Azul: Game Review

Text reads: Azul Game Review over multicolored tiles
Overview
Azul, a game by Michael Kiesling and published through Plan B Games, was a great find! I suppose I could just end the review there, but that doesn’t seem entirely fair. Azul is a tile placement game, based on azulejos (ceramic tiles) that you can find all over Portugal. The game takes between 30 to 45 minutes to play on average and is designed to be enjoyed by 2 to 4 players aged 8 or higher (although experienced board gamers of a younger age could certainly join in this one). The resin tiles are beautiful, and the game cards are sturdy. I particularly enjoyed the linen bag that comes in the box to hold all of the tiles!

Pictured: A blue and white checkerboard Azul linen bag with multi-colored tile pieces spilling out of it.

Ease of Set Up and Play
Players each receive a board with patterns and a score tracker on them. Players use a score marker as they place the patterned tiles on the card. The game ends when at least one player has completed at least one horizontal line of five consecutive tiles. The game is easy to set up and clearly outlines how many tiles will be placed on the table for each number of players. While it did take me some time playing to pick up, the rules are straightforward and clear.

Pictured: a colorful Azul player card, with some tiles placed atop the card and filled in.

Replayability

I have personally gotten a lot of replay value out of Azul, in particular due to the solo play mode. Many games I have experienced offer a solo option, but it just isn’t as satisfying as playing with a group at the table. Azul does not have this problem and I really enjoyed what it had to offer, both as a group and solo.

Artwork
I loved the bright colors and tile patterns, but I don’t understand why only 3 out of the 5 tile types had a pattern. If all 5 tiles had the pattern, it could make the game more accessible for those experiencing colorblindness. More-so, if the tiles and player cards were textured, those who are Blind or hard of seeing could play the game as well. I hope future additions take this into consideration.The five different Azul tiles. Each features a vibrant primary color and all but two also display an ornate pattern.

Enjoyment Level
The beauty of Azul is in the intricate designs of the tiles and level of detail on the player cards. The colors and geometric designs are fantastic and have inspired a whole mess of fan art on the internet! 

Our family enjoyed our time playing Azul, admittedly some of us (me) more than others. It can be challenging to balance who is looking for a rambunctious game night and who wants a quiet night in. That said, this game has been brought out on multiple occasions with all kinds of players at the table. Personally, it has my seal of approval.Pictured: Five ornate circular tile Supplier Spots with four randomly placed tile pieces on each. 

 

Overall
While playing Azul I experienced something I don’t think I have ever fully felt during a board game— complete relaxation. It was a game where I didn’t have to think too hard about what my opponents were doing while playing as a group, and I also really enjoyed the solo player variation of the rules. I began picking it up when I just wanted to zone out on something, even if other people weren’t playing with me. For me, Azul was a unique gaming experience and I am so happy the artwork drew me into this creation! I look forward to playing the expansions in the future. 

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