There are numerous expansions for Sagrada, now. At a glance, it’s tricky to know which one offers what! The Sagrada base game is about building a stained glass window for the Sagrada Família. (Click here to read Zatu’s review of it.) Then there’s the 5-6 Player Expansion, also published by Floodgate Games. As well as scaling Sagrada up for more players, it also offers extra modules like the Private Dice Pools. (Click here to read my review for that, too!)
What’re The Great Facades all about, then? They’re a trilogy of small-box expansions – Passion (2019), Life (2020) and Glory (planned release in 2021). Each may be small, but their contents are mighty. They contain modules that you can add to the base game of Sagrada. You can also combine them with the modules you get in the 5-6 Player Expansion. Passion is a 1-4 player game, though. (You could combine it with the Private Dice Pools in 5-6P Exp., but you’d have to cap it at four players.)
Feeling inspired? Got a passion for drafting dice? Lusting after the wonderful crunch of tackling a Spanish spacial puzzle? Let’s see if Sagrada: Passion is smashing, or if it’s all a facade…
The Passion Of The Dice
Passion comes in a small box. (Ooh-err; stop it, that’s not an innuendo! It represents artisanal passion.) The edges have the same glorious artwork as the base game, but with a green and purple hue. When sat on your board game #shelfie, it looks like a stunning stained glass window, itself! If shelf space is of a premium in your house though, the contents in here fit into the base game box.
Inside, there’s six new Public Objective cards and seven new Private Objective cards. Inspiration cards are new; there’s six of those. Last of all, there are six ‘Rare Glass’ dice, along with six Rare Glass boards. The Rare Glass dice offer a fresh new direction to Sagrada. It’s time to take your old strategy out for a spin in a new set of wheels…
The Way A Pawnbroker Stares At A Diamond
The Rare Glass dice are the same size as the regular D6s in Sagrada. If they were on a Dulux paint colour chart, they’d called ‘British Sky Grey’, or ‘Foggy Light Bulb Grey’. But what’s that glistening and gleaming, within? Is that… could it be… glitter?
Minuscule flecks of green shimmer inside each dice. They catch the light for a split-second, like sun rays beaming through shards of glass. I caught myself admiring one close-up, the way a pawnbroker stares at a diamond. They’ve got the beautiful depth of a nebula. They’re divas, demanding the spotlight, craving the centre of attention. They’re rare. There’s only six of them.
They’re not actual glass. They represent a rare type of glass that features as the pièce de résistance in your window. They're also classified as a unique colour of die – so not matching any of the regular colours. You can place a Rare Glass die next to any colour and it be legal. The shade (pip value) still remains, though. You still can’t place, say, two sixes next to each other.
The new Private Objectives all revolve around the Rare Glass dice. It’s a major method for scoring end-game points. How do you get your mitts on these rare glittery globules, then?
Favour Tokens Increase In Value
Passion provides six different Rare Glass boards. You pick one as a communal board for the game. They look like miniature windows, themselves. You roll one Rare Glass die and place it on this board. Each has a unique requirement for obtaining the die. This involves spending a quota of Favour Tokens.
You remember Favour Tokens, right? You earn a stated amount at the start of the game, depending on the ‘difficulty’ of your window’s layout. With these Rare Glass dice in play, should you pick a tougher window so you gain more Favour Tokens? I’d argue that it’s essential since you’ll need to spend some to claim such a die. Does this limit your decisions with regards to picking an easy window, then?
I’d say yes, and no. Yes: because fail to get that Rare Glass die and your chances of winning decrease. No: because this expansion for Sagrada has the capacity to be a tougher challenge than the base game. Therefore, I’d assume you’ve played Sagrada before; Passion isn’t your first stained glass rodeo. And if that’s the case, then you might revel in taking on a challenge. You eat harder windows for breakfast (ouch). And with a harder window, you gain extra Favour Tokens.
On your turn, instead of drafting a die from the pool, you can ‘buy’ the Rare Glass die, instead. (So you can still only draft two dice per round. This isn’t stated as crystal clear as it should be in the rules. But Floodgate Games have clarified this in a Board Game Geek forum!)
Rare Glass: Rationed Passion
Five of the six Rare Glass Boards have a space for one die to sit on them. (The sixth one has three spaces.) You can claim the die on the board at any time on your turn. Players can only draft one Rare Glass die per game, so it’s a matter of timing. In particular, the pip value. But in some cases, the cost of the Rare Glass die, itself…
If the die appeals, you can pay the stated Favour Tokens, and take the die. Then you reroll another Rare Glass die and place that on the Board. It’s now of no interest to you of course, but it is to your opponents (who haven’t claimed one, yet).
One board is a bog-standard ‘pay Two Favour Tokens; place the die in your window’ affair. (Not exciting, but appropriate for beginners.) The rest of them have costs that are circumstantial to the gameplay:
- Pay two Favour Tokens. Then roll a random die from the bag. If the outcome is the same pip value as the Rare Glass die, hooray! You may change the pip value to any number of your choice.
- Pay two Favour Tokens. Move any one die in your window (still adhering to colour and number restrictions). Then place this Rare Glass die in that previous spot.
- To take the die on this board, pay as many Favour Tokens as you have vacant spaces in the four corners of your window.
