Beautiful tiles and raving reviews – Azul is a game growing in popularity and familiarity. But is Azul fun? Let’s talk about that.
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When I eat a good hamburger I lick my fingers and think “I can’t wait till my next hamburger.”
And that is how I feel when I play Azul…minus the actual finger licking.
Usually when I end a game of Azul I think “if I had one more turn I could have done this.” Or “I can’t wait until next time, I’m going to try this different strategy.”
And when a game gives you that feeling, you know you’ve got a winner.
Azul is a game for 2-4 players that plays in about 45 minutes.
In Azul you are collecting tiles from a set of center draw piles, called factories. Each factory has 4 tiles. You are able to take all of one color from any factory, with the remaining tiles going to the center. Players are then able to draw from any draw pile, including the newly formed center pile.
This creates interesting choices as you are deciding not only which tiles to take, but at the same time which tiles to make available to another player.
After taking tiles, you will place them on the beige “lines” section of your player board. The round ends once all tiles have been taken. All completed lines are moved over to the player “wall.” Incomplete lines remain as they are for the next round.
The tiles are moved from the lines to their predetermined place on the wall. Points are awarded based off of where you place the tile.
You earn points for each tile adjacent to the one you have just laid. You can see that where and when you place tiles will play a large role in earning many, or just a few points.
Another way to earn points is by completing objectives – having a full vertical or horizontal row completed on the wall, or having all five of a colored tile on the wall.
Final Review – Is Azul Fun?
Azul truly does make me want to play again as soon as the last game has ended. I guess even if I don’t want to immediately play, I’m immediately looking forward to the next game, strategizing and scheming.
Azul lets you make interesting decisions that make you feel clever. There is of course the luck of what tiles are placed on what factory, but you get to choose which tiles you take, which in turn can determine which tiles are available for your neighbors to draw from.
More and more I am appreciative of games that add something unique or elegant. In Azul that is the eye catching tiles.
Rather than cards or cardboard pices, Azul has beautiful tiles. There is something mysteriously satisfying about collecting and laying tiles opposed to something paper or cardboard.
There is something beautiful about a game that can create a challenge for the brain, yet remain simplistic in nature. That is exactly what Azul has accomplished.
It remains a game that your average Joe can learn and play, but it still provides opportunities to push yourself and make decisions that aren’t always “right” or obvious. And that is what makes Azul fun!
Out of obligation I feel that i have to mention a negative. The one downside I can really think of is that the game may be a bit too thinky. For me that is a really good thing, that is what makes Azul so fun! But, for a gateway game, this may be something that some think is too “brainy” or too “thinky.” Other than that one “negative” I think Azul is nearly as spot on as could be.
Pros: Replayability / Decisions / Table Top Presence / Thinky
Cons: Too thinky for a gateway game?
Overall Azul is an “essentials” game, something that if you don’t own, you should have at least tried a few times. There are three versions of Azul. I’d be curious which is your favorite if you’ve tried them. Let me know.