Behind the Board: Daryl Andrews and Sagrada: Life

Luke: Hey folks, and welcome back to Behind the Board! This week, we’re joined by Daryl Andrews, who worked on the most recent Sagrada expansion, Sagrada: Life.

Daryl: Thanks for having me!

Luke: My pleasure. So, Daryl, Sagrada has obviously had its fair share of expansions at this point; what elements do you look to include in each?

Daryl: So far, each expansion has explored a different focus, with the goal of providing Sagrada fans fresh modular expansions they can mix-and-match to enhance their playing experience.

Luke: And there are certainly some exciting ones to check out this time around, like the Apprentice cards.

Daryl: Yeah, the Apprentice cards were a part of our original idea for the game. Before we had tool cards, we actually thought of those cards as apprentices that helped you during the game.

In the initial development, Ben Harkins, the owner of Floodgate Games, was wise in re-imagining those as tool cards. However, we still always liked the idea of helpers, so we saved the idea for an expansion.

Luke: And they also introduce “new” boards to play on, right? Well, not new-new; I guess you could call them “re-imagingings” of the first 12 boards.

Daryl: Yeah, Ben usually takes the lead in procedurally generating the boards, so many combinations are possible.

We had designed some new windows with the Apprentice symbols, but Ben thought it would be best to include the symbols on some of the “greatest hits” windows that fans have already indicated they enjoy playing. I would suspect many Sagrada fans will make stickers or draw symbols on their previous windows. Our goal was to try and include symbols on blank spaces to keep them simple.

Luke: And the cards themselves, wow, there are a lot of diverse powers reflected there. How did you folks balance out the various effects they gave?

Daryl: The Apprentice deck has some real diverse abilities, and it did take some time to help balance them to some degree. However, some are strictly better than others, depending on your circumstance. We enjoy the element of excitement this brings to the game. Players can ignore the Apprentice cards, but it might be their downfall.

Luke: Another thing players shouldn’t ignore are those Masterworks dice! What was the inspiration for including these awesome-looking dice?

Daryl: Early in the design of Sagrada we had the idea of the rare glass (clear) dice for the Passion expansion. However, we did not have a good idea for what made Orange dice unique and special.

Funny enough, one of the main reasons we never included the color orange in our original prototype was due to the fact orange dice are harder to find for prototyping. It was not until Adrian and I thought about how we wanted the Masterworks dice to act as a ‘ying to the yang’ of rare dice, that we found a breakthrough. As rare glass dice ignore colors, we wanted the orange dice to ignore numbers.

This gave us a fun new problem; if dice are not about numbers, then what could they be about? In the end, we were proud to think about the Masterworks dice as arrows that function like mini puzzles within your window.

Luke: I can’t imagine that it was easy to figure out a way to clearly communicate that information to players.

Daryl: We did struggle with communicating the faces of the die early on. However, we got to work with Ben and the crazy talented Matt Paquette to find solutions that were intuitive. We tried a few different symbols along the way, but that is why it is important to playtest the user experience with final graphics, and not rush a game to print too soon.

Luke: Moving on, this expansion includes yet more Public Objectives, and they are so cool! How do you all manage to come up with more inventive ways of scoring?

Daryl: This is the benefit of Sagrada reaching success. The fans of the game have given the game enough life, that we can keep dreaming up more clever ideas.

Adrian and I can always think about public goal cards. We can be working on a completely different game, and out of nowhere, one of us might burst out with an idea for a new twist on the public goal cards. We are constantly challenging each other to try and think of Sagrada from a different angle or perspective.

Luke: Looking at the expansion as a whole, what do you feel Sagrada: Life brings to the table that none of the previous content does?

Daryl: We found during testing that people love the Apprentice cards. They give each game many different “highlight” moments that seem to get big positive reactions. I really enjoy watching how people respond to the Apprentice cards.

However, I personally adore the Masterworks dice. I love the puzzle within a puzzle, of trying to fit a directional problem within your board, while still trying to maximize your bigger meta puzzle. Also, I really like how players can gain favor tokens during the game, so it really changes how and when players use the tools.

Luke: That’s awesome to hear! Alright Daryl, before we wrap things up for today, what other content should fans of Sagrada be keeping an eye out for from Floodgate Games?

Daryl: The big news coming down the pipeline for Sagrada fans is the upcoming Sagrada Legacy game Adrian and I have been working on. We teased a picture or two of us playtesting on my Instagram. However, we got our hand slapped to not reveal anything juicy yet. We want to save the excitement for when the timing is right.

We have been working on this game for the last two years and we can’t wait for it to be ready for the world to experience. We are in our final stages of development and hopefully, more news will be coming soon. Meanwhile, just follow Floodgate, and consider supporting their other amazing games!

Luke: Wow, that’s incredibly exciting to hear! I’ll definitely be keeping my eyes peeled for more regarding that.

Daryl, thanks so much for taking the time to talk with me today! And thanks for everyone who took the time to stop in. Let us know if there are any industry folks you’d like to hear from in the future. We’ll see ya’ll again next week!

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