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Azul Two Player Review

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All board game reviews and ratings from “A Pair of Meeples” are entirely based on the game at two players. You can learn more about our rating system by clicking below.


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I’ve taught our family members so many games at this point and Azul seems like it’s one of the only ones they consistently like to play on their own.  It’s an elegant gateway game that is excellent for beginners and experienced players alike.

Azul Board Game Review

9 out of 10
Azul Board Game Review

Is it Good For Two Players? : Absolutely

When we play other games we often talk about changes or ideas for improvement for the game. Azul is one of those games where we haven’t once done that.  I don’t think there’s a single thing we would change about the game. Azul is one of the most elegant and simple games in our collection and we keep coming back to it again and again.

Theme: 5/10
Replayability: 6/10
Components: 9/10

Conflict: 5/10
Fun: 5/10

His Rating
9 out of 10
Her Rating
9 out of 10

Pros

High Quality Components

Pretty to Look At

Fairly Quick Setup and Playtime

Extremely Smooth and Elegant Gameplay

Cons

May Be Too Abstract for Some

Gameplay Experience:

We were pretty new board gamers when we got Azul.  It was one of the most recommended games at the time and touted as being a good game to begin with, so it didn’t take long for it to make it onto our shelves.  

We got the game and were in awe at just how pretty the box was until we opened it and were even more impressed with its contents.  

The bright blue insert holds everything perfectly and all the tiles are so vibrant and colorful.  Even the tile bag is extremely nice in look and quality.

The feel of the tiles is what did it for us though.  They have the perfect amount of weight and are super smooth without being too slippery to hold.  They sort of feel like super nice high-quality dominos if you’ve ever felt those.

Azul Tiles
Look at all those pretty tiles!

Okay, sorry that description got a little bit more lengthy and intense than I anticipated, but anyway, what we’re trying to say is Azul is a beautiful game and very nice to look at.  

So now that we got our obsession with how the game looks out of the way, it was time to play.  Abstract games are sometimes a little harder to grasp initially but it wasn’t long before we thought we understood enough to play.

We set up the game for two players and we’re on our way.  We had no idea what the best strategy was or anything, we were just grabbing tiles and placing them however we could.  We weren’t paying attention to each other’s boards, we were just playing.

Our scores were pretty pathetic but we had finished our first game of Azul and we both agreed it was awesome.  Everything about Azul is so elegant, simple,, and plays so smoothly.  Even though we had only played one game and hadn’t seen all its nuances we still thought it was excellent.

We played another game and started to pick up on some of the strategies and best ways to play and enjoyed it even more than the first time.  We still played our second game quite non-competitively and didn’t block each other’s moves.

This brings us to one of the great things about Azul, you can choose how much conflict you want in your games.  Azul has become one of our relaxing games so we don’t play as mean as many people might.  

When playing with any of my brothers though it’s a whole different story.  One of my brothers doesn’t care what score he gets, he just looks at everyone’s boards and makes sure you don’t get what you need.   

Over time we’ve gotten a little bit more competitive with the game but we still don’t hate draft tiles like I’m sure some players do.  You always have that option though if that’s how you want to play, sometimes we even play this way if we’re in the mood for it.

Azul might be our most played game, and even though it’s considered a gateway game we still reach for it fairly often and enjoy it every time.

How to Play Azul:

Azul is fairly simple to learn but its abstract nature makes it hard to wrap your head around until you play it, so we will be as short as possible here.  The game is set up a little differently depending on the player count so we’re going to focus on the setup for two players.

Each player takes a player board and score marker and five tile factories are placed in between the players.  To decide who goes first we usually take the first player tile and a random tile and have a player close their eyes and choose. If they pick the first player tile they go first.

Azul Setup

All the tiles except the first player tile are shaken in the Azul bag and then each factory in between the players is filled with four randomly drawn tiles each.  Now you’re ready to play.

Players alternate turns choosing tiles to add to their player boards.  You can pick any color tile from any one of the factories but you must take all tiles of that color from that factory if there are multiple.  Whichever tiles you do not take from that factory get pushed into the middle.

Azul Tile Factories
Azul Tile Factories

After the player with the first player token takes their move they will place the first player tile in the middle of the tile factories along with whichever tiles they pushed into the middle.  This now creates the second option for selecting tiles.

Once tiles are in the middle of the factories, players may choose any color from the middle and take all tiles of that color, if they are the first player to take from the middle they must also take the first player tile.  This means they will go first next round but they also have to place the first player tile in their negative spot on the board.

