People in Glass Houses – Sagrada

By Catlord, 21 November 2018


Sagrada is a family game from Floodgate Games. The premise is that you and up to three other players (although there is an expansion for fifth and sixth players) are artisans competing to make the best stained glass window you can.

Resources

      • In the basic core set, Sagrada includes

     

    • 90d6 equally among five colors
    • 4 player boards (and score markers)
    • 12 double sided window layouts
    • 12 Tool cards
    • 10 Public Objective cards
    • 5 Private Objective cards
    • 24 Favor tokens
    • Round Track / Scoreboard
    • Dice bag
    • Favor token bag

As always, plentiful dice are a plus – even if it is the stately d6 – and this addition to the collection contributes to a dream of going Scrooge McDuck in a vault of polyhedrons. A large dice bag is included, but necessary for play and a smaller bag which just seems to be handy for the favor tokens. The favor tokens are akin to clear fishbowl accents. Otherwise there is little to no cross utility unless the player boards can decorate something else.

Mechanics

Each player picks a window layout card, and determines which side to use. Each side has a difficulty in dots from 3-6 which determines the starting number of favor tokens. They then get a private objective, which gives them bonus points at the end based on the values of dice of a certain color. Then three public objectives and three tools are revealed. Public objectives are configurations of the dice that award points at the end of the game. They may be claimed any number of times that your window qualifies. Tools are ways to manipulate the drafted or placed dice to better suit your strategy.

The game is played over ten rounds. Every round, one die is blindly pulled out of the bag as well as two more for every player (e.g. 5 dice for two players). They are then rolled for their values, which is called “drafting”. The first player then takes their turn. In any order, they may take one of the drafted dice (keeping its value), and/or use a tool by spending one of their remaining favor tokens. After that, the next player goes until the last and the turn order starts again in reverse which lets whomever went last go twice consecutively.

Placing a drafted dice has a few requirements. The Window Layout specifies what value or color may fill the square. White squares can have any die or value. The first drafted die must be placed on an edge or corner, and new dice must be placed next to an adjacent existing die. The real challenge is that a drafted die cannot be placed orthogonally (adjacent but not diagonal) to a die of the same color and value.


Tool cards allow you to rearrange or change your dice 

 

Once all turns are done, the round concludes. One of the unused draft dice is placed on the “Round Track” to maintain the countdown. Any other unused dice are discarded. After Round 10, the Round Track is flipped and the scores are tallied.

Solo mode has a few changes. Four dice are drafted each round, there are only two public objectives, the player gets a second private objective, and they may select up to five tools (less tools is more difficult). There are no favor tokens in solo mode, instead there is a colored square on the tool. One of the draft dice matching that color must be placed on the tool to use it. This tool is no longer valid for the rest of the game. Otherwise play is the same. Two turns to a round, ten rounds to a game.

Positive Aspects

The game is light and smooth, with a rule book only four pages long. There are only two actions available in a turn, and they are easy to resolve other than the time you take to think up a strategy. Frankly, this is a must for a “family” genre game.


A completely set up game takes up minimal space

Average play time is listed as a half hour on the box, and it could go even less with experienced players.


Components pack light into a formed mold

Most of the box is unused space, in that there are a couple of deep preformed pockets in a hollow plastic mold. Sagrada’s base components could easily be transferred for the gamer on-the-go or short on shelf space. Plus the components themselves are fairly small. The player boards do a great job of keeping dice in place, but you can just play with the window card to take up half the room if you are particularly nimble. Play area only requires enough space to lay out approximately nine cards and the player boards (plus somewhere to roll), further promoting the concept that the game can be played in a small space.

For a game like this, artwork is a selling point and demand. The thing that inspired this reviewer to pick up the game was an intelligent marketing campaign asking players to show their completed windows on social media. A fellow gamer posted theirs, and the bright and shiny dice beckoned. Well done Floodgate.


Never underestimate games resistant to cat hazards.

Negative Aspects

Color blindness in regards to Sagrada is a low impact item, but a topic that must always be in mind. They were wary enough in color choice to avoid orange – as it could be troublesome with red and yellow. Also, during their Kickstarter, Floodgate included in their FAQ that they did their best to be sensitive to colorblind players, and that ultimately another player with sharper vision was the most valuable asset since only the private objective in this game is secret. Players may be tempted to swap out colors of either dice or pips, which is fairly cheap for a brick of d6 but extra arbitrary cost all the same if you want to play solo.

A major downturn to this game is that it can get bland rather quickly. Once you get past the art and an array of pretty lights, there really isn’t much to the game to offer challenge. Luck of the draw and luck of turn order is mainly what dictates your success as a player. While it is usually seen as a boon to not have direct competition in a family game, beyond taking that die you had your eye on, multiplayer games are just several solo games at the same time.

Unless you are good at keeping numbers in your head or have a very accurate scoring record in a notepad, you can only really guess what your score is.

Lastly, nothing about the game is truly singular. Knowing how this game works, it would take little effort to recreate everything that makes this game run.

Summary


How a finished window may look.

As always the biggest litmus test for reviews: Is it fun?
Honestly, the answer is “For Now”. The handful of games that were played to create this review were fun, but there were diminishing returns by the end. At best, the game is a relaxing way to make art and maybe brag about a high score. At worst, it’s just hoping you draft something good and moving on with your turn.

Sagrada is easy to set up and tear down (offsetting the short play time), is vibrantly colored and nonviolent, and took about ten minutes to learn fresh out of the box with no help. The game is fun but not for long streaks of play, and primarily relies on aesthetic appeal.

Final score: Three buns with half a bun of fidget room for personal taste.


Rating 3 Stars