We have a new board game, Azul, a welcome addition to our collection for home and motorhome use. It was a treat for the family that I bought with some of my birthday money. I wonder if if got my attention because it features mosaicking. The players compete to decorate the walls of a Portuguese palace. They use azulejo tiles just like the ones in the Alhambra, except those in the game are of course plastic. My little bevy of fellow gamers groaned when they heard that mosaic might be involved. But once they played they were converts. That wasn’t a surprise to me. I was also attracted to the game because it has very good reviews.

The game is for two to four players. So we had a full house when Azul got its first airing when Louis was last home with his girlfriend. We wondered if it would be just as good with two people. A little gaming session in the van has proved that it passed muster for fewer a duo of oldies. Like Monopoly a round of this doesn’t go on for hours and hours like a particularly vicious game of Monopoly. Even a longer game of Azul lasts no more than about half an hour.

While a game ends when a player competes a horizontal row of tiles the aim isn’t to finish it as quickly as possible. Anyone can do that do in five moves. However, as I learned to my cost, they face the wrath of their family if they do that. No, it’s better to extend the game and allow those tiled designs to evolve. As well as looking pretty you build up points when you do this. When Azul is played properly it becomes a contest involving strategy and cunning. Lots of blocking tactics take place as you have full view of the boards of other players so can guess what your opponents are trying to do. I’m loving it. Now the only thing that I’ve got to do is win a round against my conniving family!

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