Here at BigBossBattle we have a long history with the Azul series. The very first Azul was perhaps our favourite game of 2017, featuring as our best light game of the year. We also loved the second game in this series, known as Azul: Stained Glass of Sintra, thanks to a big change in visual style and gameplay. However, undoubtedly my favourite in the Azul series is the third instalment – known as Azul: Summer Pavilion.
With each of these releases, the complexity has increased incrementally to the point where Summer Pavilion feels like a very different game to the original Azul, albeit with some visual and thematic similarities. This brings me on to Azul: Queens Garden, the fourth and most recent instalment in the series, and by far the most complex.
In Azul: Queens Garden, players will still draft tiles from a central location, but this time, they will also need to consider both the colour of each tile and the image printed on it, and where it might fit in their garden (or rather, in the Queen’s garden.) Tile placement is based on grouping tiles of three together, and there are numerous restrictions on tile-placement which gives Azul: Queens Garden a really crunchy feeling.
Players will also need to consider when and how to draft additional garden tiles (to expand their building space) and how to enclose certain garden features that are already printed on the board. Doing so will yield powerful bonuses and joker tiles, but completing the space around these locations is difficult, due to the placement restrictions as tiles get more and more bunched up.
Whilst Azul: Queens Garden is a very different prospect to the previous iterations of Azul, it most certainly has a home with fans of slightly heavier games. If you like the beautiful visual style of Azul, but found the decisions to be a bit on the light side, then Azul: Queens Garden is going to be well worth a look.
You can find Azul: Queens Garden on Amazon.