Guest Review: Alexandre Bernard’s Review of Azul

Azul

Reviewed by Alexandre Bernard

Let’s talk about one of the most popular and highly praised games of 2017, and still a leader for 2018! Azul is an abstract game (Abstract games typically have no randomness, play in alternating turns, and don’t have a theme incorporated into the gameplay) about tile collection and placement for 2 to 4 players –

The Game –

It’s simple, you collect a group of tiles, and then you place those tiles where you feel most appropriate. This repeats for each player until there are no more tile groups and the round is over. The gameplay is simple, but the strategic depth comes in with placement, as you need to fill rows on your board during the round in order to be able to use those tiles to score points on the 5 x 5 grid, which can only be populated by specific tiles on each available space. Also, you score bonuses based on the placement and grouping of tiles on the grid. There’s no real mastery of the game since every round you will have different groups of tiles to pick from, and even if you have a good plan of action, other players could be taking the groups you want, so your strategy has to evolve with each turn! The game ends once someone has filled an entire row on the grid.

Pros –

 – Turns are quick and players are constantly involved in the overall game.
 – Its simplicity makes the game easy to teach others within minutes.
 – It has great production value with beautiful components
 – The game is excellent whether you play with 2, 3, or 4 players.
 – This game plays very differently every time because the setup is random, so replayability is abundant, plus there’s an advanced mode on the back side of the player boards.
 – Playtime is quick, so you can get several games in within an hour once you’ve learned the game.

Cons –

 – It’s almost better to have someone teach it to you, or watch a learning video, as the rulebook is a bit more challenging to lear from.
 – Full retail price is a bit high. Amazon price is more reasonable for what you get in the box.

 Audience

Who will want this game – casual gamers who enjoy a quicker game that isn’t overly complex, and gamers who want something light that can be played and explained quickly, possibly with non-gamers or “newbies”.
Who will NOT want this game – Players looking for a “crunchy” game with deep and complex strategies, or someone looking for a rich and elaborate theme. You won’t find that here.

Conclusion

Overall, this game is really a good fit for just about anyone. For those who have become burned out on Splendor, this is the game for you! I enjoy playing this game and it usually comes with us to game night every week, since we know it will get played. I would strongly suggest you get a copy or find someone who has one and give it a go, I’m sure you’ll enjoy it!
This review was written by Alexandre Bernard. Here is his bio, in his own words: I was introduced to the tabletop industry over 7 years ago and never looked back. My wife and I are the organizers of our local boardgame group that’s 100 strong, and we own a game collection of over 1000 games which we use to run our local board game convention, STGCON, along with hosting other community events throughout the year. I strive to continuously learn more about every facet of our industry to help make it more visible to those who have yet to join us in our love of board games.

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