In the midst of Barcelona, already 5 generations of citizens bore witness to the rising beauty of the Sagrada Familia. The construction of “The Church of the Holy Family” – brainchild of Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi in 1883 – will be completed in 2026. Gaudi implemented in his design the keys for understanding the Christian religion, wanting it to be a place of spiritual exchange and harmony. By attracting around 3 million visitors each year, the Sagrada Familia truly became a meeting place and melting pot for people of all backgrounds and faiths.
In 2017 the unmatched beauty of the church’s stained glass windows served as a source of inspiration for Sagrada (The Board Game). Read on and find out whether this game is worth a visit too!
What is Sagrada like?
Sagrada calls itself “a game of dice drafting and window crafting.” Players are artists competing to create the most beautiful stained glass window in the Sagrada Familia. 90 vibrant translucent dice represent the glass pieces needed for the job. They come in 5 different colors and the pips indicate their color shade (1 to 6 – light to dark).
At the beginning of the game players receive 2 double-sided Window Pattern Cards and slide the pattern of their choice into their Window Player Board. Its difficulty level determines how many Favor Tokens each player receives. A Window Pattern consists of blank spots, where any dice can be placed, and spots for dice of a certain color or shade.
Over the course of 10 rounds players draft and allocate dice, starting at an edge of their window and continuing orthogonal or diagonally adjacent. Apart from observing the Window Pattern restrictions, dice of the same color or shade may never be placed orthogonal adjacent to one another. Hence every player’s dice placement options diminish progressively throughout the game. A compelling facet of Sagrada’s puzzle is allocating the drafted dice with careful deliberation, to ensure maximum flexibility for the rounds yet to come.
The second element of this brain-teasing puzzle is finding the most advantageous spot for each die to optimize scoring. Every player holds a Private Objective card that secretly assigns a die color to him / her. Acquired dice of a player’s color are worth their pip value in points at the end of the game. Furthermore, 3 (out of a deck of 10) Public Objectives are on display that grant all players points on row or column combinations. Favor Tokens are also worth 1 point, but simultaneously serve as currency to make use of the 3 (out of a deck of 12) available Tool Cards.
Tools and Favors
By now you’ve probably guessed that Sagrada’s window of opportunity can quickly close on its players. Therefore, on his / her turn, a player may use 1 Tool to manipulate the dice roll and to break the dice placement restrictions. The Tools make a significant increase in tactics and even some long-term strategy possible, but cost a player dearly: 1 Favor Token if the Tool was yet unused; otherwise 2. The Windom Pattern Card with the highest difficulty level grants mere 6 Favor.
The final interesting piece of the puzzle is the player order. Experienced players should keep a close eye on other players’ Window Boards and if the circumstances are right snatch away dice that are useful for the others.
I strongly believe that Sagrada is a great addition to anyone’s board game collection. Abstract games are often difficult to get to the gaming table. It’s also a challenging genre for introducing new people to the board game hobby. Sagrada on the contrary has proven itself captivating, accessible and addictive for a very broad audience. It’s an open, inviting window offering a look at modern board gaming. I’ve played and enjoyed it with my hard core gaming friends, casual gamers and even my mother (she won!). It succeeds in bringing a diverse crowd together at one table. Much as Antoni Gaudi’s basilica, Sagrada (the board game) too is a setting for people of different age and interests to meet and unite.
- Doesn’t look abstract but very tangible instead
- Plays well with all player counts – even solo
- Suitable for many type of gamers.
- The Private Objectives are tedious (why no variety?) and too often decisive when counting scores
The rules of Sagrada can be explained in less than 10 minutes, but already during their first game players will notice there’s more to it than meets the eye. Much like Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia isn’t just meaningless glass and stone, the game designers also added depth to their design. Players of various age and experience will all find beauty and joy in it.
Players: 1 – 4
Playing time: 30 – 45 minutes
Suggested age: 13+