Azul vs Azul Sintra

You probably have heard about Azul, the abstract strategy game in which you need to carefully draft tiles into your inventory and arrange them in order to acquire points. However, there is a new edition of the game, which is aptly named Azul Stained Glass of Sintra. So, is there any difference between the original Azul vs Azul Sintra?

Continue reading below to learn more about:

  • The recommended audience and number of players for each game
  • The components and setup of each game
  • The gameplay and scoring mechanism in each game
  • How much player interaction that each game offers
  • The gameplay duration of Azul vs Azul Sintra
  • Which game that is generally more recommended for you

Overview

Azul is one of those games that don’t really need introduction. It is one of the most popular abstract strategy games in the market now, and it even has received a number of awards. This is a rare case of a game that is easy and simple to teach, yet has such a great depth that both gamers and non-gamers can enjoy. See also: Azul vs Sagrada.

In the original Azul, you are a tile-laying artist who is tasked to decorate the wall of the Royal Palace of Evora. In order to do this, the players take turns in picking tiles from the suppliers and putting those tiles on their walls. You can get bonus points depending on how you place your tiles, but unused tiles will cause negative points.

Azul Sintra is still pretty much the same. It is still an abstract strategy game where you draft and lay tiles. However, the theme is slightly different. In Azul Sintra, you are now tasked to construct a stained glass window for the Palace of Sintra. Overall, Azul Sintra indeed has a number of differences compared to the original game, but the gameplay experience is still quite similar. You can say that Azul Sintra is the edition that is more refined.

Both Azul vs Azul Sintra are designed to be played by 2 – 4 players. Both games are suitable for 8 years old and over. For sure, these games can be enjoyed by both children and adults.

Components

Azul comes with several components, which are the player boards (there is one for each player), the factory plates, the tiles, and a cloth bag for storing and shuffling the tiles. For sure, the artwork on the tiles is really beautiful. There is a joy in collecting and arranging the visually pleasing tiles.

However, the boards and plates of Azul are somewhat thin. The boards and plates still feel quite solid, but getting thicker ones would be nice. Plus. The tiles are not weighty enough so that they can be moved by a slight bump on the table.

Azul Sintra has even more components. Instead of a player board for each player, there are two elements that need to be combined for each player: the palace boards and the window strips. Then, there are also colored tiles, factory plates, and a cloth bag. In addition, there is a glass tower made from cardboard for collecting discarded tiles, and glazier meeples. Finally, there is the score board for keeping the scoring of the players.

The colored tiles are really beautiful. They look a bit like glass, due to the slight transparency. The artwork on the boards and plates is somehow more beautiful and elegant than the original Azul. However, the boards and plates of Azul Sintra are a little bit thinner. Still good enough to get the job done, but more vulnerable to wear.

Setup

The setup of Azul vs Azul Sintra is not too different. Both games are quick to setup within five minutes or less. Though, Azul is a little bit quicker to prepare due to having fewer components than Azul Sintra.

In the original Azul, you only need to shuffle the tiles and prepare the factory boards according to the number of players. Each player gets a player board, and you all are ready to start playing.

In Azul Sintra, each player needs to choose a color to play by taking the glazier meeple, board pieces, and cubes of the color. The players need to agree on whether to play the Side A or the Side B of their player boards. The players then randomly mix their window strips to form a full player board. Then, prepare the score board, glass tower, and factory plates.

Gameplay

To some degree, the mechanisms of Azul and Azul Sintra are similar. In fact, there is no difference in how tiles are acquired. You can pick up tiles from one of the factory boards or from the central area. The difference is more on the driving forces that affect your decisions in choosing which tiles to pick and how those tiles are added to your player board.

In Azul, you mainly pick up tiles to complete rows. You may try to complete a row by placing tiles adjacent to existing tiles in order to score greater points. Sometimes, you also pick up some tiles in order to force the opponents to pick up tiles that will make them get negative points. However, these factors are rather subtle, and won’t directly affect your decisions in the following rounds.

Meanwhile, in Azul Sintra, there are more things that affect your decisions. Some factors can be your main driving forces over the rounds. For example, the implementation of glazier meeples is quite interesting. You need to move your glazier meeple carefully in order to be able to get vertical columns that you want.

Then there is the Color Bonus for each round. This mechanism may encourage you to pick tiles that can give you quick bonus points, although these tiles won’t help you complete a column. Gaining some quick points can be beneficial in the short term, but the long term impact is not yet known until the next rounds.

Scoring

The next difference between Azul vs Azul Sintra is found in the scoring. In this aspect, none of them is really better than the other. They simply are different. The original Azul has a secondary board side for more scoring options. Meanwhile, Azul Sintra offers great variability in regards to the end game scoring.

The original Azul has 4 ways for you to score points. However, there is only one of them that is an in-game scoring mechanism, which is the adjacent tile scoring. You can amass points as you play by placing tiles beside the tiles that are already in play. Meanwhile, the other scoring mechanisms are only considered at the end of the game.

Azul Sintra, on the other hand, has 2 in-game scoring mechanisms, which are the color bonus and the adjacent tile scoring. So, your strategy can be more flexible. In addition, there is a secondary consideration for the column scoring. The end-game scoring has two options, ornaments and completed windows, and you need to decide which end-game scoring mechanism to use at the beginning of the game.

Both games have mechanisms for scoring negative points. You will get penalized if you take tiles that can’t be placed on your board. In Azul Sintra, the punishment is heavier, but you have the chance to minimize the penalty by taking a rest action.

Player Interaction

Both games have high levels of player interaction. Both games require you to be careful in deciding your move, as your action may help or hinder the next players. In either game, you will have the chance to watch your opponents desperately collecting certain tiles and you can nab those tiles first before them.

However, the original Azul tends to have a tighter and less forgiving competition. This is because the players all have similar player boards, and you can’t just change your columns in the middle of the game. So, the players tend to have the same competing interests.

On the other hand, Azul Sintra has a small win in regards to offering the players more considerations and options in their turns. Since the players start with random columns, they don’t always have the same competing interests. You can also flip your columns through the game, hence changing the colors that you need.

Gameplay Duration

The original Azul indeed takes some time to complete, but it isn’t really long. Usually, one game lasts for 20 – 45 minutes. So, this game is recommended if you don’t like games that take more than an hour to complete.

Meanwhile, Azul Sintra tends to take longer to complete. This is because it has more elements and mechanics. Since the players can flip their columns, they won’t get stuck for too long and can stay in the game until the end. One game usually takes 30 – 60 minutes to complete. It still doesn’t take too long, but it tends to be longer than the original.

Azul vs Azul Sintra

BoardgameBoardgame
BrandAzul Azul Sintra
Key features- The setting is the wall of the Royal Palace of Evora - Has fewer components - Only one in-game scoring mechanic - Tight competition between the players - Takes 20 – 45 minutes to complete- The setting is the window of the Palace of Sintra - Has more components - Two in-game scoring mechanics - High player interaction with more options - Takes 30 – 60 minutes to complete
Price

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Conclusion

In general, Azul Sintra is more recommended. This game feels more refined. It has more depth and flexibility, as the players have more ways to score points through the game. It also has great player interaction. Although the players won’t necessarily compete for the same tiles all the time, you can still force your opponents to pick unfavorable tiles. But the players won’t get stuck as they can flip their columns at some points.

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