This is the Azul vs Summer Pavilion game comparison showdown. It makes sense to want to look at these side by side. Azul is the original game in the popular series and Azul: Summer Pavilion is the third, coming out two years after. Both games keep the on brand tile drafting mechanic but change in what you need to build in your personal space. We dive deep into both. Learn a little about the games then check out our Azul vs Summer Pavilion notes and final verdict.
ABOUT THE GAMES
About Azul (2017): The game 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. You need to strategically fill rows with groupings of colors in order to move them into your final square grid in order to score.
About Azul: Summer Pavilion (2019): Players return to Portugal to accomplish the task that never began for the Portuguese royal family, build their summer pavilion. Games last six rounds, and in each round players draft tiles, then place them on their individual player board to score points. Each of the six colors of tiles is wild during one of the rounds. There are strategic bonuses depending on where you place so you will need to consider many things.
FOR MORE: Buy Azul: Summer Pavilion
AZUL VS SUMMER PAVILION ANALYSIS
Theme: Azul: Summer Pavilion brings you back to Portugal to help the king. After you did such a fantastic job with the castle in the original Azul, and the stained glass in followup. This time, for the third Azul, he wants you to decorate their Summer Pavilion to house the royal family.
Gameplay: The Azul brand is all about their unique tile drafting system, having multiple factories with 4 that you take color combinations from and push remainders into the center until everything is gone. This is the same in Azul vs Summer Pavilion but everything changes from there. How you place is completely different. The round system is also different. Original Azul has the game end when someone fills one row, which can happen whenever. Summer Pavillion has a set six rounds.
Mechanics: The difference is how you bring pieces onto your personal board. Azul has you fill up a limited number of rows to move finished pieces horizontally in a square grid and then you score each round. Summer Pavilion has you making star patterns. There is a colored star for each of the colors and they have increasing values to hit like 2 tiles, 3 tiles, etc up to 6. You also get bonus tiles by surrounding special icons.
Time Commitment: These are around the same 40 minute mark but could vary dramatically. Azul original could be very short or long because it is all about someone being the first to fill up a row, which can happen at any time. Summer Pavilion has a set number of rounds making the time more standardized.
Player Count: Both are built in the same way where they are for 2 – 4 players and the draft scales well based on the number of players you have.
Cost: Now that Azul has been out for awhile and Azul: Summer Pavilion is the hotter new thing, Azul original is cheaper.
Verdict For the Shelf: Azul (5% of the time) and Azul: Summer Pavilion (95% of the time). This may come as a shocker in Azul vs Summer Pavilion, the original versus the third in the series, but Summer Pavilion is a better game. It fixes all the shortcomings of Azul (prohibitive math, abrupt win condition) and adds very meaningful play to how you need to place and how putting things in different places does different things. Only go with Azul classic if you can get a really good deal.
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