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Azul was designed by the world famous, award winning game author Michael Kiesling.  Azul captures the beautiful aesthetics of Moorish art in a contemporary board game. Players compete as artisans decorating the walls of the Royal Palace of Evora. By carefully drafting the correct quantity and style of tiles, the most clever of artisans plan ahead to maximize the beauty of their work (not to mention their scores!) while ensuring they wasted no supplies in the process. 

Introduced by the Moors, “azulejos” (originally white and blue ceramic tiles) were fully embraced by the Portuguese, when their King Manuel I, on a visit to the Alhambra palace in Southern Spain, was mesmerized by the stunning beauty of the Moorish decorative tiles. The king, awestruck by the interior beauty of the Alhambra, immediately ordered that his own palace in Portugal be decorated with similar wall tiles.

Azul is a tile drafting game where players attempt to build the most aesthetically pleasing pattern on the walls of the royal palace. The game is rooted in the historical use of azulejos, tin-glazed ceramic tiles, in Portugal during the reign of King Manuel I.

While the setting is historical, the theme is only carried through so far as the beautiful components. Azul plays like a very puzzley abstract game for 2-4 players and plays in about 30 minutes.

Gameplay Overview:

Azul is played over 5 or more rounds. Players will alternate turns taking tiles from one of the available factories or from the center pile. The number of factories scales with the number of players and each factory is populated with four azulejos tiles at the beginning of the round.

When you choose tiles, you must take all of the tiles of that color. All other tiles on that factory are moved to the center pile. You can also choose all of one color from the center pile. The first player to take from the center each round becomes the first player for the following round, but will lose a point during that round’s scoring. The round continues until all tiles are selected.

You place the tiles you have selected on one of the rows of your player board. Of the 5 available rows, the top row only requires one tile, the next requires 2, and so on. Your goal is to complete filling in that row with the required number of tiles before the end of the round.

When the round ends, any rows you have completely filled will be scored. If you have a partially filled row, it will stay partially filled until the next round. You have to complete the row with all tiles of the same color to score it. The tile will score points for every adjacent tile already placed in the same row or column. Any tiles you take but can’t play will lose points. Also, once you score a particular color in a row you can never put that color in that row again. 

The game ends at the end of a round where at least one player has completed at least one row on the right side of their board. Players score bonus points for completed columns and rows.




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