Posted on 01/28/2023 in misc

We got several new boardgames at Christmas, but last night was the first time everybody was healthy and feeling up to gaming on a weekend night. The flu did some damage in this house in January. I shudder to think how sick we would have been without the flu shot.

Last night we broke open Azul, which combines both set collecting and pattern matching game mechanics in a way that is very similar to Sagrada. In Azul though, instead of moving game components straight from the community pot to your board, there is an intermediate step where you build sets first. That intermediate step adds a bit a twist and some different strategy that sets it apart enough from Sagrada that it won't feel like the same game if you play them both in the same evening.

The scoring field in Azul is not large, and the players are all likely to be fairly closely bunched in score, meaning slight advantages in strategy by achieving the bonus points for completed rows, columns, or sets is going to be the difference between winning or losing. Also, you can run up negative points in Azul, and it is very possible to stick an opponent with a large negative number if you can stick them with 4 or 5 unwanted tiles to end a round in the game.

It's definitely a game where you want a strategy looking several rounds ahead. A game takes 30-45 minutes, and the box says 8+ on the age range, which seems about right. An 8 year old might not grasp the more strategic elements, but collecting sets and scoring will make sense within 5 or 10 minutes, and the scoring mechanics keep everybody reasonably close until the end, so even just sort of randomly playing a kid will likely have fun and even occasionally win.

Azul board game

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