Players will keep selecting tiles until no more tiles are available.  Once this happens players will score that round and then refill the tile factories.  

Example of Azul Board after first round
Example of player board after first round of Azul

So how do you place tiles on your board and score in Azul?  First, the tiles you pick will be added to the pattern line of your board.  Each line can only have one type of tile in it at a time and your goal is to completely fill that line.  At the end of the round, if a pattern line is filled, you can then move a tile to your tile wall in its respective spot. 

As each tile is moved to its spot in your wall they are immediately scored.  A single tile is scored as one point, but if it is connected adjacent to any other points it will score a point for each of those tiles too.  If it adds to a horizontal and vertical line the placed tile will count twice, once for each line. 

Azul Scoring
All completed pattern lines are able to be scored at the end of a round. In this case the orange tile scored 5 points when placed, and the light blue tile scored 2.

If you pick up excess tiles of a color that can’t fit anywhere on your pattern lines they will have to go into a negative spot at the bottom of your player board.  After scoring your tiles you then have to also subtract any negative points you gathered immediately.

The game ends at the end of a round if a player has completed a horizontal row on their tile wall.  Players can earn bonus points for completing vertical lines, and horizontal lines and also filling in all spaces for a single type of tile.

Azul Last Round
The game is over in this picture because after scoring this player has a horizontal line completed. This player will also get 10 bonus points for having all the blue tiles, 14 bonus points for two verticals and 2 bonus points for one horizontal. They will also get -2 points for their tiles on the bottom row.

Writing all that out we realize that the game sounds a little confusing and when we teach it most people often feel the same way.  Azul is the type of game that’s hard to wrap your head around at first but trust us, once you play it a couple of times, it becomes very straightforward.  

Each player board is also double-sided with the other side of the board having no predetermined tile pattern for your wall.  This makes the game more difficult and gives you more options but you still have to follow all the original rules for tile laying.  We have not had the urge to use this side of the board to date but it’s nice knowing it’s there if we ever want to switch things up.

Azul Double Sided Player Board
Azul Double Sided Player Boards

Conclusion:

Azul is one of the most elegant and simple games in our collection and we keep coming back to it again and again.  We have gifted more copies of Azul to family members than any other game because it’s so accessible and such a great gateway. Everyone no matter how experienced they are with board games loves it.  Our parents and even our grandparents(people we’ve gifted the game to) talk about how great the game is and they play it consistently.  

Its abstract nature makes it a little harder for people to learn at first, but once you know how to play it’s like riding a bike, you won’t ever forget how to play Azul.  When you’re playing Azul it just feels right, the game is exactly how it should be.

When we play other games we often talk about changes or ideas for improvement for the game. Azul is one of those games where we haven’t once done that.  I don’t think there’s a single thing we would change about the game.

Just because there’s nothing we would change doesn’t mean it’s a perfect game for everyone.  As we’ve already mentioned the game may be harder to teach because of its abstract nature.  This minimal theme might also not be what some people want from a game like this or it might make it more difficult for some players to be drawn into what they are doing when they play.

While these things are valid concerns, we think once you’ve played the game those concerns sort of just fade away.  I think this says a lot about how good Azul’s gameplay is. It doesn’t have a lot of extra bells and whistles, it just does what it does well.

Is Azul Good For Two Players?:

We have played Azul at all player counts and think it’s best at two players.  You have more control over the tiles in a two-player game of Azul since you only have one other player’s actions to plan for.  This causes the game to be a lot less frustrating compared to higher player counts because your plays can usually go the way you want them to.  

This leads us to our next point, with two players you have much more control over how aggressive or passive you want the game to play.  You don’t have one player who plays super mean while everyone else is playing fairly moderately.  In a two player game if one player is aggressive it is very easy for the other player to be aggressive back.  

Knowing that the other player can immediately retaliate and screw you over just as easily in a two-player game often leads to a subconscious agreement to play middle of the road.  This means players will likely only take higher conflict moves when they absolutely need to. At higher player counts you won’t be able to retaliate as often when someone takes your tiles, so there are fewer consequences for playing meaner.   

If you want to play aggressively though, it can be as cutthroat as you want in a two player game.  As we said if you want to just try and block your opponent, they will likely try to instantly steal the tiles you need.  This playstyle can go back and forth until the end of the game, when both players look at their scores and see how terrible they did.  To each their own though, we get it sometimes it’s fun to just have an epic battle of back and forth hate drafting and we occasionally play this way too.

