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Azul: Channel Your Interior Decorator

If you’re a fan of art or interior design, then Azul is the game for you. Set in the lavish palace of King Manuel I of Portugal, Azul puts your interior decorating skills to the test to see who can build the best pattern for the palace walls. You’ll have a blast with the delicate, intricate little tile pieces as you pick and choose which ones will help you make the best design. An expert combination of aesthetic appeal and complex strategy, Azul is a masterpiece of a game.

The Beauty of Azul

Perhaps the best part of the game of Azul comes from its origin story. Azul is based on azulejos, which were white and blue ceramic tiles introduced to Spain by the Moors. When the Portuguese King Manuel I was on a visit to the Alhambra palace in Southern Spain, he couldn’t help but be captivated by the beauty of these dazzling tiles.

In fact, he was so overcome by the beauty of these azulejos that he instantly ordered for his own palace back home in Portugal to be decorated in the same way. This is where our game begins, as you the player become the tile-laying artist charged with embellishing the king’s royal walls.

Collecting the Tiles

Azul is incredibly simple to learn, setup, and play, so you’ll be able to dive right in. Players start with their own individual boards and scoring markers. A ring of discs sits in the center of the table, each holding four randomly drawn tiles and one white tile for players to choose from. Players will take turns pulling tiles from one of the discs and adding them to their boards.

When you select the tiles, you must choose all of the tiles of that color from the disc to add to your board. You’ll fill in each row of your board with one color at a time. If the row is full by the end of the round, then you can move it onto the patterned scoring wall on your board.

Building Your Pattern

This is where the game gets interesting. You get to choose how you place the tiles to decorate the palace, with certain patterns and sets scoring you extra points. This part of the game allows your inner artist to come out as you try and earn as many points as possible while still building something of beauty.

Beware of taking tiles you cannot use, however, as this will harm your score. If there are no free rows in which to place your tile or you’ve already completed a row with that color title, then you’ll earn negative points. 

The key to the game is to make sure you’re able to fill the rows on your player board while planning out your long term strategy for decorating the palace. The game ends when the first player completes an entire row in their patterned scoring wall.

Azul Spinoffs

Azul has two spinoffs that have similar gameplay but employ different yet equally beautiful components. Azul: Stained Glass of Sintra turns you into a window-builder as you craft an elegant stained glass window of your own design. This game comes with beautiful double-sided window panels that offer an infinite number of potential combinations.

Azul: Summer Pavilion tasks you with decorating the king’s summer pavilion, a task which was never actually completed in real life. This spinoff offers a bit more complexity to the game that can make it a worthy upgrade for fans of the original Azul.

Azul: Embellish To Your Heart’s Content

Azul is playable by 2-4 players, so it’s definitely best for small groups or for one-on-one games. It’s suitable for ages 8 and up, mostly because of how simple the game is to play. However, it’s definitely got enough complexity that adults won’t tire of it.

Playing time for Azul lasts 30-45 minutes, which allows you to get a hang of the game in case you’re interested in playing multiple rounds. All in all, Azul is the kind of game you’ll want to play multiple times in order to nail down your winning strategy. Buy Azul today and let your artist be free!

Sorry! Is Parchisi with a Wicked Twist

Sorry! is one of those board games we all grew up playing as little kids. But like most classic board games, its popularity has endured because of its ability to be played over and over again without losing its shine. Sorry! is a primarily luck-based game that is simple enough for the youngest of kids to understand and enjoy. However, there are several ways to make the game more complex for adults to enjoy it even more with or without the kids.

Following the Path

The goal of the game Sorry! is to move the four pieces of your color from their starting circle to the end of their path along the board. Each player starts with four pieces of a certain color on their starting space. To get one of your tokens out of your home space, you have to draw a card with either a 1 or a 2 on it. Players will go in turns drawing cards and moving their tokens.

One of the twists of Sorry! is that many of these cards allow you to do more than just mindlessly move your token forward. You can often move your piece either forwards or backwards when you pull the “backward 4” card, which gives you greater control over making use of those helpful slides.

Certain areas of the board contain slides, which allow you to skip past many spaces and jettison your token closer to the end. If your token lands on one of these slides at the end of your movement, then you can travel down the slide to the next available spot. You can only travel down slides that aren’t of the same color as your token, however. And if there’s another player sitting on one of those slides when you take your ride, you get to boot them back to the start.

Say You’re Sorry

The most diabolical part of the game Sorry! is also where it gets its namesake from. While you’re not allowed to block other players’ pieces from passing yours, you are allowed to interfere with them on certain occasions. If you end your turn on the same space as another player, you can say “Sorry!” and send their piece all the way back to the start space.

