A to Z Gaming: Patchwork

Patchwork pieces

We stitched up quilts with scraps of fabric in Patchwork, the next game in our A-Z game shelf play-through.

Basic Info: Patchwork
Players: 15-30
Time: 20 Minutes
Designers: Uwe Rosenberg
Artists: Klemens Franz
Publisher: Mayfair Games

Patchwork is a game where players are each stitching together odd-shaped fabric pieces into a busy quilt. This is accomplished by buying polyomino-shaped tiles and playing them onto their board while trying to avoid holes. Whoever can use their time and buttons the wisest will win.

The game is set up with the time track at the center of the table with the 1×1 patch pieces placed on the marked locations on the track. The player markers are stacked on top of each other on the first space of the track, with the start player’s token on top. The 7×7 achievement tile is placed near the time track. The other tiles are placed randomly in a circle around the central board. Then the large wooden pawn is placed next to the 1×2 piece, clockwise around the circle. Finally, players each take the player board matching their marker color and five buttons.

Players don’t necessarily take every-other turn. Instead, the player marker that’s furthest behind on the time track will take the next turn, and if the pieces are stacked, the player whose marker is on top takes the next turn.

On their turn, the player will either spend time or add a piece to their quilt. To spend time, they simply move their player marker to the next spot in front of the other player’s marker, counting the spaces as they go. For each space they’ve moved, they get a button.

To add a piece to their quilt, the player chooses one of the three tiles in front of the large wooden marker, going clockwise from the marker. They pay the button cost on it, place it in on their quilt board, and then move their time marker the number of spaces indicated by the hour glass on their just-placed tile.

If the player’s marker passes a button icon on the time track, either by playing a piece or spending time, they collect income equal to the number of buttons on their quilt. If their marker is the first to pass over a 1×1 patch, they immediately place it on their quilt. Also, the first player to complete a 7×7 area on their quilt board claims the 7×7 achievement tile.

Play continues until both player markers have reach the center of the board. Then players total up their buttons, subtracting 2 for each empty space on their quilt board. Player with the most buttons wins.

I honestly don’t remember when we picked this up, but it feels like it has been in our collection forever. We play a lot of 2-player games … or at least a lot of games with just two players … so this seemed like a no-brainer to have in our collection.

I like polyomino-tile-laying games, and this one is no exception. The push and pull of figuring out which pieces to draft is such a delightful challenge. Do you pick the piece that fits perfectly on your quilt board but has no buttons? Grab the one with all the buttons but that takes a lot of time? Or maybe take a couple some less-ideal pieces so you can grab more than one before your opponent’s turn? All of these decisions come together for a fun challenge.

How is it as a 2-player game? Well, it’s a 2-player-only game, so this one works really well at that player count. 😁

How about the art and component quality? The patchwork tiles are good quality and the art makes them look like delightfully ugly patches of fabric. Everything else works well and has held up to many, many plays.

Will this stay in my collection? Absolutely … though, I recently picked up the Halloween version of Patchwork, and it’s possible that we’ll ditch the original and just hang on to one. But in any case, there will be a version of Patchwork in my collection.

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