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This is straight up an abstract game. There are some words on the box that try to build a theme around building an empire, but this is not that game. Instead, you are matching tiles either for colors, icons, or both.
The game can be taught in seconds and there is some luck to the tiles you are given at the start of the game. You could be at a disadvantage from the start of the game, but from this point on luck is out the of the game. All tiles are played face up so all players have perfect knowledge.
I keep playing these games and I keep admitting that abstract games are just not my bag. I have a few I like and I guess Aztack is just as good as any. It reminds me of a previous review Chromino (http://boardgamegeek.com/article/15871454).
There is really two ways to pay this: 1. Deep thinking 2. Whatever happens happens.
I prefer the latter. The key to the game is trying to get the colors to match and the icons, this puts you ahead. But if it isn't there, it is hard to make that happen.
The components are great. The tiles are thick plastic and the colors are noticeably different. The icons could have been simpler, but they were trying a theme here (and failed).
The quality of what you get is very good.
The rule book is small and very short. The rules are full color and include some great examples (and a couple of poor ones). The back page is the best for examples. The game is simple and not hard to wrap your head around.
Flow of the Game:
The game simple. 12 tiles are placed face up to form the board. Each tile is two sided (like a domino) and has two possible colors our of five and and two icons out of four.
Each player then gets 12 tiles that are placed face up for everyone to see. Then, players take turns playing a tile. A tile can be played in one of three ways (always placed on top of the 12 initial tiles used to form the board:
1. Place a tile down on the board to cover any two spots but they must match the colors they are replacing (ignore the icons).
2. Place a tile down on the board to cover any two spots but they must match the icons they are replacing (ignore the colors).
3.Place a tile down on the board to cover any two spots but they must match the icons and the colors they are replacing. If you do this much harder choice, you can then discard any single tile of your choosing.
If you cannot place a tile, you must pass. You are still able to play a tile when it would be your turn again.
The game ends when nobody else can play a tile. Whoever has the least number of tiles left is determined to be the winner.
Should I buy this Game?:
If you want a light abstract, I feel Aztack may be it. It could be a fun little lunch game and one you may not wish to take too seriously.
As for me, I can live without a game like this.