#19 – Patchwork


At a Glance: Patchwork is one of the best 2-player games money can buy. It’s just as much about getting new personal bests as it is beating your opponent.

Patchwork is a game for 2 players where the object is to create a quilt square from various pieces around the board to optimize space, time, and points, which are represented by blue buttons. Each player starts with a 9×9 grid and the patch pieces are laid out in a circle around the center board with a grey marker placed between two of the pieces. On your turn you may choose one of the 3 pieces clockwise from the grey marker and place it on your grid. Each piece has a button cost you must pay and a time cost, which you then move on the center board which keeps track of time. The player who is behind on the time track always goes next, so you may have more than one turn in a row. Some pieces have 1 or more buttons shown on them, which means that whenever you pass a button space on the board, they contribute to your button income. Also, if you cannot or do not wish to get a tile, you may move to the space right in front of your opponent and gain as many buttons as spaces you moved. Players will make themselves around the board, fitting quilt patches onto their square, and increasing their button supply until both players move into the final center space of the track. Then, whoever has the most points wins. This is determined by number of buttons minus 2 points for each empty space on their grid. Also, there is a bonus tile worth 7 points for being the first to complete a solid 7×7 square.

It is possible to get a negative score, especially in your first few plays. Instead of being disheartening, it’s motivating to always try to improve on your personal best. I think it is this way because of how enjoyable and satisfying the gameplay is. There is something about puzzle games like this where you are filling a grid, that satisfies in a therapeutic way. In a way, the pieces are like the tetrominoes in Tetris, and the game provides interesting crossroads decisions of either taking great tiles at the expense of also take up a bunch of time or settling for quicker, safer tiles. The button system is a simple but great economy. Knowing when you will get button income contributes to some of the decisions you make, and sometimes it may be best just to move in front of your opponent and gain some buttons. How time affects choice is a great challenging feature. Ultimately though, no matter what pieces you choose, every option feels cool as you’re “quilting”.

I had a Quilting course when I was in college where we studied the techniques, cultural significance, and history of quilts. It was one of my favorite courses. Quilting also runs in my family and I have a great appreciation for it. It is one of those arts that I hope is never lost. The visual quality of this game is great and it captures that patchwork style as the name suggests. If you like the craft of quilting this is for you. If you like 2-player games this is for you. If you like puzzles…you get the idea. This game works for everyone. There is a smooth satisfaction of playing this. It works casually and strategically. Excellent!

Check it out: https://amzn.to/2QuycXy

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