You can also do the same when you pull the special Sorry! card, which allows you to jump your piece to the spot of one of your opponents and kick them back to the start. This makes the game much more competitive while also giving players who are falling behind the opportunity to get ahead.

Sorry Spinoffs

Sorry! has released many spinoff games throughout the years to make the original game a bit more challenging. Simon Sorry! combines Sorry! with the beloved game Simon Says to create one unique board game. Players will use an electronic game unit that lights up in a specific pattern, which they will then try to repeat. If they get it correct, then the unit will tell them how many spaces they can move across the board.

Sorry! Not Sorry! is an adult party version of the original board game that allows you more opportunity to sabotage your friends. Not only can you steal their pawns, but you can also use the “Not Sorry!” cards to force them to expose their wildest secrets.

Sorry! It’s All In Good Fun

Sorry! is playable by 2-4 players, so it’s definitely better for smaller families. It’s also suitable for ages 6 and up thanks to its simple gameplay and easy setup. Playing time lasts around 30 minutes, which is short enough to hold younger players’ attention. Sorry! is the perfect game for introducing young kids to board games.

Sorry! can also be made more complex for older players by adding a bit of strategy to the game. While pulling one card at a time means you’re depending on luck to help you win, pulling five cards at a time gives you more control over fate. Adults who want to make the game a little harder can make this change to incorporate strategy into the game by deciding which card to play.

Buy Sorry! today and you won’t be sorry!

Break Out the Pen And Race Against the Clock With Telestrations

Nothing livens up a party like Telestrations, a drawing-based game that will have you scratching your head and asking, “Is that supposed to be a cat or a pony?”  While charades has been a time-honored classic for parties, Telestrations gives it a run for its money by adding a unique premise and a more complex method of gameplay.  Telestrations’ simplistic set up and gigantic supply of secret words to draw from will keep you playing this game for years to come.

Sketching The Secret Word

The game begins with each player being given his or her own drawing book, marker, and a card with a list of secret words.  A player then rolls a die to determine which of the six secret words each person has to sketch, and players have 90 seconds to draw that sketch to the best of their ability.  You’ll have plenty of opportunity to sketch, however, as the books get passed back and forth from one player to the next during each of the three rounds.  

Getting Creative

While you may think that the best artist in the group is going to have the upper hand, this isn’t always the case with Telestrations.  One of the most fun elements of the game is the way it allows for endless creativity, forcing players to come up with creative and unique ways of depicting their secret word.  You may not be a Picasso, but that doesn’t prohibit you from coming up with some pretty funky drawings.  You may also end up winning points simply by appealing to sense of humor of the player making the guess, so know your audience!

Guessing Game

Telestrations puts a fun and unique twist on this guessing game that makes it much more interesting than charades.  Instead of each person having to guess what one player has drawn, each player will pass his or her book to the left for the next player to guess.  Once each player has finished writing down their guess, players pass the book again to the next person, who will then draw the word that the previous player guessed.  This back and forth of guessing and drawing continues until each player ends up with their original book.

Awarding Points

The person who wins the game isn’t always the person who was able to draw the best.  At the end of each round, each player is given three points to award.  The first point goes to whichever player drew their favorite sketch.  Whether it’s the funniest sketch, the best-drawn sketch, or even the worst-drawn sketch, each player gets to choose their favorite according to their own rules.

The second point goes to whichever player made their favorite guess.  This can just as easily go to your savvy sister who guessed correctly as it can to your clueless aunt who was way off base.  The last point is awarded to each player if and only if the final guess corresponds to his or her secret word.  The final winner is whoever managed to win the most points throughout the three rounds.  With the potential for endless creativity and comedy, you’ll be sure to enjoy Telestrations regardless of who wins.

Sketch Against The Clock With Telestrations

Telestrations is suitable for ages 12 and up, although you can definitely accommodate younger kids by using simpler secret words to guess from.  Telestrations can be played by 4-8 players, which is great for parties or large families.  Because game time only lasts around 30 minutes, it isn’t too big of a commitment.  The flexibility of how many rounds you play allows you to stretch or shrink Telestrations to whatever length you prefer, making it a versatile game that can fit any kind of party.

The biggest thing that makes Telestrations stand out is the fact that it gives you erasable sketchbooks and markers to draw from and unique secret words to choose from.  This makes the experience neater than charades while also retaining the guessing game aspect that makes charades such a widespread favorite.  Give it your best guess, bring out your inner artist, and have a roaring good time with Telestrations!

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