Azul strategy guide?

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Cos-
Posts: 42
Joined: 28 August 2020, 22:51

Azul strategy guide?

Post by Cos- »

Anyone here know of a good article or guide written about strategies for this game?

When I google for it, I find a bunch of pieces that all give the same vague tips, mostly obvious ones to anyone who has played 10+ games. Things like "try to start from the center at first" or "don't just think about what you can score, also look for what other players need or really don't want to have to play", etc. Okay, fine, good tips when you're just starting out.

But is there anything out there that goes further than those sorts of basics? Or talks about *how* to do those basic ideas well, more specifically?
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sorryimlikethis
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Re: Azul strategy guide?

Post by sorryimlikethis »

There are a few guides on Youtube if you search for Azul Strategy, having not watched them I feel like they will mostly be generic as well. It's hard to give specific advice as every playthrough will be different. The game also drastically changes depending on player count as having more opponents will lead to you having less control and more randomness.

In 2 player Azul I found success focusing on the first 3 rows every round. Each square gives the same amount of points, the lower squares are just harder to fill. Top players average ~8 points from columns which means they fill 1 column every game and maybe a 2nd column every 5-6 games. They average between 3-3.5 from rows each game meaning nearly every game they fill 2 rows. Colour average is very low, complete colour once in every 5 games. Being first player is extremely important, most averaging being a first player in 3+ rounds. Centre column is not necessary to start with, 2nd and 4th columns are just as good.

I realise this is also generic advice. If you wanted to set up a training mode game I don't mind playing and explaining my thought process behind each move.
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euklid314
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Re: Azul strategy guide?

Post by euklid314 »

Two more hints for 2-player Azul.

The game will usually end in 5 rounds, i.e. each of the 100 tiles (20 of each color) will show up exactly once. Every tile that is discarded during the game will never reappear again! Thus, already at the beginning of the 4th round the number of all colored tiles is known that will appear in the 5th round. The only unknown is how these tiles will be grouped together.

Starting the very last, i.e. the 5th round is extremely important. There always are some colors that are crucial for both players in the 5th round. Thus it is usually a good idea NOT to start the 4th round. If your opponent starts the 4th round he/she cannot prevent you from taking the starting tile (except in the very rare case that there are 4 tiles of the same color grouped together).
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Cos-
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Re: Azul strategy guide?

Post by Cos- »

Good one! That hint about avoiding taking the 1st turn token in round 3 of a 2-player game, so that you can take it in round 4, is an excellent example of the kind of strategy tips I'm looking for from a more in depth guide. I'm more interested in 3-player and 4-player games, which I know are very different from 2-player, but that's just the kind of thing I'm talking about. Has anyone seen something written that has more on that level?
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Romain672
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Re: Azul strategy guide?

Post by Romain672 »

Feel free to write all those tips here btw: https://en.doc.boardgamearena.com/Tips_azul
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dschingis27
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Joined: 27 June 2015, 18:30

Re: Azul strategy guide?

Post by dschingis27 »

Maybe you find something on boardgamegeek.com in the strategy part of the Azul forum.

One thing you can always do is to replay games of high Elo players on BGA. This can be quite revealing already from a few games.
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euklid314
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Re: Azul strategy guide?

Post by euklid314 »

One more, rather obvious remark:

If you finish a row or column your optimum on points is 1+2+3+4+5=15 points (neglecting the +2/+7 bonus for rows/columns).

Note that is not necessary to fill the tiles from one end to the other to reach this 15 point optimum. You can also start somewhere in the middle and build towards the ends. Just leave no gaps...

The other extreme value is when you build a full row/column but build the center piece last. Then you will get 1+2+1+2+5=11 points (independent of the order of the first four builds).

The loss of 4 points is not that huge (not finishing the row/column at all is where you probably lose big points) but even a small loss might add up if you build your whole wall very inefficiently the whole game long.
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euklid314
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Re: Azul strategy guide?

Post by euklid314 »

And:

The reason why finishing a color (and getting the 10 point bonus) does not play a role in a 2-player game: In order to finish a color one needs to get at least 15 out of 20 tiles of this color.

This plan can easily be destroyed by the opponent if he/she just pays a little bit of attention. He/she only needs to take 6 of each color (the 6 he/she wants for row 1-3 anyway) and you cannot finish a color.
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towehaal
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Re: Azul strategy guide?

Post by towehaal »

This smaill youtube channel has started doing strategy guides. I found his Azul video to be well done: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dYRNbHTJAgo
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Dzman971
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Re: Azul strategy guide?

Post by Dzman971 »

A couple of less obvious things:

1) Getting two of a diagonal and then the one in between is better than doing two in a vert and then the next one over (1+1+4 vs 1+2+2). Similarly, getting the top 3 of a column on turn 1 and then the top 3 of a column on turn two is actually *not* optimal. Doing it that way nets you 1+2+3, then 2+4+5 = 17. If instead I do Col1/Col2/Col2 in the first round, and then Col2/Col1/Col1 in the second, I get 1+1+2,then 5+4+5=18. The same concept scales all over. Building those ledge/cutouts to drop a square into can be slightly better than purely vertical if you're smart about it.

2) Agree with the above statement about always filling the first three rows. Worry about those first and then figure out the 4th/5th as a bonus. Better to leave those one extra round and get the top 3 filled every time than the reverse, even if it completes a vert. Simultaneously, preventing your opp from filling a top 3 row on any specific round is a massive advantage. Preventing them from filling each of the top 3 on different turns is almost a guaranteed win. That's the most effective way to play defense.

3) On the first turn, I almost always initially focus on the 3rd row as it's the hardest "mandatory" one to fill. Plan for how you attack that one, and then let the first two rows fall into place. Per the tip above, it's actually not that important to get the first three rows in a single column, just ensure that you fill them (and try to focus on two or three specific columns to create those cutouts). Then with the excess, fire at the bottom two.

4) It's worth remembering that you really only need to fill 2ish on each the 4th and 5th rows, filling a row every other turn. So pick which ones you start wisely. Also worth remembering how many of each tiles are out if you're going to start a bottom row color. If 9 of a color are available in the first round, it's a bad idea to put 1 of that color on your 5 line at the end of the round, even if it costs you lots of floor points.

5) obviously everyone focuses on the middle 3 columns to start the game, but sometimes the board is low in Blue/White/Yellow. In this case, it's *much* preferable to hammer out the first column rather than the 5th column. Why? Because of the slant of the colors on the board means you're chasing the same color for multiple lines at once. If you attack the 5th column, getting a 1W/2B/3R on round 1 and start to move right to left, you're now looking for 4Y while also looking for 3Y. Meanwhile on round 3, you're probably still trying to fill the 5Blue while also doing the 3Blue or 4Blue. I see so many games where the guy who starts building on the right edge is chasing the same color for 3 rows at a time and is totally DOA, scoring a single point for stragglers in the bottom right corner. Meanwhile, building left to right means that instead of chasing the end of your 4Y + a new 3Y on turn 2, you're chasing the end of 4R and 5Bk + a new 3W + 2Blue + 1Bk.

5a) The same applies for which way to build your diagonal in (1). If you build it so you need 1 and 2 of a color on your next turn, you're making it harder for yourself. Instead, so the 1st/2nd row of a color in turn 1, then you're looking for different options when you're more locked in to what you have to chase.
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