Full disclosure: A review copy of Sagrada: 5 & 6 Player Expansion was provided by Floodgate Games.
Expansions remain a dangerous game, for me — I haven’t had a lot of opportunities to cover them (though I have several), because they’re often a mixed bag; not in terms of quality, mind you, but rather they are difficult to review in my normal style. Deception: Murder in Hong Kong, for instance, has a fantastic expansion, but it’s difficult to review because it offers mostly new cards (and it’s a content expansion, not entirely a mechanical expansion). Even in mechanical expansions, like Dokmus‘s Return of Erefel expansion, the new mechanics require a fair bit of familiarity with the base game, so it’s hard to play them with multiple groups (since you have to have them grapple with the base game before they’re ready for the expansions). Sagrada‘s latest expansion, however, is mechanical, sure, but most of the mechanism is around supporting an expanded player count, so let’s see how that shakes out.
Let’s go back to the Sagrada Familia, a cathedral that’s … always in progress. Build up up up and make some stained glass windows. There are even more people working to build it up than previously, so hopefully you’ll be able to speed things up? It might help that you’ve already kept some dice aside for yourself…
So, the expansion is fairly similar to Sagrada’s setup; there are some differences if you’re playing with the Private Dice Pools (which you probably should use for 5 – 6 players). Primarily, the dice you use changes:
First off, give each player 10 dice (2 of each color), and have them roll the dice and set them in their Private Dice Pools:
You’ll notice that these match each player’s Window:
There are two new ones, so that you can play with up to six people. Now, add the dice to the dice bag:
- 2 players: Use 30 dice (6 of each color)
- 3 players: Use 40 dice (8 of each color)
- 4 players: Use 50 dice (10 of each color)
- 5 players: Use 60 dice (12 of each color)
- 6 players: Use 70 dice (14 of each color); this will be all remaining dice.
If you’re not using the Private Dice Pool, set up your dice bag as follows:
- 2 players: Use 50 dice (10 of each color)
- 3 players: Use 70 dice (14 of each color)
- 4 players: Use 90 dice (18 of each color)
- 5 players: Use 110 dice (22 of each color)
- 6 players: Use 130 dice (26 of each color); this will be all the dice.
Once you’ve done that, set up the remaining game as you would a normal game of Sagrada. You’ll note that there are two new Tool Cards:
And give every player a Private Objective. There are new ones in this game, but you’re welcome to either use only those or shuffle them with the old ones and use a mix:
Lastly, there are six new Window Cards, as well!
As usual, they’re double-sided. Once you’ve set up the game, you’re ready to start!
The expansion does not meaningfully impact gameplay except in one way: Private Dice Pools.
You still will draft dice the same way. If you’re not using Private Dice Pools, take 2X + 1 dice from the bag, each round, where X is the number of players. If you are using Private Dice Pools, only take X + 1 dice from the bag each round.
On your turn, you may do the following actions, in any order (note the change from Sagrada):
- Draft a die and place it in your window.
- Take a die from your Private Dice Pool and place it in your window.
- Use a Tool.
This means that if you’re playing with the Private Dice Pool rules, you’ll only take one turn per round, rather than two, so you’ll only have one shot to use a Tool. If you’re not playing with those, you’ll just play the game as normal.
Also, some Tool Cards refer to a die you’ve drafted or when you draft a die; you cannot use those effects on dice you take from your Private Dice Pool.
Keep playing until the end of the game, and the player with the highest score wins!
Player Count Differences
The major thing you’ll notice is that the game is viable with 5 – 6 players, but in my opinion only when using the Private Dice Pool. Otherwise, it’s just agonizingly slow, as you’re spending a lot of time in the draft. With the Private Dice Pool, players can plan ahead much more than without, so I find that really speeds up the game. Even then, it’s still a bit long for me at 4+, so I’d probably keep to the 2- to 4-player game, which is now 30 minutes or less. That’s super.
Most of my strategy notes here are going to deal with the Private Dice Pool; for regular Sagrada strategy, see my previous review.
