One of the things I love about being married is being able to play board games with my wife. The only problem is that there aren’t so many games that we enjoy playing together. So when I read the review of Patchwork over at The Game Aisle earlier this summer, I immediately bought it to see if this would finally be the game that both of us would equally enjoy.
Publisher: Mayfair Games
Suggested Age: 8+
Number of Players: 2
Playing Time: 15-30 minutes
In Patchwork, two players make a quilt out of an assortment of fabric pieces. Players will take turns buying different shaped patches and placing them on their quilt board. Each patch has two costs associated with them. First, you need to pay a certain number of buttons, which serve as the game’s currency and points. Second, each patch will cost a certain amount of “time,” which you’ll keep track of on the time-tracking board placed in the middle of the table. The game ends when both players’ markers reach the finish area and the winner is whoever has the most points at the end.
You essentially have two goals over the course of the game: fill in your quilt board and increase your income. Some turns you can accomplish both at the same time, but other turns you’ll have to choose one or the other!
So the first thing you’re trying to do is complete your quilt board. It’s important to fill as many spaces as possible because you lose 2 points for every unfilled space you have on your quilt board when the game ends. At the same time, you’re also trying to increase your income. Once your player marker passes a button symbol on the time board, you’ll then receive income based on how many button symbols are currently on your quilt (you don’t count the buttons in your hand). Remember that the buttons serve as both currency and points, so having a high income is extremely important. There are many times when you’ll have to decide whether you’ll go for the patch that fits best on your board or the patch that increases your income.
I should also point out that you don’t always alternate taking turns. This is because the player whose marker is furthest from the finish area gets to play next. So this sometimes results in a player taking back-to-back turns, particularly when the patches they purchase have a low time cost.
Now there are some situations where won’t be able to afford any of the three patches you can purchase. Or, for whatever reason, you might not want to buy any of them. When this happens, you simply jump your marker ahead so that’s it’s one space in front of your opponent’s marker. Then you collect one button for every space you moved.
What I Like
This game offers the perfection combination of fun, simplicity, and strategy. I have to give major props to Uwe Rosenburg for his game design. Who knew that making your own “quilt” could be so much fun and strategic? My wife especially likes this game because it’s simple and tactile. She enjoys the process of physically piecing together a perfectly arranged quilt. On the flip side, I enjoy the game because there’s a depth to this game that goes beyond putting patch pieces on a board. Do I go for the patch that fills more squares on my quilt board? Or do I go for the patch that increases my income? Do I move ahead quickly to gain the single 1 x 1 patch pieces, or do I progress slowly so I can buy more patches than my opponent?
The game is short and quick. I love how fast this game plays! Even though the box says it’ll take approximately 30 minutes to finish, it only takes my wife and I about 20 minutes each time we play. This is made possible because the game limits your decisions
How to Make This Game Even Better
Normally this is where I talk about what I dislike about the game. The only problem is that I really like this game and so it’s really hard to say anything negative about it. So instead, I’d like to propose one small change that the game developers could consider for a future edition.
Include real buttons instead of cardboard buttons. I know that this would slightly increase the cost of the game, but I personally feel it would be a great improvement for the game thematically. They wouldn’t even have to have numbers on them. Small buttons would carry a value of 1 and large buttons would carry a value of 5.
I think Patchwork is absolutely brilliant. There’s just so much to enjoy! Whenever you pass one of the button symbols on the time board, it’s almost like you’re passing “GO” in Monopoly. Except rather than getting a fixed $200 every time, your income actually increases based on the decisions you’ve moved throughout the game. Piecing together your quilt has a sort of Tetris feel to it since you’re trying to make sure every patch fits perfectly on your board. And it’s wildly satisfying whenever you manage to find the perfect patches. If you like two player games, then you should definitely consider adding it to your collection. It’s great for couples, families, and pretty much anyone who loves small cute pieces like my wife. I heartily recommend this game!