What is the objective of the game Azul?

Azul is a popular and visually stunning board game designed by Michael Kiesling. The game's objective is elegant in its simplicity: players take on the roles of artisans tasked with decorating the walls of the Royal Palace of Evora in Portugal with beautiful ceramic tiles. To achieve this goal, players must strategically collect and place tiles on their personal player boards, aiming to create intricate patterns and maximize their scores. Azul's straightforward objective, combined with its deep strategy and beautiful components, has made it a favorite among both casual gamers and board game enthusiasts.

The game Azul is typically played by 2 to 4 players, and it consists of a central game board, individual player boards, and a collection of colorful, hexagonal ceramic tiles. Each player board is divided into a grid of rows and columns, with each row representing a different pattern that the player is trying to complete. The central game board contains a factory display and a central supply of tiles.

The game is played over a series of rounds, with each round comprising several phases:

1. Tile Selection: In the first phase of each round, players take turns selecting tiles from one of the factory displays or the central supply. The catch is that players must take all the tiles of one color from a single factory display, leaving the rest for other players. This creates a strategic element, as players must carefully consider which tiles to take and which to leave for their opponents.

2. Tile Placement: After selecting tiles, players move on to the tile placement phase. Here, they must strategically position the tiles they've acquired on their personal player boards. The objective is to fill rows and columns to create specific patterns while avoiding waste. Each tile placed on the player board earns points, and completing rows or columns can score bonus points.

3. Scoring: At the end of each round, players calculate their scores. Points are earned for the tiles placed on their player board, as well as for completing rows and columns. Additionally, players 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 continues for a predetermined number of rounds, usually determined by the player count.

The game ends after the final round, and the player with the most points wins. Points are tallied from various sources, including completed rows and columns on the player board, bonuses for completing all tiles of a specific color, and bonuses for completing specific patterns.

Azul's objective is simple to grasp but offers deep strategic choices. Players must balance collecting the right tiles, efficiently placing them on their boards, and planning for future rounds. This blend of accessible gameplay and strategic depth has made Azul a beloved game in the board gaming community. Its tactile, visually appealing components and engaging gameplay make it a fantastic choice for players of all experience levels, from newcomers to seasoned board gamers. Whether you're aiming to create a visually stunning palace wall or just looking for a fun and challenging game night, Azul offers an enjoyable and rewarding experience.