Azul: Summer Pavilion

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Azul is a gateway game juggernaut. From its first iteration to this third entry, the game exudes tactile beauty and gameplay. It’s quite incredible that a game based on such a simple drafting systems has made such an impression. In fact the drafting has remained exactly the same in each game, but the use of the tiles has changed.

Part of the charm of Azul is the tiles. This time they are awesome diamond shaped ones which you use to build flowery type patterns. Drafting, the mechanic of picking your tiles from an open selection, is done in a simple way. To set up a number of cardboard coasters (technically factories but they look like coasters!) dependant on player count. At the start of a round four random tiles are placed on to these coasters. On your turn you take tiles from one of the coasters as long as they are all the same colour. The left over tiles are pushed off the coaster into the middle. As soon as there are tiles in the middle players may take from there instead.

In a new wrinkle one tile colour is designated ‘wild’ each round and if you draw from the middle or a coaster while there is a wild tile available you must also take one wild tile too. After the tiles have all been drafted each player will take turns adding the tiles to their player boards obeying the placement rules.

Wilds are important here as you can use them to boost your reserves and get tiles placed that you may not have done otherwise. Complete certain spaces and patterns and you will access so bonus tiles which help you fill in even more of your player board. Simple to understand but not without depth it’s another home run for the Azul franchise!

Player Count: 2-4
Time: 30-45 Minutes
Age: 8+

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