If you think you have a competitive spirit and strategic planning skills, try putting them to the test with The Azul Board game. It’s for players who like a bit of a challenge in their games. If you’re up for it, you must give this game a try with your friends.
In the Azul Board Game, players pick tiles of a particular pattern as they get their turn. The aim is to fill rows on their individual player board. At the end of every round, players transfer their completed rows to their ‘wall.’ Adding tiles and completing rows scores them points. The player with the most points at the end of the game wins.
Created by a German designer, Michael Kieling, the Azul Board Game was released in 2017. It has become increasingly popular in the few years of its launch. The theme or main object of playing the game is to build a wall by laying ceramic tiles. While it may sound like a not-so-exciting task, the game itself is pretty exciting. This is mainly due to the competition it builds among players. The popular award-winning strategy game can include up to 4 players, but it’s not designed to be single-player.
Two to four players can try their skills with the Azul Board Game and can complete one round in about 30 to 45 minutes. In the game, players take the role of tilers that are working on the walls of the Royal Palace of Evora to create a beautifully patterned wall for King Manuel.
Each player gets an individual player board. The two sides of this player board are different for the standard and advanced variants of the game. To play the standard mode, flip your game board to the multi-colored side on the right. It is important that all players use the same side of the board.
The other game equipment is the scoring marker. When starting with the game, place the black cube (scoring marker) on space ‘0’ of your board’s point track. The circular boards are called factories. These should be arranged in a circle in the middle of the table.
You will need five factory displays for two players, seven for three, and all nine for four players. Tile 1, which is the first player marker, should be given to the person who, let’s say, visited Portugal most recently. Or, you can try any other way of choosing who gets the first tile marker.
Now, put the rest of the tiles in a bag. Next, randomly draw 4 tile markers from the bag and place them on each factory display.
Adding tiles and completing rows will score you points. The object of every player in the game is to be the one with the most points at the end of the game. Any round in which a player completes a horizontal line on their wall with 5 consecutive tiles is the last round of the game. The game ends as soon as the round is over.
At the beginning of every round, the player with Tile 1 places the player marker at the center of the table.
The first phase involves players taking turns to pick tiles. They have two options that they can choose from to pick tiles. They can either claim all tiles that are the same color as the tile in the middle of the table. Or all tiles of another color from a factory display.
If a player chooses the latter, they also move all the remaining tiles to the center of the table after picking their tiles. However, if you are the first player to take the tiles from the table center, you should take the first player marker as well and add it at the bottom of your player board, on the leftmost space of your floor line.
Once you have picked your tiles, place them to one of the five pattern lines on your player board. When your pattern line holds tiles already, you can only add same-colored tiles to it. Your pattern line will be considered complete once you fill all the spaces.
If you have more tiles than the space available on the pattern line, you may start placing your tiles on the floor line. This also includes the first player marker. One thing to keep in mind about the floor line is that it is worth negative points. This means that each space filled on it loses you points at the end of the round.
This round is played simultaneously, unlike the first one, where the players took turns. Wall tiling starts from the top to bottom. You do this by placing a same-colored tile to the right of each completed row on the left. With the addition of this tile to your wall, you score 1 point if your tile doesn’t touch the other tiles.
All the tiles from the pattern line that you moved your tile from should be removed and placed in the lid of the game box. The remaining tiles stay in place for the next round.
You will score bonus points if your tile touches any other tiles in the same row or column. A point is added to your score for every connecting tile, including the one you moved. You can now move your score marker accordingly. Remember the negative floor line points at this stage. After you set your score marker, you can remove the tiles from the floor lines and place them in the game-box lid.
Once the tiling is completed, and no player has 5 consecutive tiles on their wall, it is time to prepare for the next round. Whoever has the starting player marker at this point refills factory displays with 4 tiles from the bag.
In case the tiles bag is empty, you can refill it with the tiles in the game box lid. However, if there are no tiles in the lid as well, continue with the next round even if the factories remain unfilled.
Points are scored during the wall tiling phase of each round. However, there are a few conditions for additional scoring. Each horizontal line with 5 consecutive tiles will increase a player’s score by 2 points. +7 points should be added to the final score for every vertical line with 5 consecutive tiles. If there are 5 tiles of the same color on a wall, players score +10 points.
The player with the highest score wins the Azul Board Game.
There are a few tiny details that you need to keep in mind while playing Azul. You can only possibly cover a tile spot once. If you have a tile of a certain color and pattern on the top row in your grid, your row is considered complete. This means you can’t add a similar tile in that working row.
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