Patchwork from Uwe Rosenberg is a two player (only two players) game where you are working on sewing a quilt using Tetroid shaped pieces to fill as much of your board as possible and generate the most income from your pieces. I promise you, this is no quilt show, my friends.
Players, in turn choose pieces from around the board in order to fill their player board and make a quilt which generates a ton of money, which will win them the game.
How it works:
Each player takes a player board and places their matching color tokens (the boards are shaded a bit) at the start space of the dual-sided turn board. Spread out the patchwork quilt around the board in a crazy oval shape. Place the patches (1×1 squares) on the game board. Place the pawn to the left of the 1×2 piece around turn board. Take a few buttons each. That’s it, the game is set up, nothing to it.
Now what begins to happen in your mind is the Tetris music begins playing (you know the tune) and you find yourself scratching your brain in an attempt to make the best darn, fully-filled quilt you possible can.
Not only are the quilt pieces the way to fill up your work space, they are also the machine you’re working on building to generate more income. On all of the pieces, you’ll see two icons in a box. These represent two things: first, how many buttons it takes to buy the piece and add it in to your quilt, and a time icon which shows how many spaces you move your pawn on the time board. On many of the pieces there are also button icons which is how many buttons you gain when your pawn crosses a button icon on the time board Buy a piece (that is one, two or, three spaces ahead of the pawn), move the purchase pawn to the left of the piece you just bought, pay your buttons, place your piece, move your token on the time board. Still simple, right?
A player can take one of two actions on their turn, either buying a quilt piece and moving their token the number of spaces listed on the quilt piece, or moving your pawn one space ahead of the other player, collecting one button for every space the moved. It should also be noted that turn order is based on who is furthest behind on the time board (time, duh). As you’re moving uacross the time board, you’ll encounter two things, either a button icon which generates you buttons based on how many buttons icons are in your quilt, and 1×1 patch pieces which are immediately taken from the board and placed in your own quilt, in case you need to plug up some holes.
Play continues like this until both players have reached the end of the time board and then you count buttons on hand for victory points, but subtract two points for every space you haven’t filled on your game board. Lastly, during the game, whoever completely fills a 7×7 grid on their quilt gains a special 7 point victory token, which is a game changer. Whoever has the most victory points wins. Still totally simple.
What I Think
Every part of the long explanation of game play above sounds 100% simple and straight forward, but therein lies the complexity. Each turn you have only three pieces you can select to fit into your quilt which presents you with the task of figuring out which piece best fits, which piece your opponent will benefit from, which piece way down the road you need and how to get there without you opponent screwing it up for you, and weighing the time factor to ensure you can buy when you most need to. For a game about building a quilt, the game has you scratching your head as you doubt your ability to form a simple square grid in the most effective way possible. It’s a puzzle within a puzzle, influenced by another person continually grabbing the pieces you were hoping to buy.
Add to this brain hurt the patches on the board, which you obviously need more than your opponent to fix your shambled Picasso quilt, and the elusive 7×7 victory token, and you’re faced with a game played on a hope and a prayer that the pieces you need to get your machine up, make your quilt more productive than your opponent, and fill every hole you see on your board. It’s a work of art of a game, one I enjoy playing every time just to see how much closer my decisions will take me to solving this puzzle and completing my darn quilt.