Colorblind Review: Sagrada

I get by with a little help from my friends. 

Sagrada - Gameplay

Short version: Sagrada was impossible for me to play out of the box without colorblind accessibility add-ons and assistance from other players.

The game: Sagrada is a basic dice placement game with a stained glass window theme. If you haven’t played, read or watch a review, then come back.

The colors: I had the most trouble distinguishing the blue and purple dice. Red and green weren’t as problematic, because in the version I played they were pretty much “Crayola Red” and “Crayola Green.” Of course, your experience will vary.

The game board itself was equally tricky, especially for blue and purple.

Help!: The solutions I used were threefold. First, when choosing a game board I self-limited to one with very few blue or purple squares. Second, my friend Chad (follow him at Cast Iron Game Lab and Twitter) created this add-on that made a huge difference. After each roll we simply sorted the dice by color (elapsed time: 3 seconds) and continued from there. That little piece of paper literally changed my Sagrada experience from unplayable to playable.

sagrada02

Third, I asked other players to remind me what I was looking at on my board. Since I avoided blue and purple at the front end, I didn’t need this help too often. I tried to not purposely avoid those colors during play, but I’m sure I sometimes did so I wouldn’t have to ask for help as often.

After a few friendly games at work, I went “next level” later in the month, playing in a Sagrada tournament at my LFGS, Blue Highway Games. I brought my paper-boxes tool and asked players to support my needs, which they were happy to do. I was a bit more apprehensive to ask about my board throughout each match, but I still requested help as needed.

I did not win the tournament, but I also did not feel out of place. I was proud to participate in a color-based board game event and grateful for the support from the gaming community.

The verdict: Sagrada can be enjoyable with a friendly group of gamers, particularly those who know you and your needs. It could elicit anxiety if you’re uncomfortable sharing your color vision deficiency.  I know sometimes I am.

The fix: This one is a little tricky. Of course, I managed with the dice-color-boxes and help from other players.  If I owned a copy I could change the purple dice’s pips from white to black, write color names on every square, and/or switch blue and purple dice to black and white. These would solve the playability issues, but at the cost of immersion. I think there is an opportunity to design more elegant solutions that support accessible play while maintaining theme.

Image credits. Top: Floodgate Games.  Bottom: Brian Chandler