Azul is also much quicker at two players.  When playing with more there can be a bit of downtime.  It’s not as bad as in other games because you usually need to be thinking about your next move since the tile pool is always changing.  Oftentimes when playing the game with my wife we will finish the game before we even have to refill the tile bag, which is somewhere around 20 minutes per game,  with more people games take closer to 40 minutes.

Azul is definitely a great game for two players, as we said earlier it’s probably better at two players than with more.  With more players you will have to think much more if you’re playing seriously and even then sometimes you’re just not lucky and things don’t go as you planned.  With two players it seems like almost all luck is removed, you have much more control and you don’t have to think as hard to be successful.  The higher degree of control leads the games to be much quicker and allows you to decide how much conflict you want in the game.

Pros

  • High Quality Components
  • Pretty to Look At
  • Fairly Quick Setup and Playtime
  • Extremely Smooth and Elegant Gameplay

Cons

  • May Be to Abstract for Some

Azul-Board Game Strategy-Board Mosaic-Tile Placement Family-Board for Adults and Kids Ages 8 up 2 to 4 Players
Azul-Board Game Strategy-Board Mosaic-Tile Placement Family-Board for Adults and Kids Ages 8 up 2 to 4 Players
Azul-Board Game Strategy-Board Mosaic-Tile Placement Family-Board for Adults and Kids Ages 8 up 2 to 4 Players

We hope this Azul two player review has helped you.

Our reviews are not paid reviews, but some games are given to us, we do not let this affect our opinions in any way. This post may contain affiliate links so we might receive compensation if you sign up for or purchase products linked to. As an Amazon Associate, we can earn from qualifying purchases. This helps cover our site's costs and allows us to continue reviewing games.


What does Azul Mean?

Azul is Portuguese/Spanish for the color Blue.  You might be wondering why the game is called “blue”, we were too at first. It makes the theme seem even more abstract if you directly translate the game title to English doesn’t it.  

Well, there’s no denying that blue is very dominant in this game’s color scheme but the real reason is that the game is based on Azulejos or Portuguese/Spanish tiles.  If you google the word Azulejos you will quickly see where Azul has gotten its inspiration from.  It’s likely that Azulejos was too generic and on the nose so the creators choose to go with something more abstract.

Other Versions of Azul and Expansions

There are quite a few Azul variations available now and a few expansions.  We have listed them below and will update this post with links when we review them.

Azul Stained Glass of Sintra

Your goal is to build the best stained glass window instead of a tile wall.  This version adds a little bit more complexity but still shares a lot of characteristics of the original.

Azul Stained Glass of Sintra Board Game EXPANSION - Craft Colorful Window Panes. Tile-Placement Strategy Game for Kids and Adults, Ages 8+, 2-4 Players, 30-45 Minute Playtime, Made by Next Move Games

Azul Queens Garden

In this version of Azul you guessed it, you’re building a garden this time.  This one looks to change up the game the most and will require more thinking and strategy than the original.

Azul Queen's Garden Board Game - Create a Royal Paradise! Mosaic Tile Placement Strategy Game for Kids and Adults, Ages 10+, 2-4 Players, 45-60 Minute Playtime, Made by Next Move Games

Azul Summer Pavillion

Your goal is to build a a summer pavilion instead of a tile wall in this game.  This version adds a few more options for players and changes a couple key things, such as the game ending after six rounds instead of a horizontal line being finished. Many have said these changes make the game a friendlier version of the original.  

Azul Summer Pavilion Board Game - Strategic Tile-Placement Game for Family Fun, Great Game for Kids and Adults, Ages 8+, 2-4 Players, 30-45 Minute Playtime, Made by Next Move Games

Azul Master Chocolatier Limited Edition

This is a new limited edition of Azul that changes up the artwork and tiles. It also comes with 5 new factory variations that change up the game a little.  

Azul Master Chocolatier Strategy Board Game - Craft the Ultimate Chocolate Selection! Tile-Placement, for Kids and Adults, Ages 8+, 2-4 Players, 30-45 Minute Playtime, Made by Next Move Games

Azul Mini

Azul Mini is now available! If you are new to the game we’d probably still recommend sticking with the original, but if you know your going to play it on the go a lot this might be the perfect version for you.

Azul Mini Board Game - Portable Tile-Placement Fun, Strategy Game for Kids and Adults, Ages 8+, 2-4 Players, 30-45 Minute Playtime, Made by Next Move Games

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