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Sagrada review

Score : 9

Easy to learn but tough decisions

Lovely dice

Can be a very quiet game with little interaction

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I picked a big handful of dice out of the bag and rolled them. The nine dice displayed a variety of colours and numbers, many of which I could place on my board. The yellow six die stood out for me. This would score me a lot of points, both for my personal mission, and one of the shared goals. However it would mean that I would need a purple four on my last turn. Surely one of nine dice would come out as purple four? I would also not be selecting first next round. How lucky was I feeling?

Sagrada is a dice drafting game based on that most beautiful of buildings in Barcelona, Le Garde la Familia. Specifically the stained glass windows decorating that building. Each player begins with a five by four grid as their window, which they fill with pretty translucent dice. Standard rules dictate that dice of the same colour cannot be placed orthogonally next to each other, nor can dice of the same number be adjacent. Each player board will have further restrictions, for example red squares where only red dice can be placed, or perhaps a numbered square where, you guessed it, only dice of that number can go.

Points are scored depending on the three points cards randomly selected for that game. You will be awarded points for every set of three and four dice for example, or for having a row of dice of all different colours. Each player also gets a secret personal mission, where they score points for the value of dice of a certain colour.

Turns begin with the first player drawing a number of dice from a cloth bag (two dice per player plus one) and rolling them. Players then draft two dice each, with each player picking one, and then the order reversing, so the last player will pick his first die last but get first choice of the second die.

At the start the placement is fairly easy, but as spaces get filled, it narrows the range of dice that can be placed in certain squares. All is not lost though as there are three tools available, randomly selected from a bigger selection. These allow you one use powers such as flipping a die, moving dice around or redrafting but cost you tool tokens. The first to use it gets it cheaper, and you have a limited amount of tool tokens, with the more complicated window boards earning you more starting tokens.

Sagrada is a game that we really like. It has straightforward rules, is pretty to look at and a limited choice of actions. Despite that, that choice of which dice to take (or when to use a tool) makes for some really tough choices. Smart players can plan ahead and work out the placement that leaves them the most available options in future turns, but you are still partly reliant on how the dice fall and which other plays draft. What starts as a fun, relaxed experience gradually turns into a complex puzzle as the available spots and options narrow and it becomes a bit of a brain burner. 

It is one of those games that really appeals to everyone, including those new to gaming but is an interesting game for all levels and is certainly one of our gateway games of choice. It even has a solo mode. So, why are we not giving it a ten? The only criticism we have, but a reasonably important one, is that it can feel a lot like playing solitaire (or suduko), especially later in the game. Yes there is interaction as people are paying as much attention to grabbing dice that you need as they are to their own needs, but as the game progresses, almost all the attention focuses on the own player boards and working out the implications of the available dice and turns become slightly longer.

This is often compared to Azul, another abstract game and personally, we slightly prefer Azul but this is very much a matter of opinion as this is a great game, and we believe there is definitely room in some collections for both. 

Publisher: Floodgate Games

Designer: Adrian AdamescuDaryl Andrews

Number of players: 1 - 4


Play Time: 30-45 mins

RRP: £36.99

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