“Patchwork is a relaxing and satisfying puzzle game with high replayability!”
Publisher: Lookout Games
Designer: Uwe Rosenburg
Artist: Klemens Franz
Game Type: Abstract Strategy, Puzzle
Initial Year of Release: 2014
Age Range: 8+
Expected Playtime: 15-30 min
Number of Players: 2
Theme and What is it?
You are a textile artist who is using leftover pieces of fabric (patches) to make a quilt. You are trying to make the best quilt possible, but the patches are all different shapes and can be hard to fit together. Choose your patches and their location carefully to try to make a better quilt than your opponent! Patchwork is a primarily a spatial puzzle game.
Each player gets a 9 x 9 grid (quilt) that they can cover in patches. The patches are arranged in a circle on the table, and a starting pawn placed in between two patches in the circle.
On a player’s turn, they can select from the three patches in front of the starting pawn. If they select a patch, they must move the pawn in front of the patch, pay the cost of the patch (in buttons), and then move their player marker forward on the time track. Then, the player must place their patch on their player grid, rotating and flipping the piece however they like.
If a player chooses not to purchase a patch, they can move their player marker forward on the time track to the space right in front of their opponent, and get as many buttons as they moved spaces. If at any time a player crosses a button on the time track, they get a button income equal to the number of buttons on their quilt.
Once both players have reached the last space of the time track, the game is over. Players get positive points for buttons and negative points for empty squares on their quilt. There is a bonus token for the first player to completely fill in a 7 x 7 space on their quilt.
It’s very quick to get started – the rules are simple and there are not many decisions to make in the first few turns. However, as the game continues on and there are fewer pieces that will fit in your quilt, it gets more tense and decisions take longer as players have to balance finding the perfect piece, getting enough button income, and making sure “time” doesn’t run out. It feels very Tetris-like and would be great for those who love spatial puzzles.
Game Build Quality
The game has relatively few components – the patches, buttons, player board, and time track are thick double sided chipboard. The patch selection pawn and two player markers are standard wooden pieces. The components are good quality and feel appropriate for the price point.
Each patch has a unique shape and pattern and is reminiscent of an early 1900s scrap bin, which fits very well with theme. A nice visual touch is the double sided time tracker – both play the same way, but you can choose the one you like the look of better. The colors are a little muted, but I think this was a good decision as it prevents the pieces from clashing too much and it makes the finished quilts visually appealing no matter what pieces you end up choosing.
As a puzzle lover and frequent two player gamer, I love this game! I would categorize it as more satisfying than exciting, but still very enjoyable. It also isn’t very directly competitive until the very end – even if your opponent takes the piece you want, there usually is something else that would work, which can be good for gaming pairs that don’t like conflict. There is high replayability as the pieces become available in a random order.
Age Range & Weight
The suggested age is 8 and older, which seems appropriate. Kids as young as 6 could probably still play and follow the rules correctly but the artwork and theme may not be vibrant enough to hold their interest. The game play is light enough to have a conversation while playing but can be heavier the more moves ahead you plan. Most games take less than 30 minutes and I usually end up playing a few in a row.
Patchwork is a relaxing and satisfying puzzle game with high replayability. It’s very quick to teach, quick to set up, and is great for new gamers and experienced gamers alike!