Let’s start off here, there is never too much Azul and that is confirmed by this new release of the (few year old) classic. I was drawn to Azul: Queen’s Garden primarily because I loved the original Azul and hadn’t had a chance to play any of the other releases as yet. In addition, I was offered a review copy by VR Games Australia, so I jumped at the chance.
Azul: Queen’s Garden is described by the publisher as:
In Azul: Queen’s Garden, players are tasked with arranging a magnificent garden for the King’s lovely wife by arranging beautiful plants, trees, and ornamental features.
Using an innovative drafting mechanism, the signature of the Azul series, players must carefully select colorful tiles to decorate their garden. Only the most incredible garden designers will flourish and win the Queen’s blessing.
I absolutely loved the acrylic tiles of the original Azul and that is no different here, the art may not be as great (pictures rather than patterns) but the feel of them is brilliant, a little bit of heft and weight goes a long way when trying to impress me with game components.
In comparison to the original, the player boards aren’t thick, however this doesn’t really impact play at all. The one detraction was that the scoring board/track seems a little unnecessary and takes up valuable table space. This probably could have been included on the player boards, or on a smaller reference sheet, but not a massive issue.
I’ve heard a few reviews that have said that the rules are a bit confusing, or that scoring is strange, but I really didn’t see an issue with it. I think that one of the issues here might be that people are comparing this game to the original and not as a stand alone game. The community does get it wrong sometimes though with this being rate higher on difficulty than something like Arboretum which I found exponentially harder to teach. Are the rules in Azul: Queen’s Garden a little more complex, yes, but they are definitely not outside the scope of what you would expect in modern boardgames.
Who would enjoy it
I played this with my wife and two children (12, 9) and found that it was a great expereience. As with any more complex game, the kids might drift off a bit when others are making decisions but I have found scoring pretty tight on all of the games. I really find though (much like the original for me) that Queen’s Garden really shines at 2 players. There is enough of that mid level take-that action, along with being a relatively quick game that it could be played after dinner without too much brain drain.
Azul: Queen’s Garden is currently ranked 1216 on Boardgamegeek for all games and 19 for Abstract games
Despite it’s increased difficulty over the original, I really enjoyed Queen’s Garden for the family and as a two player game. There is something about those tiles that will get me every time and the Azul games always seem pretty chilled out, not too much or too little interaction and not overly competitive. If you are looking for a game for two players or for family with older children (10+) then I would definitely recommend Azul: Queen’s Garden