Board Game Review – Patchwork

Overview

Quick Facts

Designer: Uwe Rosenberg
Genre: Tile Placement
Players: 2
Time: 30 minutes

Your local sewing circle has always been a great place to relax and unwind.  It’s usually filled with ladies knitting or working on small projects, and is the epitome of peace and quiet.  That is, until recently.  You see, a rival has appeared that always one-ups you in everything.  You sew a dress, she makes one two times as elegant.  Her tapestry and needlework is so beautiful everyone gushes over it.  Your latest project is a patchwork quilt, and you see this as your last opportunity to prove yourself every bit as good as your opponent.  You each dig through the large pile of unevenly-shaped pieces of fabric to find the perfect patches to make up your quilt.  But oh no!  In the time you took to sew on that one patch, your opponent has placed three on her quilt!  You’ll need to do some strategic thinking and time management to make a quilt that’s more complete and beautiful than that of your rival…

Patchwork is a two-player game about creating patchwork quilts using a variety of differently shaped patch tiles.  Each tile costs a certain amount of buttons (the game’s currency) and time, and you’re penalized at the end of the game for any spaces not filled up, so you’ll want to figure out the best way to use the available patches to fill up your quilt!

Gameplay

IMG_1437To begin the game, each player takes a quilt board and the corresponding time token (either yellow or green) and five button tokens to use as currency.  The central time board goes between the players — it has two different sides, but they’re only different in appearance; they play the same.  Then, mix up all the patch tiles and place them randomly in a circle or oval around the board.  The neutral pawn is placed to the right of the smallest patch (a 1×2 rectangle).  The five square (1×1) patches are placed on the indicated spaces on the board.  Then, choose a player to go first and you’re ready to begin!

On a player’s turn, they must do one of two things.  The first possible action is to take andIMG_1440 place a patch.  When you do this, you may choose one of the three tiles to the right of the neutral pawn (i.e. the next three pieces in a clockwise direction).  When you choose a tile, you move the neutral pawn to the space where the tile had been and pay the cost of the tile by returning the indicated number of buttons to the supply.  If you don’t have enough buttons to pay for a tile, you can’t take it.  Then, place the tile on the board anywhere it will fit.  Finally, move your time token the number of spaces on the central board depicted on its label.

The other possible action a player may take on his or her turn is to pass and receive buttons.  To do this, they move their time token in front of their opponent’s and receive one button for each space their token moved.  So if your opponent’s time token is two spaces in front of yours, you’d move forward three spaces and take three buttons.  In addition, there are some special spaces on the time board you may encounter whenever you move your token forward by passing or placing a patch.  The first is the special patch space.  Whenever the first player crosses one of these spaces, they take one of the 1×1 single square patches and place it immediately on their quilt. IMG_1438 The other special spaces are button income spaces.  Whenever you cross over one of these spaces on the board, you receive a number of buttons equal to the number present on your quilt.  There is also a special tile available for the first player who is able to fully fill a 7×7 area on their (9×9) board.  This tile is worth an extra 7 buttons (points) at the end of the game.

In Patchwork, the player who is farthest behind takes the next turn.  Therefore, if one player moves very far ahead (by taking a patch with a large time cost), the other player may be able to take several turns in a row.  In addition, if a player ever lands on the other player’s space, he or she puts their token on top and will again take the next turn.  The game ends when both players have reached the middle space of the board.  At that time, they receive a penalty of 2 buttons for each unfilled square on their quilt board.  The player with the most buttons at the end wins!

Amber’s Review

Gameplay/Mechanics: 8
Theme & Integration: 8
Components & Artwork: 7
Scalability: 7
Fun Factor: 8

Overall:7.6

When friends of ours as what are some of our favorites games to play as a couple, this is always on the list.  The gameplay and mechanics are easy to learn, so even if your significant other isn’t much of a gamer, it would be easy for them to learn and play.  The theme is very cute and the patterns on the quilting pieces are fun and whimsical. If you buy the app version of this game, there are even theme upgrades you can buy that have kittens, dinosaurs, or space theme, which makes the game even more fun and whimsical.  The components of the game are good for what they are; some of the pieces don’t fit together as well as they could, however, and I feel that at times you have to force some of the pieces together.  One of my favorite upgrades I’ve seen for this game are people replacing the blue cardboard buttons for real buttons, but I haven’t seen a good solutions for the 5 or 10 piece buttons, as you have the opportunity to gain quite a few over the game.  This game works really well as a two player, I’m not sure that it would be quite as fun if more people were allowed to play.  Overall, this game is really enjoyable, we’ve enjoyed having it and know that other twosomes in our group enjoy it as well.  Plus, if you don’t have a person you can always play with, you can download the app!

  • Pros:
    • Whimsical theme that is good for non-gamers
    • Quick two-player game
  • Cons
    • Some pieces could use upgrades

Ethan’s Review

Gameplay/Mechanics: 9
Theme & Integration: 8
Components & Artwork: 8
Scalability: 8
Fun Factor: 8

Overall: 8.2/10

Patchwork is another great 2-player game for gamer couples, though it’s light enough and easy enough to learn that you could play it with almost anyone.  The theme of the game is deceptively good — I’m willing to bet that many gamers would  think they’d never enjoy a game themed around quilting.  But the spatial reasoning aspect of the game is really solid, and trying to find a balance of the piece that best fits on your board without costing too many buttons or too much time is a strategic enough challenge to keep players engaged.  In addition, because you can only choose the next three patches, there’s some player interaction as you can somewhat control what pieces are available for your opponent.  The components are really good quality too — all of the patches fit together snugly and feel like they’d hold up well to repeated plays.  The app implementation of the game is excellent as well, and a good way to learn the game or play with strangers all over the world!  I can’t think of too many drawbacks for this game — one of the major ones is that, like many Uwe games, Patchwork has a way for players to be penalized with negative points at the end of the game.  Coupled with the fact that in your first few games you likely aren’t playing as efficiently as you could, getting a negative score at the end of the game could be discouraging for new players or those who aren’t as frequent gamers.  However, if you keep trying you’ll soon find your scores in the positives and highly competitive with your partner.  I’d definitely recommend checking out Patchwork if you have a spouse, significant other, or gaming buddy and you’re looking for a good 2-player experience.

  • Pros:
    • Unusual theme and a good board game implementation of a Tetris-like tile placement game.
    • Strategic and fair amount of player interaction — great for couples!
  • Not being able to fully complete quilts and negative scoring may be discouraging for some players

Patchwork on BGG

Buy Patchwork on CoolStuffInc for $25.29

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