We preview two upcoming Kickstarter games, Sagrada and Windup War.
Welcome to a new edition of Meeple-Sized Reviews. In this edition we preview two upcoming Kickstarter one that launches in September and one that launches in October. First up with have the dice drafting game of Sagrada and then we have the pre-program Simultaneous action game, Windup War.
Sagrada (2-4 players, on Kickstarter Septh 12th from Floodgate Games)
In Sangrada, players build beautiful multi-colored stained glass windows out of transparent colored dice. The dice are rolled and players take their turn drafting colored dice and placing them on their own personal stained glass boards which have 20 spaces to place dice over the course of the game. The trick, however, is that you cannot place the same number (pip number) or color next to each other orthogonally and you must always place a die next to another die already on the board (orthogonally or diagonally). There are also spots on the board that require you to place a certain color or shade (shades are the pip number on the dice. The higher the number, the darker the shade in Sagrada). The game takes place over 10 rounds. At the end of the game, players will look at their personal goals and at the public goals (both set up before the start of the game) and score points accordingly. At the start of the game, players are also given tokens that can be spent on a tool action (to manipulate dice or gameplay, depending on the 3 cards put out at the start of the game) or kept for 1 point each at the end of the game. Players then lose one point for every empty space and the total is their score. Highest score wins.
Sagrada has some pretty neat things going on. The dice drafting works very smoothly and scales nicely, when played as a 2-player game (which all my plays have been). The extra die that is left over is used as a marker to show what round you just finished, which is a nice touch. There is a lot of variability going with the setup, with each player getting a different board (and there are quite a few of them), different personal goals, only two public goals and three tool cards coming out each time. There seems to be a way to handicap in the game, by giving players a harder board (though they do get more tokens to use on tool cards than easier boards). The game is easy to teach but does have some hard choices. It can be easy to paint yourself into a corner with this game, yet that is part of the fun trying to avoid that. My game was a preview copy, so I didn’t get to play with the final component – it does look like they have some cool ideas component wise.
This being a dice game, there is some luck involved, which may be an issue for some – while not at all with others. While this is negated some via drafting as well as tool cards – sometimes luck will still play a role, for example personal goals. I had one game where my opponent’s personal goal was to get as many blue dice on their board as they could, while my personal goal was to place green dice. In that game, despite there being the same amount of colors for each dice – a lot more blues came out (we did not have any tools out this game that would have helped in this issue). This of course resulted in him scoring a lot more points in me when it came to personal goals. This happened in a 2-player game, and I am not sure how much of an issue this would be with more dice coming out with a higher number of players or not. However I will say the games are short enough (and fun enough) that it be very easy to play another game if you feel like this is an issue.
Let’s put aside the clichés for a few sentences. Sagrada is a great game – it is streamlined; very accessible, and it’s extremely easy to teach. It’s not trying to be like any other game, but is truly itself. Sure it may invoke feelings of other games like the puzzle-like feel of Patchwork, the color/number tension of Lost Cities or Battle Line, despite this it really does have its own identity and freshness, yet feels like something that will become a classic game at the same time. Sagrada is one of those games that stays with you, one where you will find yourself thinking about later on in the day or maybe even later in the week after playing. It plays wonderfully as a 2-player game. Not only that, but Sagrada is also beautiful looking, even in its preview form. The cover alone feels like it should be a framed poster in every board gamers home. I would be surprised if this doesn’t become Floodgate Games biggest hit to date. This is a game that you should definitely check out when it hits Kickstarter.
Sagrada is a gateway game you don’t want to miss out on. While gameplay gives the comfortable feel of a classic game, it also feels fresh at the same time. It’s also one of those games that stays with you even when it has been boxed up and put on the game shelf.
Sagrada will be on Kickstarter September 12, 2016.
Windup War (3-6 players, on Kickstarter Oct 17th from Bellweather Games)
Windup War is a pre-program simultaneous action game about toys at war. Players pick 3 of 6 different toy units of their toy faction and want to be the last one standing when all is said and done (i.e. the one not eliminated from the game). Each unit in your faction has its own health and color actions they specialize in. On the start of a round, players pick 5 cards from a pretty big hand of cards and place them facedown. Once everyone is ready – players will turn them over one at time and all actions taken are resolved. If you ever play a color you don’t specialize in, it counts as a block if you got hit. If you do not get hit, it counts as a broken gear. 3 broken gears or lose all 3 of your units (by losing its health) and you are out.
Windup War does a great job not only with its unique theme and cute art, but does a good job at merging both pre-programming and elimination mechanics. The elimination isn’t too bad in this game – players may be interested in watching other players, seeing what strategy or combos they are trying to pull off. However, I will say most of our players eliminated went off and did something else for a few minutes around the house (we previewed this as a family game) until it was time for a new game. The size of the game helps with any table space hogging issues that may have come up if normal or even euro sized cards where used. However the card size has caused a small stir on Social Media. Why? Because it uses the game size that Chris Handy designed and champions with his many Pack O Games line of games. This bothers some as they see it ripping off Chris, while others say how do you rip-off something like a card size. So on this I will let the readers decide, but thought I mention it. One thing though I would like to see added to Windup War is symbols on the action cards, so that if you are color blind or playing in lowlight you can tell the difference between colors (like blue and purple), this is important because the color of the cards you play is important to the gameplay.
I am not sure what I was expecting when it came to Windup War (I did read the rules ahead of time, so I know what the gameplay consisted of), but somewhere along the line the game felt just average to me. I cannot put my finger on anything particular, it doesn’t feel broken and the gameplay seems solid, but it didn’t “wow” me, personally the way I thought it possibly would have. A game, I certainly wouldn’t mind playing if anyone wants to and I would enjoy myself, but I don’t know how often I personally would ask to play it.
That said, I will say the family seem to have a good time with the game, and seem to enjoy their time playing the game. My 14 and 12-year-old daughters, who *gasps* say they don’t like board games (with a few exceptions), actually both found it fun. I will say that my 12-year-old who is the hardest to get to play board games with us, than any of her siblings, seemed to really like Windup War. That right there is a pretty cool positive. My soon to be 11-year-old son (who does like board games) added that he enjoyed the “attacking” aspect of the game, and the whole laying out your battle plan and then seeing what comes of them when you start putting them to action. As far as my older kids go, this game of windup toys going to war was a playfully good time for family game night.
While Windup War didn’t wow me, it went over very well with the kids. If you are looking for a light “war” themed game to play with the kiddos, this very well may be the game you are looking for.
Windup War will be on Kickstarter October 19, 2016.
The Inquisitive Meeple Note: A review copy of the both games was given to The Inquisitive Meeple. Any positive opinions/feedback on the game are our own. They were not solicited by publisher or by the designers.