Let’s start with the thematic setting to get you in the tiling mood:
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 sought to build a summer pavilion to honor the most famous members of the royal family. This construction was intended for the most talented artisans — whose skills meet the splendor that the royal family deserves. Sadly, King Manuel I died before construction ever began.
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.
The basics of Azul: Summer Pavilion will be familiar to anyone who’s played either earlier title: Draft tiles, whether from individual factories or a central location, then use those tiles to complete features on an individual game board. The difference is all in the details:
• The game lasts six rounds, and one of the six colors of tiles is wild in each round.
• Whenever you draft tiles, you can’t draft the wild color — but if one or more wild tiles are present in the factory you’ve chosen or the central location, then you must take one wild tile along with your chosen tile(s).
• The first player to draft tiles from the center becomes starting player for the next round, but loses points equal to the number of tiles claimed.
• All of the tiles you draft are placed beside your game board instead of immediately being played on the board.
• Once all the tiles have been drafted, players take turns placing one tile on their board, with the “cost” for that tile depending on where it’s placed. Each board depicts seven stars, with each star having spaces for six tiles, with each space showing a number from 1-6; six of the stars are for tiles of a single color while the seventh will be composed of one tile of each color. To place a tile on the blue 5, for example, you must discard five blue or wild tiles from next to your player board (with at least one blue being required), placing one blue tile in the blue 5 space and the rest in the discard tower. You score 1 point for this tile and 1 point for each tile within this star connected to the newly placed tile.
• If you place a tile that completes the surrounding of a pillar, statue, or window on your game board with tiles, you immediately take 1-3 tiles from the central supply (which starts with ten tiles each round) and place those bonus tiles next to your board.
• You can carry over at most four tiles to the next round, with you losing 1 point for each tile you discard without playing.
• At the end of six rounds, you score a bonus for each of the seven stars that you’ve filled completely. Additionally, you score a bonus for having covered all seven spaces of value 1, 2, 3 or 4. You lose 1 point for each remaining tile unused.
As in the original Azul, the backside of the player board allows you more freedom as to what to place where, although this might entail the freedom to hang yourself as was sometimes the case when you ended up needing the same pattern in a row or column. Specifically, the backside of the Azul: Summer Pavilion game board lets you choose to make multiple multicolor stars (but with only one tile of each color) or multiple stars of the same color.
Azul: Summer Pavilion will first appear in an English/German edition, with the game debuting at SPIEL ’19 in October.
Read more: boardgamegeek.com