App Reviewed on: iPhone XR
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Sometimes it's hard to bring a board game to the digital world. Part of the beauty of a physical game is being able to see and manipulate all of the possible bits and bobs that comprise the game's mechanics and strategy, and condensing all that onto a single screen can be a challenge. This is a big reason why Dire Wolf Digital's port of dice-drafting game Sagrada is so impressive. Although it's got a few kinks in its multiplayer system, the digital adaptation of Sagrada is arguably more beautiful and elegant than its original form.
Sagrada is a competitive game where players are trying to build the best possible stained glass windows. "Best" in this case involves a few layers of point systems that are randomly shuffled into each game, but the basic premise is simple. Your windows are comprised of colored dice, and you have to place dice on your board so that none of the same color or number are orthagonally adjacent to one another.
The sounds easy enough, but the other trick to Sagrada is that players all draft their dice from a common pool that is re-rolled every round. As a result, you have to be extremely strategic in knowing which dice you should take when it's your turn, both to press your advantage and stop your opponents from executing their strategy.
Roll the dice
This basic gameplay is fun, but would wear thin if that's all there was to it. The random point systems help with this in that they give you bonus points for building your windows in other, different ways. Some of these objectives involve making rows or columns without repeating values or colors, while others simply want you to collect sets of numbers or colors for additional points. In all games of Sagrada, there are three of these objectives that all players can collect points by completing, and then a fourth, secret objective that's unique to each player.
On top of this, players play with different boards each game, which come with their own color/number restricted spaces that you have to plan around. To help give you some control over all of these variables, players also have access to three special powers each game that they can use to manipulate the pool of dice, the rules of board placement, or both. All of these interlocking systems pretty much guarantee that no two games of Sagrada feel alike.
With all of this information that players need to account for, it's surprising how comfortable the game looks and feels on a small screen. The digital adaptation of Sagrada fits everything you need to see cozily on your phone in portrait mode, and looks pretty fantastic. The stained glass effects and aesthetic are especially eye-catching, though they're careful not to ever take away from the legibility of the game.
The only place where Sagrada stumbles a little bit is in its multiplayer mode. Online matches can be tedious and clunky to hop in and out of, plus the game's notification system could be a little more responsive. These seem like issues that could be ironed out in an update or two, so I'm happy to continue playing the single-player campaign mode while I wait for patches to come.
The bottom line
It's a little disappointing that Sagrada's multiplayer mode isn't quite as well refined as the rest of the game's presentation, but that did not stop me from enjoying it. Nearly everything else about Sagrada's digital form is otherwise flawless, making it a great title to add to your digital board game collection.