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Review of Azul: Stained Glass of Sintra

Posted Wednesday, 13-Feb-2019

Azul: Stained Glass of Sintra takes what you love about Azul, runs with it, and adds a twist.

 

Written by Carol LaGrow

 

Azul: Stained Glass of Sintra by Michael Kiesling (Heaven & Ale, Coal Baron), follows his popular tile-selection game Azul, but brings a new and different approach to create a distinct game. Azul: Stained Glass of Sintra also offers two ways to determine the final score.

 

Azul: Stained Glass of Sintra box
Azul: Stained Glass of Sintra box

 

How is Azul: Stained Glass of Sintra different from Azul?

Azul: Stained Glass of Sintra introduces double-sided window strips that must be filled with tiles. Players mark their position above these strips with a glazier, and may fill windows under, or to the right of, their glazier. If they want to put tiles in a window strip to the left of their glazier, they must spend a turn to move their glazier back to their leftmost window strip.

 

Window strips and glazier
Window strips and glazier

 

Window strips towards the right are tempting to work on, because they will hopefully be scored several times over the course of the game, but having your glazier on the right end of your board limits how many spaces are available to you for placing tiles. How often you use a turn to move your glazier back to the leftmost spot is a key part of the tempo of the game.

 

Setup and game play

Azul: Stained Glass of Sintra has a variable setup. The players set their palace boards to either Side A or Side B, depending on how they’d like to calculate the final score.

 

Palace boards, sides A and B
Palace boards, sides A and B

 

Eight of the double-sided window strips are arranged randomly above each player’s palace board.

 

Double-sided window strips
Double-sided window strips

 

Players draw tiles from a bag and place them onto shared areas in the center of the table, known as factory displays. During their turn, a player may choose one color from any of the factory displays, and take those tiles. The rest of the tiles from that factory display are moved to the center.

As leftover tiles from different factory displays are combined in the center, this allows for larger, more efficient moves (a player may be able to get 4 tiles of a color all at once, for example), but it may also create a situation where there are more tiles of a color than a player needs.

 

Central board with broken glass track
Central board with broken glass track

 

When a player takes more tiles than they can use, they must move their marker down the broken glass track. The broken glass track shows how many points a player will lose at the end of the game. Players also move their marker down the broken glass track when taking the start player tile from the center of the display. The broken glass track is cumulative, only scoring once at the end of the game. It becomes increasingly costly to take the start player tile, or more pieces of a color than you can use.

 

Components of Azul: Stained Glass of Sintra

The components of Azul: Stained Glass of Sintra are solid, and fit my expectations for a game at this price-point (widely available for under $30). The palace boards, factory displays, and pattern strips are a good thickness, and can be easily handled.

 

Components of Azul: Stained Glass of Sintra
Components of Azul: Stained Glass of Sintra

 

The scoring track is on a mat of thinner cardstock, but it is functional. I prefer the centralized scoring in Azul: Stained Glass of Sintra over the score track on the player mats in Azul, which could easily be bumped.

 

Tile bag and tiles
Tile bag and tiles

 

The tile bag is a durable canvas and has a printed design. It is the right size to comfortably access the tiles.

 

Translucent tiles
Translucent tiles

 

The tiles themselves are satisfying to hold. The concave centers make them easy to grip. The translucent plastic makes for a nice effect.

The first player tile, the player figures, and the scoring cubes are all plastic. The red player color doesn’t quite match with the palette of the game – I would have preferred a plum or fuchsia – but that is a minor complaint.

 

Factory displays
Factory displays

 

The game is thoughtful about players who may have difficulty distinguishing the colors. There are several included features to help with this. Each color has a corresponding pattern, which appears in the center of the plastic tiles themselves, as well as the pattern strips. The back side of the factory displays are designed in such a way that tiles can be differentiated by their position.

 

I’m glad I bought Azul: Stained Glass of Sintra, and I’d buy it again

Overall, Azul: Stained Glass of Sintra offers good quality components and high replayability at a reasonable price. It looks great set up on the table (what I like to call good “curb appeal”). With the game length at about 45 minutes, it’s a great after-dinner game, or as part of a longer game day.

 

Azul: Stained Glass of Sintra box
Azul: Stained Glass of Sintra box

 

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