- Plan ahead. You can see 10 of the dice you’ll have to place over the course of the game, and you should be able to place all of them. Use them as guaranteed values or colors to avoid having to agonize over what dice to draft, or use the high values to push towards your private objectives; all are great plans. Similarly, you can see what your opponents have going for them, so you may also be able to intuit what they’re looking for.
- Rerolling hopefully works out, but it’s a huge risk. You’re reasonably likely to get at least one of the same values back, so I’d honestly recommend not rolling both dice of the same color (unless you have to); try varying it up a bit more. Hopefully you get good results!
- Swapping a drafted die for a Dice Pool die can occasionally be useful. Sometimes you know you’ll want a certain value in the future, but you can’t play it right now; this is the perfect time to execute the swap. Wait until it’s actually usable and then play it to great effect.
- Make sure you keep track of the dice in your Pool. You don’t want to take a green die from the draft, only to realize that you don’t need another green die because one’s in your Private Dice Pool; that’s not a good look. It’s easy to miss them because they’re slightly out of scope, but you gotta make sure you don’t lose track of what you already have.
- Choose your Window Card knowing that you’re guaranteed two dice of each color. This makes a lot of choices a bit less complex, since you can kind of predict what colors you’ll end up with, in part.
Pros, Mehs, and Cons
- The game is vastly sped up by Private Dice Pools. It’s kind of incredible. When you think about it, it makes sense; you kind of cut the number of player turns in half, but in practice it’s just such a decrease in the length of the game, which is pretty awesome.
- Increasing the player count is usually a good move, as long as it’s optional. I used to be a bit judgmental about 5+-player Dominion (I barely play it at four), but I realized / it was suggested that I consider that many people have a few games in their collection, and making it so that they can play it with more people is pretty usually a good thing. I’m amenable to that, so I’m generally supportive of player count increases.
- The new content is very good, too. The new Windows are neat, the new Tools are fun; really, they are solid augments for the base game.
- In particular, the new Private Objectives are much more interesting. In the base game, you could figure out what another player wanted and then attempt to block them, if you really wanted to; in this, well, there’s always other places they can put the dice, which is fun. It sorta makes that mildly obnoxious technique less valuable.
- The box doesn’t really … fit anywhere. It’s not needed, particularly, either, but it’s just kind of odd. I suppose better that than try to make it the same size as the Sagrada box (with nothing in it, at that point). It just reminds me of the Roll for the Galaxy: Ambition box in that it’s … not really the same size as the base game’s box, so it’s hard to store them near each other.
- It seems like the difficulty of some of the base game’s Window Cards should be adjusted. It’s odd that the ones that require you to get all of one color, for instance, are still rated as difficult when you are already guaranteed two of the dice you need; it’s relatively easy to get the others unless you have atrocious dice luck. Just my two cents.
- It’s odd that there aren’t any new Public Objectives. Would have been a nice thing to add on, since they added new stuff for everything else. Oh well.
Overall: 9.25 / 10
Overall, the hallmark of a good expansion is that I would never play the base game without it, and Sagrada’s first expansion is certainly that. Sure, the box is kind of a weird shape, but what’s in the box really turns the game from a brain-burny 40+ minute game to a reasonably thinky 20 – 40 minute game, which you can kind of just power through at two players, and I really like that. I also really appreciate the new Private Objectives, as they make the game a bit more interesting than the old ones (and I honestly don’t really use the old ones that much, anymore). It’s a bit disappointing that only two new Tools and zero new Public Objectives were added, though; it makes it feel like this was almost a purely mechanical expansion rather than a big content push, and both might have been nice. The extra dice tray, while nice, doesn’t mean much for Kickstarter backers, either, though I suppose now you have two. If you enjoy Sagrada, though, this expansion lets you play it with more players, and if you find that Sagrada runs a bit too long or too intensely for you, well, now you can cut down on both of those and make it a bit more manageable. To me, that makes the expansion fantastic, and I’d highly recommend checking it out!