What are the basic rules and mechanics of Azul?

Azul is a popular board game known for its elegant simplicity and deep strategy. Designed by Michael Kiesling, it invites players to become artisans, decorating the walls of the Royal Palace of Evora in Portugal with beautiful ceramic tiles. To understand the game, let's delve into its basic rules and mechanics.


  • Azul includes a central game board, individual player boards, and a set of colorful hexagonal ceramic tiles.
  • Each player board is divided into rows and columns, representing the patterns you aim to complete.
  • The central game board features a factory display and a central supply of tiles.


  • The primary objective of Azul is to strategically collect and place tiles on your personal player board to create intricate patterns and maximize your score.
  • The game is played over a series of rounds, and the player with the most points at the end wins.

Gameplay Phases: Azul is played in a series of rounds, each consisting of several phases:

  1. Tile Selection: At the beginning of each round, players take turns selecting tiles from either the factory displays or the central supply. Here's the catch: when you choose tiles from a factory display, you must take all the tiles of one color, leaving the rest for other players. This adds a layer of strategy as you must consider what tiles to take and how they fit into your plans.
  2. Tile Placement: After selecting tiles, players move on to the tile placement phase. Here, you must strategically position the tiles on your personal player board. The goal is to fill rows and columns with tiles to create specific patterns, such as diagonal lines, horizontal or vertical sets, or individual tiles in isolated spaces. Efficient tile placement is key to maximizing your score.
  3. Scoring: At the end of each round, players calculate their scores. Points are earned for the tiles placed on their player boards, and bonus points are awarded for completing rows and columns. Players also lose points for any leftover tiles, emphasizing the importance of efficient tile selection and placement.
  4. Cleanup and Setup: After scoring, any remaining tiles on the central game board are moved to the factory displays, and a new round begins. The game typically consists of several rounds, with the number of rounds determined by the player count.

    Scoring Elements:

    • Points are earned for each tile placed on your player board.
    • Completing rows and columns grants bonus points, with completed rows usually earning more than columns.
    • If you complete all tiles of a specific color, you gain a significant bonus.
    • Completing specific patterns, such as horizontal or vertical lines, also earns bonus points.
    • Penalty points are subtracted for any unused tiles left over at the end of the round.

    End of the Game:

    • Azul concludes after the predetermined number of rounds, typically determined by the player count.
    • The player with the most points wins the game.

    Strategy: Azul requires players to think strategically about tile selection, placement, and pattern completion. Efficient tile management is crucial to success, as is the ability to adapt to changing circumstances and opponents' choices. Players must balance their immediate needs with long-term objectives, and every move must be carefully considered to maximize their score.

    In summary, Azul's basic rules and mechanics revolve around the elegant concept of selecting and placing colorful ceramic tiles to create stunning patterns on your player board. With its accessible yet deep gameplay, Azul has earned its place as a beloved board game that provides both newcomers and experienced gamers with an engaging and rewarding experience. Whether you're a budding artisan or a seasoned strategist, Azul offers a delightful journey through the world of tile-laying and pattern-building.