Welcome to The Game Shelf!

After getting into the board game hobby at the end of 2014, we've decided to share our thoughts on the games we're collecting on our shelves. The collection has certainly expanded over the last few years and we've been making up for lost time!

Sometimes our opinions differ, so Amy will be posting reviews every Tuesday and Fi will post on Thursdays. We hope you enjoy reading some of our opinions on board games - especially those for two players.

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Sunday 19 April 2020

Thoughts from the Yellow Meeple:- Sagrada Digital

Game: Sagrada

Publisher: Floodgate Games

Designer: Adrian Adamescu, Daryl Andrews

Digital Edition By: Direwolf Digital

Year: 2019

Sagrada is a perfect family weight dice drafting game that I've recently been playing in two different ways. Firstly, it's a great game that you can play long distance by Skype, but secondly, Direwolf Digital just released an app implementation on Steam, iOS and Android.

In Sagrada, each player has a 5x4 gird that must be filled using the coloured dice. Each player has a different grid, with certain colour and number requirements for different squares of the grid. You can put anything in the other spaces, so long as no two matching colours or numbers can be orthogonally adjacent. A number of dice are rolled for each of ten rounds and drafted so that each player drafts two per round.

Sagrada Digital has three different modes: Tutorial, Local and Online. Local offers you options to play a Campaign, play against the AI or pass and play locally. In online mode you can either start a password protected game with friends or try to start a game that's open to anyone.

In spite of knowing how to play Sagrada - I started with the Tutorial, since it's worth knowing the controls of a new game as well as just the rules. The tutorial guides you through a full ten round game for two players - you and the AI (named Antonio, for Antonio Gaudi, the architect of the Sagrada Familia). It starts out very structured, telling you where you must place your dice, and when you must use a tool card, but eventually lets you of the rails. It's a very clear tutorial and it's not so slow that it was frustrating for me as an experienced player.

Against the AI, you have lots of choice in terms of the game and difficulty you want to play. You can pick a difficulty from Easy, Medium and Hard, and play with one, two or three AI players. Based on a random personal objective, you get a choice of four window patterns to play with. Fora quick one-off game, I've found the AI to be my only option at the moment. The Sagrada app is very new and perhaps there just aren't enough people playing online yet to get an online game. I've waited up to 15 minutes on a couple of occasions and not managed to get an online game.

The campaign is where I'm choosing to spend most of my time. Each game in the campaign is unique and preset and its a great way to make sure you see all of the game - including all of the tools and objectives. The campaign seems a little bit abstract - I have no idea what I'm working towards, but just the idea of making progress when I play keeps me coming back to play the game again. I'm anticipating, and hoping, that the challenges might get harder as I continue.

Having checked out all of the modes of the app, the universal thing that impresses me is the user interface. It would've been easy to limit the extents of this game to the 5 x 4 grid, but instead you're transported to the inside of a cathedral - with a great way to see all of the elements of the game at once. You also get the chance to customise pretty much everything about your experience. Can't be bothered to watch AI players take their turn? Turn it off. Don't want music? Turn it off? Colorblind? There's a mode for that! This means that I can have the fast solo-like experience I want with the AI, but if you want to hate draft your friends and really watch what they're doing, then that's an option too.

Overall, The implementation of Sagrada here is immaculate. It's only a 5-10 minute game once you've adjusted your settings to make it a fast 2-player game, but it's one of those apps that could become really addictive. Because of it's short playtime, I think it is best suited to be a mobile app - it's not something I would necessarily launch Steam to play a quick game of. On my commute though, I'd love to have Sagrada to play. The campaign mode is keeping me engaged and the difficulty level is high enough to mean that I don't always win, so I  have a reason to return. Sagrada Digital could easily replace the physical game, because it does all of the same things, but right now Sagrada is high on my list of games you can play over Skype so I'm happy to keep playing in the tabletop world too.

You Might Like...
  • This is a very slick implementation - it looks fantastic and works really well.
  • The tutorial can easily each you the game if you have never played and the controls if you need to quickly learn how the app works.
  • The campaign, in particular adds a reason to keep playing and lets you see all of the different powers and scoring options for the game.
You Might Not Like...
  • There don't yet seem to be many players in open online play.
  • Sagrada definitely feels like an app game, for phone or tablet, rather than a game that I'd launch Steam to play.

The Verdict
9/10 Sagrada is a fantastic implementation, especially as an app. It would be perfect for commuters or passing 10 minutes of free time. The interface and look of this digital game is brilliant and it's a great complement to a physical copy of the game - they each make me want to play more of the other.

A Steam code for Sagrada Digital was kindly provided to us by Direwolf Digital.

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