This is the Azul vs Splendor game comparison showdown. These games are in two completely different categories so it is tough to make comparisons but we dove deep and did the best we could. Azul is all about drafting tiles and bringing them back into your personal grid to make key patterns. Splendor is all about building up your supply of gems each turn by buying bigger and better things. Learn a little about the games then check out our Azul vs Splendor notes and final verdict.
ABOUT THE GAMES
About Azul (2017): The game that tops the list of the best abstract strategy board games is about helping the king decorate with Portuguese tiles. Azul is a well crafted set collection and pattern building game. You draft sets of tiles against other players in order to create strategic clusters that are going to get you big points.
About Splendor (2014): You are a gem trader in the Renaissance starting with nothing in hopes to build up an amazing empire. You need to acquire different goods and services to do this in the form of cards you buy and in turn give you bonuses. There are five different types of gems and turns are very simple, you either take them or you spend them. Buying cards gives you higher gem counts which will let you buy bigger and better cards.
FOR MORE: Splendor Page | Buy Splendor
AZUL VS SPLENDOR ANALYSIS
Theme: Both have pretty cool thematics that back up the strategic gameplay. Nothing too much but Splendor more than Azul. In Azul you are a builder and you are drafted by the King to decorate a castle/cathedral/alahambra in Portugal. It is just to explain what you are doing, which it does well, it ends there. Splendor has more things and characters because all the bonus cards you go after are unique and play into the overall theme that you are a gem trader in the Renaissance.
Gameplay: Splendor might be one of the easiest board games in the world to play that is still strategically robust and satisfying. Azul, not so much. That is a thinking person’s game. Not that Splendor is not deep in thought, you have to think ahead and you have many paths to victory, Azul just has more strategic mathematical calculations (more fun than it sounds).
Mechanics: Very different. Azul is a draft and pattern build while Splendor is a resource management and engine building game. In Azul it is about grabbing from the communal pile to make what you can out of it, Splendor is about building quick and big. Very different sides of the spectrum.
Time Commitment: Splendor is around a quick 40 because of its nature, it snowballs quick and it will get you to a required point total. Azul is around that same mark because it relies on something happening that will come up rather quickly. In between rounds of Azul you need to score and that can be taxing at times, making it feel like you played two games in the space of one.
Player Count: Both games are in that solid 2 – 4 player strategy zone. They have meaningful adjustments at each level and every level is done well.
Cost: Both have quality components, the chips in Splendor are like poker chips and particularly satisfying. Splendor, however, has been prety consistently at a solid price. Now that is a hit, they probably want to keep it going and spur excitement for expansions.
Verdict For the Shelf: Splendor (60% of the time) and Azul (40% of the time). Both of these games are champions in their field and it is impossible to say which genre of game is better, they are just different. Where Splendor gains more points is that play is just easier and better for replayability. Azul goes for a very smart abstract strategy mechanic that is great and award winning, but it does take it out of you. Splendor is just as great and it is one of the most accessible board games on the planet.
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