- To take the die on this board, pay as many Favour Tokens as you have vacant spaces on the top row of your window.
The sixth board has three spaces on it, so holds three Rare Glass dice. To take one, you pay Favour Tokens based on the number of dice present. (If all three dice, pay two tokens; if only two dice remain, pay one token; if there’s one die left on it, you get it for free!) If playing a four-player game, you only add more dice to this board once it’s empty. This board offers early birds the chance for greater flexibility among the dice pips but at a cost. Risk it and leave it late, and you could get a bargain. But is it the pip value you want?
New Private Ways To Score
The seven new Private Objective cards offer differing ways to score points in accordance to your Rare Glass die. One, for example, scores the pip value of the row in which it sits. Another three score pip values in differing patterns. The remaining score three 3-4 points per die that matches the stated pattern.
These offer brain-busting challenges, but some of them have clumsy phrasing. Again, conversations on Passion’ Board Game Geek forum, querying these. To Floodgate Games’ credit, they have answered these (not every publisher does this). But the problem lies in that I – and others, it seems – still had to put the game on pause to check. I did some quick maths to work out that some cards should have used an ‘and’ instead of an ‘or’ in places. That way, each card has the potential to score maximums of at least 28 points. That is, of course, down to the luck of the dice, though!
Your Personal Form Of Inspiration
One way to help you achieve your Private Objective has always been the variety of Tool cards. There’s none in this expansion, but instead, Passion provides six Inspiration cards. These are like personal Tool cards, with one getting dealt out to each player. Most involve paying Favour Tokens; again, like you would with the Tool cards. The difference is here that you alone can use it. There’s no rush to be the first to activate it for the cheapest amount of tokens!
These are further ways to mitigate unlucky die rolls. ‘Resourcefulness’ lets you trade a die from the pool with one from a previous round on the Round Track. ‘Foresight’ lets you draft a die and place it on that Inspiration card. You don’t have to place it in your window right now (so you can nab it early in advance, for a later turn). ‘Courage’ lets you break a colour or number restriction when placing. This feels powerful, especially towards the end of the game. Often you’re reliant on specific colours and/or numbers to crop up in round ten! But with Courage, you can spend a Favour Token to get out of a tight spot.
‘Luck’ lets you reroll one drafted die per round. If you can’t then place the die’s new pip value, tough luck! ‘Wisdom’ hits you with an initial sacrifice of starting with one less Favour Token. But for the rest of the game, all Tool cards cost one token, regardless. ‘Influence’ is one-time use of you claiming three Favour Tokens from a Tool card. So with that in your arsenal, chances are you’ll be frequenting the Tool cards more often. They all feel of equal usefulness – but some feel ‘cooler’ than others.
Mirrored Windows For The Win, Yo
Passion wouldn’t be a true Sagrada expansion if it didn’t include more Public Objective cards! Sure enough, there are six new scoring arrangement opportunities here. Four of them are to do with creating a symmetrical pattern of sorts, in your window. Some are to do with getting the same colours or shades in a ‘mirror’.
There are another two objectives that work on having a balanced window. This means having pairs of dice of either matching colour of shade in both the top and bottom half. Another rewards your largest region of same-colour dice in a diagonal pattern. The last offers points for ‘entwined’ dice, so two pairs of dice, in a 2x2 grid.
You could of course mix and match these in with the Public Objectives you get in base-Sagrada. I do enjoy the mirrored scoring though. They present an aesthetically pleasing window!
Final Thoughts on… Sagrada: The Great Facades – Passion
Sagrada on its own is a great dice drafting, spacial puzzle game. I’d class it as a gateway-plus. The expansions launch it up into a far more complex experience. This is not for beginners. Throw a newbie into Sagrada plus Passion, and they could tie themselves up in knots. Go easy on them! This is a great expansion for those that know Sagrada, though. The replayability skyrockets again, with these modules. You can further tailor your Sagrada experience with Passion, to create the kind of game you love most.
The biggest strategical drive comes with the Rare Glass dice. I found that often it’s safer to bite the bullet and buy one early, rather than later. If you invest in the first few rounds, then you can spend the rest of the game building around it. Leave it too long and you might even fall foul of a case of ‘Can I even place this die?’
As mentioned, some of the cards don’t have the clearest phrasing on them. To avoid confusion – and irritation! – it’s best to check out the forums on Board Game Geek before you play. This was my main bugbear with Passion. I was also disappointed with the slight mis-advertising when it states 1-4 players on the box. The solo mode seems a non-starter. You need Favour Tokens to buy Rare Glass, and the solo mode (in the original) states Favour Tokens aren’t used in the solo experience. You could play solo with the new Public Objectives, though. This did leave me feeling like an opportunity missed.
These annoyances get counter-balanced by the gratifying multiplayer options Passion boasts. It provides more of the same: unique intricate puzzles to solve that will appeal to fans of the base game. Designer Adrian Adamescu and Daryl Andrews know their formula works, and have stuck to it. As a result, I wouldn’t say Passion reinvents Sagrada in a monumental shift. It’s more of an advanced module if you want the tl:dr elevator pitch. If pushed, I’d say I prefer the modules and player decisions in Passion over those in the 5-6 Player Expansion. But do your tastes differ to mine? Only you know the answer to that…