FTW Staff Picks - Sagrada

For The Win Board Game Cafe's Staff Picks is a weekly series where we take a quick look at some of the staff's favourite games, old and new. 

Sagrada

Genre: Abstract

Designer: Adrian Adamescu & Daryl Andrews

Player Size: 1 to 4 Players

Game Length: 30 to 45 minutes

For fans of: Azul, Kingdomino, Blueprints

If you’ve ever had the chance to visit Barcelona you’re likely familiar with Gaudi and his soon-to-be-completed masterpiece the Sagrada Familia. A church that has been under construction and conceptualized for over 130 years at this point. You don’t have to be a religious person to appreciate the beauty of the Sagrada Familia, and having the opportunity to witness its stained-glass glow from within is an ethereal experience. Sagrada takes the idea of building these colourful windows and turns it into a dice-drafting, abstract game. It’s an inspired choice that is backed by its great design.

In Sagrada, players compete to complete their very own stained-glass window using colourful dice in order to be the highest scoring artisan. Each player begins the game with 4 Window Pattern options and 1 Private Objective card. The game takes place over the course of 10 rounds, and 3 Tool Cards and 3 Public Objective Cards are revealed. Each round the players make take 2 turns to either draft a die and place it into their window, or spend Favour Tokens to utilize one of the 3 Tool Cards. Drafted dice must follow placement rules put in place by the Window Pattern. In addition, dice must be placed adjacent (orthogonally or diagonally) to another die in the window, and any orthogonally-adjacent dice cannot be the same colour or number as the placed die. At the end of Round 10, players tally up points earned from Public Objectives, Private Objectives and deduct a point for every unfilled space in their window. The player with the most points is declared the winner of the game!

Sagrada is a little bit Blueprints, a little bit Azul, and a whole lot of diversity. What I love about Sagrada is that the varying Objectives and Tools make for completely different experiences from game-to-game. Azul is great, but it’s the kind of game that can feel a little repetitive after a few plays. Sagrada ‘s objectives are mostly public knowledge, and players can watch as their opponents build their windows. This allows for hate-drafting and a good sense of interactivity for a game that is about building your own personal window. It’s pretty much the game I wished Blueprints was when I first played it.

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Many comparisons have been drawn between Azul and Sagrada from a thematic and gameplay standpoint. It feels like these comparisons are mostly a result of the two games coming out around the same time, because to be honest I don’t feel like they directly compete against one another. And Azul got most of the attention due to its Spiel des Jahres hype-train, but that doesn’t mean it’s a better game than Sagrada. I was initially worried that playing Sagrada would feel like a watered-down Azul coming from the impressions I had been reading. But after playing the game, it was a good reminder that all games are worth trying despite what people may have to say about them online. I am very fond of Sagrada, but don’t take my word for it. Visit us at FTW and try it for yourself!

Earl OliverosComment