Azul has to be one of the most beautiful games in my collection. The little tiles and their patterns just look so nice sitting on the table, then arranged on your board.
Yes, I realize they also look a lot like fancy Starburst candies, but don’t eat them! You’ll want every piece to get the best score!
In Azul, you are creating a mosaic and need to collect tiles from the factories to complete the pattern on your wall (gameboard). You get points for each time you lay a tile, what tiles it is adjacent to and, at the end of the game, some patterns will give you bonus points. The game ends when someone completes an entire row of tiles – but that doesn’t mean they have won. Rushing will gain you nothing in Azul. You need to take your time to collect points by arranging your tiles across the board.
There’s something very satisfying about feeling the tiles pieces in your hand, they have a nice weight to them and they are a size that just fits perfectly in your palm.
The scoring on Azul is probably the most head-scratching part for new players, as tiles that touch other tiles already on the board earn additional points (there is a reason that scoring section goes up to 100 points). You calculate your tile placement score at the end of each round and then once the game has ended, you add on any additional scoring targets you have achieved, like a completed diagonal pattern across the board.
(For more comprehensive overview of the rules and gameplay, check out this Dicebreaker piece or the video at the end of the post)
This was one of the first modern board games I added to my collection (it was actually my birthday present 2020 from my Mom, our final outing before the stay-home order went into effect) and I think it is really accessible for new players. I was able to read the rules and start playing pretty quickly.
While you can play on the offensive and try to mess with other players, it doesn’t gain you a whole lot. Azul is meant to be a chill game that you play while sipping your cup of tea or hot cocoa or a nice glass of wine and hang out with your partner or friends.