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Azul Review
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Posted: 2 weeks ago, last updated 10 days ago.

Author: @GeekDadGamer and Rob Prior.

OverviewOverview

Azul is a tile laying collection and sequencing game where you help the king decorate their palace with Portuguese tiles. You aim to gain tiles on your game card that form patterns to score the most points. What makes it unique is it's balance between simplicity and complexity, every tile you take affects the game and so every decision is crucial.

Play involves taking turns to draw tiles from the central tile Factory cards. You either take all matching tiles from one of the Factories and place the others in the centre or take all matching tiles from the centre. These tiles are used to slowly fill up the mosaic on your card.

The strategy you are working on is to fill up a row on your game card with the same tiles. This then grants you one of those tiles to place on your pattern and score points. At the same time you want to avoid surplus tiles as these score negative points.

As play progresses in rounds you slowly fill up your mosaic and score points. You get more points by placing tiles that are adjacent to other tiles so that more complex and connected mosaics later in the game can score highly. The game ends when any player completes a horizontal row of their mosaic. At that point you get bonus points for complete vertical and horizontal rows as well as filling up all of a particular colour in your mosaic.

The result is a highly tactical game where it's all about grabbing the shared tiles at the opportune moment. Seeing your mosaic slowly fill up with beautiful tiles is satisfying, but you also need to think tactically about how to score the most points. Maybe you'll take the tiles you need, or maybe you'll take the tiles an opponent needs. All the while you need to spot the opportunity when the cost to you (from excess tile penalty) is lowest and the cost to your opponent is highest (they need those tiles).

DetailsGame Details

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Release Date: 01/01/2017

Genres: Brain Game, Collecting, Sequencing and Strategy

Accessibility: 26 features

Players: 2-4

 

ListsLists

View our choice of games like Azul. This game is good if you want to:

DurationDuration

Learn to Play: This takes half an hour to learn. The game structure is quite simple but the drafting and scoring of tiles takes a bit of time to get your head round.

The first time you play it can help if you do the following:
  • Go through different examples of each way of scoring points.
  • Go through the different ways you lose points in a round.
  • Highlight the advantage of going first and how you go first next round.
  • Start with the Standard side of the game card where you can play tiles on the mosaic wherever you like, then graduate onto the Expert side of the card after a number of games.

Play Time: This game will take between half an hour and 45 minutes to complete.
 

Play StylePlay Style

You can play with 2 to 4 players in the same room.

 
You can play this game in the following styles:

Age RatingsAge Ratings

Skill Rating

8+ year-olds usually have the required skill to enjoy this game. Younger players need to have good planning and pattern matching skills. They also need to be able to think ahead and not mind if another player takes the tiles they were hoping to get.

Content Rating

We rate this suitable for 3+ years-olds.

CostsCosts

You can purchase the Azul: Crystal Mosaic version that offers a double-sided player board, with new challenges and strategic opportunities. This version also provides a plastic overlay for 4 boards to keep tiles from being accidentally bumped out of place.

AccessibilityAccessibility

Our Azul Accessibility Report documents 26 accessibility features:
The game is good for colour blind players, although the unadorned red and blue tiles may present a problem for those with monochromacy.

For blind players, the red and blue tiles are also a challenge as they are not distinguishable by touch. While it's possible to play with minimal or no sight, because of the complex states of player and shared tiles, the game then presents a considerable memorization challenge. Meeple Like Us review states that "with a supportive table and perhaps some assistive aids and compensations we believe Azul is likely to be broadly playable in this category regardless of extent of visual impairment. We’ll recommend, just, Azul in this category."

The main tiles are of a good size but the scoring cubes are small. Placement is fiddly as you need to position the tiles on the right grid next to each other. Players can verbalise actions, although a system for identifying which of the circular cards tiles should be drawn from will be needed.

Report informed by Meeple Like Us assessment which offers an extended review.

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Board Games Like Azul

Our experts have hand-picked the following board games that offer a similar experience or theme to Azul. These are good alternative games to Azul.

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Taming Gaming Book Written by parents for parents, the database complements the in-depth discussion about video game addiction, violence, spending and online safety in the Taming Gaming book. We are an editorially independent, free resource without adverts that is supported by partnerships.

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