Patchwork

“Quilt-making is not just for little ol’ grannies any longer”

I’ve realized that I have a bit of a weakness in knowing head-to-head tabletop gaming. I became aware of this when I would work a shift at Pips and couples on dates that came to the cafe would ask, “What is a great two-player game to play?” I would freeze up, stare at the shelf that distinctly holds two player games, and then run the four player game shelf and suggest one of those instead, because they were the only ones I could comfortably teach…

I wanted to learn as many of these two player games as possible so that I at least have a repertoire of gaming that I can suggest to those daters. So I took home a copy of Patchwork, a popular game that many of the servers, managers, and the other games masters suggest when couples come in. At least I could teach another board game to couples right?

IMG_7260Patchwork is a 2-player tile placement game created by Uwe Rosenburg. This name should sound familiar to many table top gamers as he is the creator of the ever popular worker placement game Agricola, and one of the first card games I played in University, Bohnanza. The goal of Patchwork is to create a patchwork quilt using random tile pieces representing patches. Players buy pieces using their income, represented by buttons, and earn more by having buttons on their own quilt. The player who is able to earn the most buttons and leave the least amount of blank space on their quilt is the winner.

The pieces themselves look similarly to tetrominos . The block pieces vary in size and shape and depending on which one you pick, will either place together nicely, or become a challenge when putting them on the grid. Each piece is unique and players have to be strategic and flexible when selecting their pieces, because at any moment their opponent might be eyeing the same piece that will perfectly fit in their own quilt.IMG_7262

Timing is key when playing Patchwork. It uses an interesting mechanic similar to Tokaido in that turn order is determined by the player who is in the back of the line on the timeline. This means that players could buy multiple pieces as long as they don’t take up too much “time” to sew, and they have the income to buy the pieces. However, there are advantages for being in the front of the line as well. If you pass the button spaces on the time line you get more income, and if you are first to pass the leather patch, you gain a 1 x 1 square, which will help fill gaps that are otherwise difficult to fill with the current pieces available. Also, a seven button bonus is given to the first player who can create a 7 x 7 sized quilt somewhere on their game board. A player thus has to juggle between buying pieces, earning income, and constructing an effective quilt, all within a limited amount of time.

IMG_7261Patchwork is an intricate game that will entertain a pair of people. That being said, that is also one of its flaws. The game is only fit for two people; if you’re looking for a group game, this isn’t the game you want. I’ve read up on different forums in which people wanted to try to mix multiple copies of the game together so that more people could play at the same time, but it resulted in negative feedback. This game was designed so that two people could have a battle of wits with each other.

Patchwork is a tight-knit game that will be highly dependent on the decisions that you and your opponent make. It doesn’t have the stressing foresight, like in chess where you could be waiting for hours just so that your opponent can make a move. And even though Patchwork has straightforward gameplay,  it is not as simple as it seems. Players have to balance between the different actions in order to create an optimal quilt. This puzzle game is a lot of fun, easy to learn and great way to get to know somebody, which is why I now recommend this game to every couple that comes into Pips. If you want a great dueling game, Patchwork is for you.

Pros:

  • Simple, easy game to learn
  • Intricately designed game that change instantly from decisions made.
  • Quick to play; can get multiple games in one go.

Cons:

  • It’s only for two people.
  • Game doesn’t change much.
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