A number of my friends traveled to Spain this summer, and I marveled at the pictures they took of the Sagrada Família in Barcelona, with its breathtaking spires and iconic stained-glass windows. It’s a must-see for anyone passing through the city. One of the defining features of the Sagrada Família is the three grand façades, each with their own unique visual style, and artistic and symbolic meanings.
Sagrada, one of my favorite games from Floodgate Games, has taken Antoni Gaudi’s vision of these façades as inspiration for a series of expansions, with the Passion Façade to be the first one represented.
Each of the Great Façade expansions consists of a series of modules that can be added to the base game of Sagrada in any manner of combination, either individually or all together, depending on the gameplay experience that is sought. This review assumes familiarity with the rules and gameplay of Sagrada.
The Inspiration Module provides Inspiration Cards which are dealt out to each player at the beginning of the game. These cards provide variable player powers that can be used per round or once per game, depending on the card that is dealt.
The Rare Glass Module introduces a new type of die, representing rare types of stained glass. The requirements for placing this new type of die are determined by randomly picking a Rare Glass Board, which details these conditions, like paying favor tokens or rerolling the rare glass die. Players can spend a favor token as an action to place a rare glass die, which can ignore color restrictions, but players must choose carefully, as they are only allowed one rare glass die in their window. New private objective cards are added to the deck for players to acquire when playing with this module.
Finally, new public objectives are provided to mix in with the pool of other public objectives, focusing on symmetry in player windows. Points can be earned for having vertical and horizontal symmetry, with respect both to color and shade (number value) of dice. Other objectives focus on repeating patterns such as 2×2 alternating squares and chains of diagonals.
Game Experience with the Expansion:
The Rare Glass Module adds a new wrinkle to the approach players take to crafting their windows. Since they ignore color restrictions on windows and with respect to neighboring dice, they provide a bit of flexibility to players attempting to get their windows to be just right. As the Rare Glass Board replaces one of the tools, it does not add any extra undue cost to players but rather integrates effectively. The new private objectives only add to the replay value and give a twist to the strategies that players need to employ to maximize their score.
As with the 5-6 Player Expansion, the new public objectives are a breath of fresh air and provide excellent new possibilities to the base game of Sagrada, and a new layer of difficulty. If players thought fulfilling the public goals was easy before, the new symmetry objectives turn the brain-burning nature up a few notches. While we enjoyed the Rare Glass module, we found the new player objectives to be the star of the show.
The Inspiration cards, ostensibly added to create even more variety and replay value, are the weakest module of the expansion. In some of our plays, we found that the available tools were simply more powerful and applicable to our strategy that game. It’s not that we don’t want to play with them, or that they are poorly designed, but rather that the Rare Glass and new objectives are so far beyond the Inspiration cards in terms of interest and gameplay enhancement.
Each of the modules in Sagrada Passion is quick to grasp, easy to integrate, and has an impact on making the base game that much better. It is possible to introduce Sagrada to a first-time player, while integrating any of the modules in the Passion expansion, without adding any more effort in rules explanation. The ability to add content, without the need for extraneous rules or major changes to gameplay, is the mark of an effective expansion, and Sagrada: Passion delivers in this regard.
If you have read our reviews previously, you know that Sagrada remains one of my favorite titles, providing satisfying and engaging gameplay whenever it hits the table. If you are a fan of the game, then the Passion expansion, the first in a planned set of three Great Façades, is worth your time and attention.
• Inspiration Card powers can be hit-or-miss, depending on game state.