Azul is a abstract stratetgy game where players take turns drafting colored tiles from supplies in the middle of the board to aquire the most points before the end of the game. And when it comes to elevator pitches this game takes the cake because well, there isn't much else to the game. Now does that make it a bad game? Well lets find out.
In Azul, you will be taking turns and trying to build up your own personal tablau, the sequence in which you place these tiles will determine the points you recieve and the decisions you make in the drafting phase will sometimes (against your wishes) set you backwards as excess tiles fall to the floor and take away from your total score.
There are stategic descions you can make in the game however I have found the more players are in the game the less impact your decision has on them, now this isn't necessarily a negative or a positive, it just is what it is.
What I do love about Azul is the simplicity in its mechanics, as a person with family that are both interested, yet hesitant to play games with too many rules its a breathe of fresh air for them when I can bring them a game and say "Oh you just take a tile and score points". Now this doesn't mean Azul is a simple game, no no, there are descisions to be made every turn that can send you leaps and bounds in either direction.
Another key part of Azul is the beauty of tiles themselves, they are gorgeous and vibrant colours that catch your eye and are an absolute delight to play with. They are both visually and tactfully appealing and one of the best, yet simplists components I have found in a game.
While this might be nitpicking, the one downfall I have found in Azul is the abruptness of the ending, Once a horizontal row is complete, the game ends and points are tallied. Maybe I am just expecting too much from my games but when the scoring does little to hide who is in front it can become rather stale to tally up the scores when you are almost a certainty to of come last. Like I said, this is a nitpick, this game is brilliantly simple and for good reason.
Overall Azul is the deserved winner of last years Spiel des Jahres. This game goes right on my shelf next to other great gateway games like Carcassonne and Settlers of Catan as the perfect game for introducing people who may not be the most excited about the board gaming hobby. I would highly recommend this game for any collection.