Today I want to show you that board games aren’t all about attacking each other and having heated competition as we take a look at the abstract beauty of a game called Azul as well as Bob Ross: The Art of Chill. Yeah, that’s right, there’s a game about Bob Ross—how cool is that?

A board game elegant in design and deceptively clever

Let’s first look at Azul. Not only is the box beautiful to look at but the components are also wonderful.

You start by randomly placing these lovely clicky clack tiles onto these coasters. On your turn you choose a coaster and take all of the tiles of one colour. Any remaining tiles on that coaster slide into the middle of the table. The tiles you did take need to be assigned to a row on your player board.

The idea here is that you need to fill up any of these rows here with the same coloured tile. At the end of each round, if you managed to fill up a row with the same coloured tile, then you get to move 1 of those tiles to its location on your player board. The rest are discarded and will be added to the bag once it is empty.

In addition to the bonus points you get for getting a complete column of tiles, or all the tiles of the same colour, you score more if you have tiles adjacent to the tiles you place. So you soon start to strategize about which tiles you want to get next to ensure you score the most points.

Tiles that were put into the middle become a new area where players can choose to take from. Like before, players must take all the tiles of one colour.

The game gets really tricky because of this: maybe you only want 2 red tiles, but there are 4 red tiles in the middle, or 1 red tile left on one of the coasters. You could take the 1 red tile and hope to get another 1 later on, or you can take the 4 red tiles, but the extras that you can’t place must go into your penalty row which will count against your score for that round.

It’s a deliciously simple but clever abstract game that will make you want to play again immediately after playing it.

Who knew there could be a board game that incorporated aspects of painting

Now if you want to get even more chill, then there’s nothing as chill as Bob Ross: The Art of Chill. In this game, players play as painters trying to learn from Bob Ross as they paint happy little trees, happy little clouds, and remember, there are no mistakes, just happy little accidents.

To start, flip up 4 art supply cards and 4 technique cards. Then deal 3 art supply cards to each other. Every round starts by flipping up a Bob Ross card which gives each round a different flavour. Every player starts their turn by rolling the die, and you either get some bonus, or you move the Bob Ross token along the track. He’s basically painting this painting. When he gets to the end, the painting is done and a new one comes out. On your turn, you take 3 actions: draw an art supply card, play 2 cards from your hand that feature the same aspect that’s on one of the featured technique cards (this gives you points and ways to get more points in the future), and you can paint something by adding an art supply card onto your palette. If you match one of the highlighted sections on that painting, you spend those cards and gain points—even more points if you’re among the first players to accomplish it.

This game does a great job taking the fun theme of painting with Bob Ross and putting an actual good game around it. If you’re a fan of Bob Ross, then this is a no brainer, but even if you’ve never heard of him, you’d still be wise to check out Bob Ross: The Art of Chill.

So that’s it for this month. Which games do you like to play when you want to chill out? Comment below as I’d love to hear about what you’re playing!


Jay Cormier
Jay enjoys his double life: working at Best Buy Canada as a Video Production Specialist, and his side career as a board game designer. He has a dozen or so games on store shelves right now and many more signed to come out soon. He also teaches game theory to students taking the video game design program at Vancouver Film School.