What is this game about?
When someone described Sagrada as "dice sudoku," my curiosity was piqued. And the description turned out to be relatively accurate: Sagrada is a game about building stained glass windows through dice drafting and placement. Whoever scores the most points from his or her window is the winner of the game.
The rules are simple: You can't place dice of the same color or "shade" (pip number) orthagonally adjacent to each other. Specific window patterns chosen at the beginning of the game offer further restrictions that can make building your window more or less challenging, and you can use randomly drawn tools to help mitigate your luck throughout.
Points are earned for meeting public and private objectives that might encourage you to focus on collecting dice of a specific color or to prioritize certain color and number patterns. Points are lost at the end of the game for each unfilled space in your window.
The entire game plays out in ten rounds, and can be finished by experienced players in 15 minutes or less.
How does it play solo?
The solo rules for Sagrada involve playing against a "target score" that is formed by the dice you do not draft in a given round. Each round, you draw four dice from the dice bag and roll them. You will get to choose and place two dice, while the other two go to the score track.
The number of pips on the dice on the score track determine your target score. The points you accumulate from your objectives determine your player score. If there are tools available, you can use a third die from the pool to pay to use one—a strategic choice that simultaneously benefits your gameplay and steals an extra die from the target score.
You can make the solo version of Sagrada more or less difficult by allowing yourself access to more or fewer tools.
Sagrada is a quick, light solo game that is simple to play, but not so simple to win. You feel like you're making progress every round, but in reality it is tough to beat that target score because you have to give up a lot of high-value dice in order to meet objectives and score your own points. You will lose a lot, but you'll also be itching to set the game back up and try again because it plays so quickly and you feel like you were so close this time. I will say that sometimes beating Sagrada solo can seem like an impossible challenge, especially if you're not getting advantageous die rolls. That can detract slightly from the fun.
Thematically, Sagrada does not actually make you feel like you are creating a beautiful stained glass window, but it's definitely engrossing if you like puzzles. Before long you'll find yourself fixated on ideal color and pip number placement. If you don't like to roll dice and fret over where to put them, or if you prefer your games to be played on a grander scale, Sagrada might be less appealing to you.
Do I recommend it?
If you like rolling pretty dice and figuring out how best to arrange them, then yes. Sagrada is worth your time. It's particularly appealing as a quick game to play solo on a work night, or as a simple game to introduce as filler in a gaming group.
Overall Rating: 3 stars
5 - I love it!
4- I really like it.
3 - I like it.
2 - It's okay.
1 - Meh.