Azul: Summer Pavilion is the third title in the Azul series. Again, just like the previous games, the gameplay is from designer Michael Kiesling. A typical game will play in about thirty to forty-five minutes.
Azul: Summer Pavilion: $39.99
Get It For Less At Miniature Market
In Azul: Summer Pavilion, players return to Portugal to accomplish the task that never began. As a master artisan, you must use the finest materials to create the summer pavilion while carefully avoiding wasting supplies. Only the best will rise to the challenge to honor the Portuguese royal family.
4 Player Boards
1 Game Board
1 Start Player Token
9 Factory Displays
4 Scoring Markers
1 Linen Bag
1 Round Counter
4 Point Counters
Game Length: 30-45 minutes
Hook ’em With Puzzles: Azul Summer Pavilion
At the turn of the 16th Century, King Manuel I commissioned Portugal’s greatest artisans to construct grandiose buildings. After completing the Palaces of Evora and Sintra, the king wants to construct a summer pavilion to honor members of the royal family. This construction was intended for the most talented of artisans. Unfortunately, King Manuel died before construction ever began.
So unlike the previous two games, this game story-wise, is in a sense, a what if? You are essentially starting a task that never happened. Let’s dive in further and see if this Azul stacks up to the rest.
In Azul Summer Pavilion the gameplay should be relatively familiar. Much like the older titles you are drafting tiles in a similar fashion. There will be anywhere from five to nine factory tiles based on player count. The tiles are once again a different style than the previous. This time instead of squared tiles these are shaped like diamonds. Once placed into their spots you will have formed a star shape. There are six different color stars and one central star that will contain one tile from each of the six colors.
Each player will begin a turn by selecting a factory tile or the central pile of tiles. You will take all of a single color and the rest will go to a central pile. There is a new feature however each round, there will be a wild tile. When you select tiles, in addition to the colors you take you must always take one tile of the wild color each round. You may never select the wild color tiles directly.
Once all the tiles have been taken, the building phase starts. Each player in turn order will place tiles onto their own board. The amount of tiles needed depends on the number printed on the board. For example, to play onto the blue three you place one blue onto the board and the other two into the discard tower. Now wilds can be discarded in order to place tiles of any color. You can even place tiles of the wild color but they all have to be the wild color. The middle star is special, it is made up of one of each of the six colors.
The middle scoring board also has a selection of random tiles. These are bonus tiles that you can take if you surround the various features on your player board. Each grants an increasingly better reward based on difficulty in surrounding it. The pillars grant you one tile, the statues, two, and the windows let you take three tiles.
Anytime you complete a star you immediately gain bonus points based on the color. The colors mirror the opposite of the wild order. Basically the idea is the first round wild of purple is the toughest star to complete, so it is worth more points and so on.
At the end of the sixth round, everyone will place tiles and score. Then there is another set of bonus points for covering all your ones, twos, threes, and fours respectively.
After playing Azul Summer Pavilion the first time, I immediately knew it to be my favorite of the three. Just like Sintra, there was just more game and puzzle to it. Plus, the star tiles are very ascetically pleasing. The colors of the tiles are bright and the art on the boards is beautiful.
If you haven’t played any of the Azul titles, you are definitely missing out on some fantastic abstract puzzle games. None of them require knowledge of the others at all. You can play any stand-alone, although I recommend all of them. Give Azul Summer Pavilion a try you will not regret it. A really good title to bring to your game nights.