Azul Stained Glass of Sintra – Next Move Games – Review

"Have you ever wanted to be an artisan given the responsibility of creating a huge stained glass window… what’s that you say? No!?! Well why not?!?! Azul Stained Glass of Sintra will change that"

Theme and What is it?

Have you ever wanted to be an artisan given the responsibility of creating a huge stained glass window… what’s that you say? No!?! Well why not?!?! Azul Stained Glass of Sintra will change that. 

Gameplay Mechanics

This is an abstract depiction of a stained glass visage that is both tactical and beautiful all at the same time. Through pattern building and set collecting you will build your window into a beautiful design that is very pleasing to the eye.

The turns are simple. You can take glass from one of the storage areas choosing one of the colours available to keep and place onto a space in your window then discarding the rest to the centre of the table for future use.  If you have moved your artisan too far along your stained glass panel leaving you with no further options to fill then you can rest returning him back to the starting position and making all of your choices available again.

The first player to dip into the reserve in the middle of the table loses victory points at an increasing rate. Tactically this can be good or bad. If you see a stack of the same colour available in the middle section you can sacrifice that victory point to guarantee you get the supply you need. You have to weigh up the pro’s and cons.

Each time you fill a section of your window you flip it to the alternate side and have a second chance to fill it again for even more points.  The more windows you fill the points you get and the player with the highest points wins.

Initial Impressions

At first I wasn’t sure what to think of Azul, here we were fighting over small handfuls glass (plastic) to make pretty pictures… but then all of a sudden the pretty pictures became stunning and so eye catching. I wanted to fill more of the spaces of my window not just for the points but because it looked fantastic too. 

Game Build Quality

The stained glass (plastic) pieces escalate this game quite spectacularly. They feel heavy and substantial to the touch but are such bright and eye catching colours that they elevate every area of the game.

The card stock for all the peripherals are of a very good standard and the art depicting the windows is excellent and very fitting for the theme. 

Artistic Direction

This being an abstract game must have given the artists a fair amount of challenge to keep the setting in keeping with the theme.

However, I would say they have done a great job with what they had to make this look as interesting as possible even though the art is going to be secondary behind the stained glass (plastic) pieces. 

Fun Factor

The simplicity of this game and the fast paced nature of the turns kept me invested from beginning to end. I enjoyed trying to maximise my movements with my artisan while trying to think what my glass my opponent might have been aiming for next. “Can I slow them down by taking a pile they wanted?”.

Thankfully that is the only “take that” aspect of the game, anything else would not have suited this theme at all and would have spoiled the main focus. 

Age Range & Weight

I would absolutely agree with the age range. 8+ for a game like this makes total sense. It might be easy to teach and learn but fully grasping the tactics behind it might be hard for the much younger audience. 

Conclusions

Azul Stained Glass of Sintra was a pleasure to set up, learn and play. The small instructions mixed with the easy to learn gameplay made this very quick to bring to the table and very quick to dive into. Once we got going it became exciting to see how quickly we could fill up our windows while maximising our artisan’s moves and leaving ourselves with as many options as possible.

For what seems like a very basic game it is surprisingly tactical.

I don’t know if my opinion of this game is skewed by my love of the stained glass (plastic) pieces but I would highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys a basic abstract game with light to medium tactical aspects… also, its easily playable in around 30-45 minute