Game Length: 15 minutes
Best enjoyed: With 2 players who want a light and non-confrontational tile-laying pattern game
Patchwork is a light 2-player tile placement game where players take turns purchasing Tetris-like patches and placing them on their grid. Victory will go to the player with the highest score at the end of the game, where players are penalised for having empty spaces on their grid at the end.
Players start by placing patches in a large circle around a central board, and placing a token to indicate the starting point. Players will be able to purchase the next three patches from this token in a clockwise direction, and after purchasing the token will be moved up to the position where the purchased piece was.
Each patch available to be placed on the board has a cost in both time and buttons, where buttons are Patchwork’s currency. These prices will vary from patch to patch, and a large but unwieldy patch may be similar in price to a much smaller but easier to position patch – but the larger piece, if it can be worked in, will be of much greater benefit when it comes to final scoring! Patches may also have buttons sewn into them – these grant a bonus income that players will start to receive regularly.
Time is represented on a central board, and players will move along this board when they add patches to their board. Whoever is behind will have the next turn, and it’s possible to have multiple turns in a row if you can add a number of small patches to your board after your opponent adds a larger one. If you pay attention to your opponent’s board, you can try to purchase pieces that prevent him from getting a crucial piece that he needs to fill a gap in his pattern, or jump forward in time at the right point to secure one of the useful single-space leather patches available.
Patchwork is a very visually-appealing game, and the sturdy cardboard patches and button tokens add a lot of charm. It is very easy to teach and learn, and those who enjoy filling in spaces will be immediately drawn to the game. Patchwork also manages to avoid being too confrontational, a difficult feat for two player games, so there won’t be as many hard feelings after playing as a more aggressive game.
Patchwork isn’t a particularly deep game but there is a lot of room for tactics, as players decide what to take in response to their opponents and try to edge each other out of the remaining pieces towards the end of the game, when few of the larger pieces will fit on a player’s board.
If you have any fondness for Tetris-like puzzles, you’ll find placing the patches in Patchwork very satisfying. Patchwork comes highly recommended to those wanting a light and non-confrontational two player game.