Azul is a popular placement game by Michael Kiesling. The first part won the German Games Award in 2018 and was also Game of the Year. In addition, it has also won some international awards. Part 2 "Azul - The Stained Glass Windows of Sinatra" and Part 3 "Azul - The Summer Pavilion" are also enjoying some fans. With Azul - The Gardens of the Queen another part of the series has now been published. But I will devote myself to this game in a separate post. In this comparison, games 1-3 are in the foreground and are compared with each other.

The game idea

The basic idea of ​​the azul games is to take tiles and add them to earn points. A basic mechanism here is that four stones lie on a factory tile and you take all stones of one color and push the rest into the middle. The stones from the middle can also be taken according to this principle, but whoever does this first gets the starting stone for the next round - which costs one point.

The stones taken must be grown directly on your own game board and may only be used for one area. If you take too many stones, you get minus points.

Perfectionists will surely have a problem with the game, because the game ends before you have completely filled out your plan. But let's take a closer look at the ideas of the individual games before we talk about the game material.

The Blue you will first of King Manuel I commissioned the palace with a beautiful wall mosaic to decorate. In the next part, the focus is on the glass. As it's name Azul - The stained glass windows of Sinatra suggests, your task is the palace window of the king to make it as magnificent as possible. All good things come in threes and so you build in Azul - The Summer Pavilion now for King Manuel I one summer pavilion. It is important that you represent the statues of the royal family appropriately and with dignity.

the boxes

Cover of Azul 1-3, photo: Tim Nissel

Cover of Azul 1-3, photo: Tim Nissel

The covers are designed in such a way that they already give an impression of the game. In the first part you have to lay tiles and a few tiles that you will work with later can already be seen here. However, there are also shapes that do not appear in the game, but the basic idea of ​​"Fliess Laying" is still clear. Sinatra's stained glass windows come with a slightly more abstract cover. Abstract not because the cover is abstract, but because you don't have much game material here. Instead, however, a large ornate window can be seen and thus the arc to the game is stretched. The summer pavilion comes with a cover that is almost identical to the game plan. Here you can already see the areas where you will later have to place your stones. Individual aspects such as the statues or the central area cannot be seen, but you are still very close to the game.

The game plans

Azul 1-3 fixtures, Photo: Tim Nissel

Azul 1-3 fixtures, Photo: Tim Nissel

The game boards each have their own unique elements. With Azul you have your own score bar at the top. Azul 2 and 3 each have a separate score bar for each person. The minus points (below) are only shown directly on the game board in part 1.

You playfully collect tiles from Azul and place them in the left stair fields. At the end of the round, you can then move stones from full rows into the mosaic on the right. The stained glass windows don't actually come with a game board at all. Instead, only the bottom section is solid. The eight rows of windows are arranged arbitrarily and have a front and a back. The summer pavilion consists of 7 stars in which you gradually grow your stones. The four fields in the corners are special here, in which you can save stones for the next round.

The bags / the tiles

Azul 1-3 tiles, photo: Tim Nissel

Azul 1-3 tiles, photo: Tim Nissel

What would the Azul games be without their bricks and bags? Azul comes with square stones. There are two solid stones and three stones with patterns. The stones of the stained glass windows have a similar format, but also have a depression in the middle and slightly different patterns. Suitable for windows, the stones are slightly transparent. With the pavilion we have a very unique shape; the rhombus. Again, some stones are plain and others are patterned.

The manufacturing tiles

Manufacture tiles from Azul 1-3, photo: Tim Nissel

Manufacture tiles from Azul 1-3, photo: Tim Nissel

Not much can be said about the factory tiles. The shape has remained the same and only the color scheme has changed slightly.

The towers

Towers of Azul 2 and 3, photo: Tim Nissel

Towers of Azul 2 and 3, photo: Tim Nissel

Azul is played without a tower. Stones that are free after the scoring simply go straight back into the bag. As a result, one color or a few colors may dominate the game. In parts 2 and 3 there is a tower in which used stones are placed. This ensures that you have to use all stones once before the used stones go back into the bag. 

Summary

The basic idea of ​​Azul runs through all three games. You take stones according to the same mechanics and place them appropriately on you. You have to pay attention to both the position and the type of stone. The same basic mechanics make it easy for fans of the series to get into the game, but there are also enough innovations that each game offers its own unique appeal. Since there is always only one selection of stones active on the manufactory tiles, you have to adapt your strategy to this in each round. It can be frustrating when you don't get the stones you need, but the variety makes it very exciting. 

Last updated on 1.12.2022/XNUMX/XNUMX / Affiliate Links / Images from the Amazon Product Advertising API. * = Affiliate links. Images from Amazon PA API