Azul is due for another boxed sequel, this time tasking players with beautifying an outdoor space for a Portuguese queen. Queen’s Garden will be the fourth entry in the competitive board game series and is tentatively scheduled to arrive before the end of 2021.
The announcement came at the end of a promotional video from Azul publisher Plan B Games. Designer Michael Kiesling pulls a green box from behind a copy of the original, slowly sliding it across the table and into camera focus between previous entries Summer Pavilion and Stained Glass of Sintra. The cover artwork features hexagonal tiles adorned with trees, various flowers, butterflies and birds.
Information is, at the moment, slim. The product page on BoardGameGeek offers the only insight into the narrative framing and expected variation on the core playstyle. “Welcome back to the palace of Sintra! King Manuel I has commissioned the best garden designers of Portugal to construct the most extraordinary garden for his wife, Queen Maria of Aragon,” the description reads.
It seems safe to assume Queen’s Garden won’t take huge swings with the fundamental gameplay. Two to four players will draft mosaic tiles and use them to construct the most beautiful garden, according to the game’s scoring mechanism. Plants and trees will go a long way to realizing that goal, but adept players will pay attention to ornamentation, flourishes and the wildlife that lives amongst the greenery.
The video wherein Kiesling teases Queen’s Garden begins celebrating over 2 million copies of Azul - which Dicebreaker lists as one of its best beginner board games - have been sold worldwide. That’s a heap of little plastic tiles and a coordinated mass of fans seemingly hungry for more. Its arresting aesthetic and approachable design combine for a potent argument for would-be hobbyists to sit down and learn to love something without a big “MB” in the corner.
Both Plan B (Great Western Trail and the Century series) and Next Move (Reef and Beez) were recently acquired by industry giant Asmodee in its continued purchasing spree, though it seems the acquisition did not change the course of Azul’s development. Whether the experience inside the box measures up to the original remains to be seen. In his video review, Wheels found Summer Pavilion sacrificed its newcomer-friendly nature for deeper strategy. Stained Glass of Sintra, the first iteration released in 2018, followed a similar strategy but is still held in high regard amongst fans.
Azul: Queen’s Garden will hit retail and local game store shelves sometime in late 2021. Keep checking Dicebreaker for more information and a firmer release date as that information becomes available.