Have you ever make a quilt? Not everyone knows about quilts and how to make them. Based from Wikipedia, Quilt is a multi-layered textile, traditionally composed of three layers of fiber: a woven cloth top, a layer of batting or wadding, and a woven back, combined using the technique of quilting, stitches which hold the three layers together. Historically quilts were frequently used as bed covers; this use persists today, but quilts also frequently are non-utilitarian works of art.
Quilts are distinguished from other types of blanket because they are pieced together from several layers of cloth by stitches or ties. Where a single piece of fabric is used for the top, (a “whole cloth quilt”), the key decorative element is likely to be the pattern of stitching, but where the top is “pieced” from a patchwork of smaller fabric pieces, the pattern and color of the pieces will be important.
So yes, not everyone knows about Quilting and not everyone give a damn. For some this is a work of art, for others, it’s a boring and requires some sets of skill to do it, and yes it relates to female activity. But guess what, Uwe Rosenberg, the man behind the famous Agricola and Caverna designed a 2-player game based on this as it’s theme and it’s called Patchwork. So what players do in this game exactly? I am sure not fighting over someone else quilt. Two players will compete to get the most buttons while in the same time complete their quilt as whole as they (of course without leaving any hole or incomplete patches).
The game was published in 2014 by Lookout Games and several other publishers for localization. It was launched as a part of Uwe Rosenberg’s 2-player game series just like Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small and Le Havre: The Inland Port (the game box is just as the same size with these games, 7.67 x 7.67 x 1.77 inches).
It’s a small game, you can easily carry it around, but of course not in your pocket, it’s not a pocket-sized game after all. In this game, each player will have his own patch board (empty at first) to begin with and get starting buttons (buttons are the main currency in this game, just consider it as money). There is a time board that’s placed in the center and players will randomize various shaped and sized tiles to circle this board. Place a marker on the smallest size of the tile, the game starts with the marker from this place. Players will take turns to do an action until the game ends, when all players time markers already reach the last place on the track.
The actions that a player can take are either take a patchwork tile or advance his time marker. When taking a tile, a player can only take one from the available 3 tiles in front of the tile marker currently on. Each tile has it’s cost, whether in buttons, time or both. To take a tile, a player will have to pay the cost (return an amount of buttons to the supply or advance his time marker along the track or both) and place the tile onto empty spaces on his board. The placement must be legal, which has to follow these requirements, the whole part of the tile must be placed onto empty space on the board, no part of the tile should be placed out of the board, and the tile cannot overlapping another tile previously placed on the board. If paying the cost of time makes a player time marker pass on a button icon on the time track, the player will receive income from his board based on the amount of button icons available on tiles he placed on his board. And also if his time marker pass on a single bonus tile, he takes that tile (as long as it’s not yet taken by other player) and must immediately place it on his board. This is the only way a players can patch a single hole on his board. Once a player time marker reaches the last place, his turn ends. If his opponent is not done yet, he wait until his opponent reach the end space.
The other action is to advance his own time marker up into one space after his opponent’s marker currently at and gain buttons as many spaces as the time marker advanced. If this action lead the marker pass over button icon and/or single bonus tile, it triggers the effect(s). Also the first player who complete 7×7 grid tile on his board, he’ll receive a bonus worth 7 points at the end of the game.
After all players finish their turns, they count their buttons and then subtract it with their minus points from empty spaces (-2 points for each empty space). The player with most buttons wins the game.
Patchwork is a simple game that only lasts for about 20-30 minutes, but unfortunately the space you need to play the game is not practically small in terms with other small games, it takes over a dining table for 2 to play this game. The rules are simple where casuals and non-gamer alike are able to play instantly. The twist is that the game has very deep calculations to do better optimized moves. So it’s hard to master but easy to play. Experienced players do better in this game compared to new players. This game requires highly calculated decisions to manage outcomes over incomes, whether the tile you’re trying to get is worth the cost or not. Larger and unusual shaped tiles are usually cheap and can cover large spaces on your board but not gives many buttons during income, while smaller and simple ones usually have expensive cost, but give more buttons. So players need to balance their outcomes with the potential income regarding the timing of the tile comes into place in the board. It’s interesting and full of important choices for some of those who find this calculated mathematics formulas as interesting puzzle. It’s purely abstract and those who doesn’t like abstract games might just not like this game, but who knows? This game can also works as a medium to teach children about simple math but still engaging in the game element.
But how about the replay value, considering that experience players will get the hang of it eventually to optimize their moves, fortunately the main challenge not lies in the game, but in your opponents. So it will still engaging as long you have a challenging opponent to play with.