Often you play a game that’s received a lot of hype only to be disappointed. As a subscriber to several large board game groups on Facebook, some games seem to go from never being mentioned to being the subject of every single post and this certainly happened with Azul this year. As much as I’m wary of being caught up in hype you can’t help but want to try the game everyone’s talking about so you can join in the conversation and have an opinion along with everyone else, especially when it looks so god damn beautiful.
When I finally played Azul it was a couple of months into the extensive hype but it did not disappoint. The tiles are richly coloured and satisfyingly chunky while the game is easy to grasp and it plays as well at 2, 3 or 4 players, which is always an impressive bit of design. I’m really looking forward to the new Sintra Stained Glass version and may have to try and snag a copy as I’ve been relying on friends who own Azul to get my fix. It may seem crazy to list a favourite game that isn’t in my collection, but 3 of my most regular gaming buddies own this game, so it seems silly to buy it.
Almost made it – Concordia
Terra Mystica will always hold a special place in my heart as it was my first ‘Big Game’ purchase about 5 years ago, costing £60 which was double what I’d spent on any one game before. I was lucky that I liked it so much considering I put no effort into trying to find out if it was a game I would like, just figuring that it had to be a amazing if it was the 2nd highest rated game of all time on BGG (it has since dropped down to 9th). It took awhile for me to get good at teaching it, which harmed my first few games, but I now have a few friends I regularly play it with which really lets you unlock the depths of the different races and styles of play.
I am interested to play Gaia Project but find myself in no rush to try the re-implementation of Terra Mystica and definitely see no point in owning both.
I consider both Terra Mystica and Concordia mechanical progressions from the common gateway game Catan, relying on strategy and long-term planning rather than reacting to the roll of the dice. I only recently tried the gem that is Concordia but had I bought them at the same time its possible TM would have never got a look in as Concordia is an excellent and simpler game.