To win you must have the most points at the end of the game. The game ends when at least one player has a completed horizontal line of tiles on their wall. Each game is played over several rounds. Each round has three phases: Factory Offer, Wall Tiling, and Preparing the Next Round.
In the Factory Offer phase, the starting player places the Starting Player Marker in the center of table. The player can then pick all tiles of the same colour from a Factory Display or from the center. If chosen from a display, move the remaining tiles to the center. If you are the first player to pick from the center, then take the Starting Player Marker and place it on the leftmost space on the Floor Line of your game board, which is at the bottom.
Once you have claimed some tiles, add them to one of your pattern lines from right to left, which scaling from 1-5 spaces. If the pattern line already has tiles, you may only add tiles of the same type to it. If all spaces in that line are filled then that line is considered complete. Any excess tiles are placed on the Floor Line. The goal is to complete as many pattern lines as possible with the Factory Offer phase. The more you complete, the more you points you can score when making your mosaic later.
In later rounds you must adhere to the following rule: you may not place tiles of the same type in pattern line if the corresponding pattern wall line already has that type. This means careful and tactical acquisition of tiles throughout the game to makes sure you down throw away tiles to the Floor Line and losing points in the process.
Any tiles that you cannot or don’t want to place are placed in your Floor Line from left to right. These give minus points as they are considered to be dropping onto the floor. The total amount lost will be resolved at the end of the Wall Tiling phase. As for the Factory Offer phase, it will end when there are no more tiles in any of the displays or in the centre. You then move onto the Wall Tiling phase.
In the Wall Tiling phase all players complete their Patterns Lines and gain points simultaneously. Start by going down each Pattern Line and moving the rightmost tile of each complete line to the corresponding tile on your wall. You score points immediately when you do this. Then, remove all tiles from pattern lines that don’t have a rightmost tile and place them out of the game.
The scoring system for this phase goes as follows. Each tile placed gives 1 point. If there are 1 or more tiles linked horizontally or vertically, you can gain a point for each that are linked. For instance, if you place a tile that now creates a horizontal or vertical line of 3, you gain 3 points. If you link both horizontally and vertically, you gain points for both lines.
Once all points have been tallied, check your Floor Line and total the number of points, stated at the tile of the space, you will lose from dropping tiles. Deduct this from your point total and place all tiles out of the game. The starting tile is placed in front of you. Then, everyone checks to see if they have a complete horizontal line on their wall. Until anyone does, fill the Factory Displays from the bag and Prepare the Next Round. If the bag runs dry, add the tiles from of the game to the bag and continue.
When 1 or more players has a complete line on their Wall, the game ends. At this point, additional points are gained. For each complete horizontal line on your wall, you gain 2 points. For a completely vertical line, you gain 7 points. And for a wall that has all 5 tiles of a certain type, you gain a big 10 points. The player with the most points on their score track winds.
All in all, Azul is very easy to understand and fun game. Not too much concentration is needed and it can provide a lot of enjoyment for you and your friends and family. The more you play and become familiar with the game the more you will start to think ahead. It becomes increasingly exciting the more you play as each player formulates their plans for success and to gain the most points as possible. The game board itselfs has all that you need too. No pen or paper needed to record scores or any outside material for that matter. It is the complete package ready to go. And it is highly addictive whereby 30 minutes can easily turn into 3 hours of gameplay.