Is it a rainbow? The northern lights? No, it’s sunlight shining through the exquisite stained-glass windows of Sagrada Basilica.
For our geography and history lovers, the real Basilica de la Sagrada Familia is located in Barcelona, Spain. The first brick of its foundation dates back to 1882, and the newest from 2022. In fact, this astonishing marvel is constantly expanding in greatness and architecture as we speak.
In Sagrada, you’ll be one of four artisans hired to complete a spectacular stained glass window for the basilica. Work diligently, you only have an hour to craft this marvelous creation before the game ends and your work is judged for points. Read our full Sagrada board game review below.
Brief Overview of Sagrada
Sagrada is a pattern-collecting, dice-rolling game that tasks players to build a stained glass window according to tricky placement rules. Each player fills the role of a creative artisan with challenging building codes that must be abided by.
It takes roughly 30 minutes to 50 minutes to carefully construct these stained glass pieces of art. You can play by yourself in the solo mode variation, or compete with up to 4 players.
Match your dice selection to the window pattern framework to secure bonuses and victory points. Since an artist’s work is never done, you’ll be constantly drafting dice to fully complete your stained glass project within the allotted ten rounds.
This game comes with the following components:
- 4 Window Frame Player Boards
- 1 Double-sided Track: Round Track (front)/Score Track (back)
- 4 Score Markers
- 12 Window Pattern Cards
- 12 Tool Cards
- 10 Public Objective Cards
- 5 Private Objective Cards
- 24 Favor Tokens
- 1 Small Drawstring Favor Token Bag
- 90 Dice (18 dice in 5 colors – red, yellow, green, blue, purple)
- 1 Large Drawstring Dice Bag Embroidered with Sagrada Logo
The first honorable mention is how well the window frame player boards are constructed. They’re absolutely astonishing, each slightly color-coordinated in an attractive way. The player board features a 4×5 square cutout grid that allows a window pattern card to slide in effortlessly. The design is truly excellent in this regard. The cutouts aid in holding the dice in place as you move and upcycle your stained glass designs.
The second wow factor moment is how they made the components all double-sided and extremely useful. The round track doubles as a scoring track for the end of the game. All the score markers have a side for under 50 points, and a reverse side for above 50 points. The developers left no breadcrumbs for confusion.
What’s more, Sagrada is visually impactful and eye-catching. From the boards to the cards, the tokens, and the bags, everything is thematically well planned. The score marker boasts an array of rainbow panels, dazzling in contrast with its stained-glass depictions of dice and scoring. The favor tokens look like little crystal balls and grant you dice-laying magic throughout the game. The cards are doubled sided with art, and diagrams to aid you in your journey.
There are 90 dice included in Sagrada, made from colorful plastic and organized in a felt bag. If you’re getting some deja vu with these components, it’s because this game setup is closely paralleled to the Azul series. Instead of tile-drafting, you’re dice-drafting.
How to Play Sagrada
Sagrada is ranked as a 1.93/5 on BGG’s complexity ranking, so you’ll be able to play with kids younger than the posted age level of 14. As long as your children aren’t in their dice-eating stage of life, they’ll be sure to catch on and be competent opponents.
Before you begin your artisan adventure, set up your playing area according to the number of players. It’s best to consult the rulebook on this. Here are three key takeaways:
- The private objective card that’s dealt to you at the beginning of the game is to be kept hidden from your opponents. Only you shall know the contents of this card.
- When choosing window patterns, each player can choose between four choices (2 double-sided cards). Inspect the corner of the window patterns for dots; this will tell you how difficult your pattern will be to work with. The more dots, the more challenging it will be to complete. However, for every dot on the card, you’ll receive a matching amount of favor tokens to use in the game.
- There are 10 rounds to draft your dice/window pieces.
Turns commence clockwise, starting with the player who has visited a cathedral last. Once all players have taken a turn, the play resumes but in counterclockwise order. On your turn, you’ll choose from one, or both of two actions: Select a die, or use a tool card.
Dice Selection Rules
On your turn, you’ll have the choice to choose one of the multiple dice in the die pool that complements your window pattern. But, there’s a catch! The first die you place must go in the outermost ring of your square pattern. After this movement, all following dice placements must be adjacent to previously laid dice/window fragments (diagonal placements count).
