Game Buzz: Patchwork

It’s probably a little late for this preview, but this is a game that interests me more every time I hear about it, so what the heck.  Here’s

image by BGG user W Eric Martin
image by BGG user W Eric Martin

Patchwork is a two-player game from designer Uwe Rosenberg, published by Lookout Games and Mayfair.  It’s a 15-minute game about building a patchwork quilt.  Sound thrilling?  Well, it’s a game that hits several key sweet spots for me.  Firstable*, it’s by Uwe Rosenberg, and he’s a designer I’ve really grown to appreciate recently.  Secondly, it’s two-player only, and finding good two-player games has been a bit of a mission for me as of late.  Thirdly, it’s got a time track mechanism, and that’s almost always a big draw for me.  Finally, there aren’t enough quilting games in the world.  This one actually came out last year at Spiel, but I haven’t really given it an in-depth look yet.  So here it is.

image by BGG user evntozer
image by BGG user evntozer

Patchwork comes with a double-sided time board, two quilt boards, a neutral token, two time tokens, 5 special patches, 1 special tile, 50 button tiles, and 33 patches.  Each player gets a quilt board and five buttons at the beginning of the game.  The time board is placed in the center of the play area, and patches are randomly placed in a ring around the time board.  The neutral marker is placed between the smallest patch (1×2) and the next patch clockwise.  Special patches are placed on the appropriate spot on the time board.

As with other time track games, the player who is in last place has the next turn.  If there’s a tie, it’s the person whose time token is on top.  On your turn, you may either advance and receive buttons, or you may take and place a patch.  If you choose to advance, you take your time token and place it on the space directly in front of your opponent, collecting one button per space you missed.  Can the person if front choose to do this?  No, because it is always the turn of the person in the back.  Even if you’re right on top of them, you’ll still get a button.

Taking and placing a patch is a bit more involved.  In fact, it’s a five-step process.

  1. Choose a patch.  You can choose any one of the three patches in front of the neutral token in clockwise order.
  2. Move the neutral token.  Place it next to your chosen patch.
  3. Pay for the patch.  Each patch costs a certain number of buttons.
  4. Place the patch on your quilt board.  The quilt board is a 9×9 grid of squares, and the patches are all similar to Tetris pieces (though often made up of more than four squares).  Patches may not overlap and must stay on the grid.
  5. Move your time token.  Each patch also costs a certain amount of time.  Move that many spaces.  It now may be your opponent’s turn, or it may be yours again.

As you move around the time board, you may pass a special patch.  These are one square tiles that can patch up those single spaces on your board.  Of course, you have to be the first one there to get it.  Also, as you cross buttons on the track, the patches on your quilt award you with new button income.

When both time tokens reach the last space of the time board, the game is over.  Add up the total number of buttons you have left and subtract two points per empty space on your quilt board.  The first player to fill in a 7×7 area on their board is awarded a special tile worth seven points.  The person with the highest score wins.  If there’s a tie, the first one to cross the finish line on the time track wins.

I love puzzle games, and this one looks like a good one.  There’s the spatial aspect of putting together your quilt mixed with the strategy of picking the correct pieces at the correct time, trying to maximize your cash flow, and looking ahead to see what is coming up.  It looks like a really good quick game that can provide a lot of depth in a short amount of time.  It’s unique too – I can’t think of anything quite like it.

Now that I’ve written this whole post, I’ve looked around and it seems to be out of stock everywhere.  Hopefully that means that it’s popular enough that a reprint is coming.  Thanks for reading!

LINKS:

*I’m fully aware that firstable is not a word.  But I just wanted to see if anyone got mad at me for it.  I promise never to use it again.

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