant to purchase this game for a very long time because the reviews we read were very different. Some thought it was not that good and some thought it was amazing. This hesitation turned out to be a big mistake. After finding out the (easy) rules we immediately played several games because we liked it so much.

The game looks beautiful. The dice are semi-transparent and fit nicely into your church. It really does look a bit like a stained glass window at the end. The only downside to the dice is that they have rounded corners which makes them roll easily if you accidentally knock them. This happens to us regularly and then we can't quite remember what value it had. Since we always like to stick to the rules this can be very annoying. 

This game turned out to have a perfect length and mechanics for us. We like the fact that turns are quick so you never have a dull moment. You notice that the game is relatively simple at the beginning and everyone can easily place dice, but towards the end the real thinking starts. You really have to think about where you put which dice. It could just be that due to a wrong placement, your plan later goes haywire. The downside of this is that you need a lot of luck with the dice at the end. For example, if you need another red and no red is taken from the bag, you're just out of luck. We also like that little bit of luck in the game, and the trick is to anticipate it.

Sagrada is really a game we can play several times in one evening. This is because it has a high replayability due to all the different combinations of objective, tool and pattern cards. Every game you have to take something else into account. Because of this replayability, we haven't had the need for an expansion yet (although this will probably come anyway). The game is very easy to introduce to new players. We have already taken it home to our parents and they enjoyed it a lot.

If you are like us and love an abstract puzzle game with a beautiful theme then this game is really for you. You can play this game at any time and even play it multiple times in a row. Here, Sagrada definitely belongs to the list of our favorite games!

Playing with 2 players

Sagrada plays perfectly with 2 players. With a multi-player game, your supply of dice is somewhat larger, which of course increases the chance that you will find the right die. With 2 people, your turn is just a bit faster which sets the pace a bit higher, especially towards the end (when everyone is taking more time to think), but with more people the pace was definitely high enough and it remained fun. This game doesn't change much when you play with more or less players.

Pros and cons

+ Fast-paced
+ Pretty components
+ Simple but challenging
+ Fun with any number of players

– Dice get knocked over easily
– The real thinking starts at the end
- Relatively high luck factor