There are white squares on your board that allow you to place dice of any number or color as long as they do not share a bordering side with another dice of the same number/color.
For example, you can’t place a purple 4 die adjacent to a blue 4 die; you can place them diagonally.
If at any time you spot a player making incorrect dice drafts, they must remove piece by piece to the box until their player board meets all the rule requirements. Happy window shattering!
Using Tool Cards
In addition to, or instead of selecting a dice, you may opt for a tool card. Place one of your favor tokens on your tool card of choice and resolve its ability.
If the tool card already has a favor token on it, you must pay two favor tokens to use this ability. This can be a pricey decision if you weren’t dealt many favor tokens to begin with.
Once the turn marker has reached 10, the game is over and it’s time to total points. You’ll earn points based on how many public and private objectives you complete successfully. You can lose points only if you have any open spaces remaining.
The player with the grandest stained glass spectacle, and the most points, wins!
Pros & Cons
- A+ thematics, organization, and components
- Easy to learn, fun to replay
In case I didn’t mention it enough in the unboxing segment, Sagrada gets an A+ all around for its enhanced thematics and beautifully executed theme. Every card, token, board, and pattern is ornately embellished to its maximum stained glass effect.
The gist of the game is easy to understand, and quick to explain. You won’t need to sit and read the rulebook for 20 minutes before you start. Once you play the first turn, everything else flows naturally and the game itself helps you correct any mistakes as you go.
The obvious bonus is its single-player mode. The game plays well whether you go solo, duo, or up to four players. Since the original release, three expansions have come out to add up to six players and boost replayability with fresh objectives.
- Needs more window pattern grids and objectives
These cons are honestly me grasping a bit, but I needed to put something to keep the review unbiased. There are Sagrada expansions, so you can always top up on extra window patterns and new rare dice by snagging one of them.
In terms of the base set, it could use a few more patterns and private objective cards. At the moment, the private objectives are based on the total sum of one color on the windowpane grid, which is why there are only five. Although it needs to be this way to make the game fairly balanced, a supplementary set of more challenging private objectives could add to the replayability.
Versions & Expansions
Sagrada: Life Expansion
- Return to the Sagrada Familia and celebrate life. New Objectives,...
- Return to the famous Sagrada Familia cathedral in Sagrada: Life,...
- Sagrada: Life introduces new challenges to test your artisanal...
Sagrada: Passion Expansion
- Return to the famous Sagrada Familia cathedral in Sagrada:...
- This modular expansion revels in artistic freedom—add...
- Sagrada: Passion introduces new challenges to test your artisanal...
Sagrada: 5-6 Player Expansion
- Number of players: 6
- The package length is 3.606 centimeters
- The package height is 29.21 centimeters
Sagrada: 5-6 Player Expansion, Mixed Colors
- A game of dice drafting and window crafting
- This expansion enhances the Sagrada base game by adding the...
- Includes new private dice pool boards, private objectives and...
Sagrada Review (TL;DR)
Design your window spaces solo or with up to four players in this basic complexity dice rolling and grid covering game. Play against your fellow window artisans to construct the most beautiful stained glass masterpieces as far as the eye can see. Use colorful dice and expert tools of the trade to build a stained glass grid that even Matisse would gawk at.
If you’ve ever played Azul, this is like the slightly trickier version. It’s a drafting game that features elements similar to tile placement, but with the added dice twist. It’s more of a puzzle than a placement game. You’ll have to focus on resource allocation when the dice choices run low.
I get major Sudoku vibes when I play Sagrada, except my brain hurts way less. You’ll have your uncontrollable setbacks as you work towards an objective that becomes unattainable, and sometimes you’ll surprise yourself with the luck of the dice.
Try a playthrough of Sagrada once and then Azul and let us know what you like better! If you’re feeling set on a marathon of grid coverage and drafting, throw Carcassonne and Blueprints in the lineup.
We hope you enjoyed our Sagrada review! This abstract dice and puzzle game has lovely components and makes for a fun family game night any time. Have you tried playing Sagrada before? We’d love to hear your thoughts on this popular game. Drop a comment below and let us know what you think!