Accessibility TL;DR. As a colorblind gamer, Sagrada was impossible for me to play out of the box without accessibility add-ons and assistance from other players.
Introduction and Overview
Sagrada is a basic dice placement game with a stained glass window theme. Each player builds a window by building up a grid of dice on their player board. Each board has some restrictions on which color or value of the die can be placed there. If you haven’t played, here are video reviews.
Regarding colorblind accessibility, 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.” Other colorblind gamers’ experiences will vary.
The game board itself was equally tricky, especially for blue and purple. In general, I found it difficult to play.
Accessibility Support Tools and Approach
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 (co-owner of Cole Street Game Vault) 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 changed my Sagrada experience from unplayable to playable. Thanks, Chad!!
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 friendly local game store, 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 for support regarding my personal board in 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.
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.
I managed to play Sagrada 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.
During a Kickstarter campaign for a new game, Sagrada Artisans, the publisher shared an important update: A Note on Visual Accessibility. In it, they shared several options they are considering for color vision accessibility – both for this new game, AND for future printings of the original Sagrada.
Image credits. Top 2 and last image: Floodgate Games. Others: Brian Chandler
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