Strategic Depth: Beginner
Setup Time: <5 mins.
Play Time: 20 to 30 mins.
Mechanics: Puzzle, Tile Placement, Abstract
Production Info: 2014 | Mayfair Games | Uwe Rosenberg
Patchwork is a 2-player game where each player is charged with stitching together the most valuable quilt. This unique Tetris-styled game incorporates building an engine to generate buttons (the currency in this game) that lets you purchase various pieces of fabric in order to complete your 9x9 quilt. You'll need to choose your patches carefully and keep a healthy supply of buttons to not only finish your quilt, but to make a better and more beautiful (valuable) quilt than your opponent's.
- The Good -
Tetris Meets Engine Building
What I absolutely love about Patchwork is the concept of not only figuring out how to get all these Tetris-like pieces to fit together, the pieces also earn you certain amounts of currency throughout the game.
Easy to Teach and Play
Patchwork is extremely easy to teach and new players can be competitive within the first 1-2 plays of this game. This combined with the approx. 20 minutes of game length make Patchwork a perfect filler game before starting up a more lengthier board game.
Game Length is Perfect and Consistent
With Patchwork's unique Time board and turn mechanic, the time it takes to play this game is going to be pretty consistent and predictable.
- The Bad -
Let's face it, for most people quilting is not something that instills excitement. Every time I suggest playing Patchwork to someone new, I am always prepared for a negative response or a snide comment about knitting (which is probably even more offensive to quilters!). I wish a little more thought went into choosing the theme with this game.
Placement of the "Special Patches" & "Button" Icons
I don't know why the decision was made to place the special patch/button indicators between two spots on the Time Board. There is always confusion on if you obtain one of these tokens by landing on the space before or after the respective icon. I honestly don't understand the reasoning to not align with virtually every other board game made and place the icons in the space where you need to land in order to achieve it.
Sometimes You Can Get Stuck
There are always pluses and minus to laying pieces out randomly in a game. Unfortunately for Patchwork, there are times where three very expensive patches happen to be the only option early in the game when you can’t afford them. This causes you to play leap frog with your opponent, slowly scrapping together buttons one at a time until one of you can afford one of the three patches and both of you can move on to more affordable options.
I’ve read in forums that this should be very rare in occurrence, however, this has happened to me at least three times that I can remember out of maybe 15 plays. Because of this, I would recommend looking over the patches prior to the start of the game and ensuring that the expensive patches are spread out.
Lack of Box Insert
This may seem petty, but I really hate when games don't have practical box inserts to keep the game components organized. A good box insert can make game setup/tear-down time much more efficient. Unfortunately, Patchwork doesn't come with any box insert at all and you are left to just dump all the components on the table and separate everything out.
- Overall -
Patchwork is going to be a perfect game for players who appreciate puzzles and also like to play engine-building games. Uwe Rosenberg who has created some of my favorite board games of all-time (Agricola, Viticulture) really married the two styles of gameplay very well.
While I personally favor board games that are weighted more on strategic thinking and interaction, I often prefer to play Patchwork over other puzzle games due to the engine building mechanic.
Bottom Line: Patchwork is a great filler board game that combines the mechanics of puzzles and engine building into a fantastic two-player experience.
The following summaries are meant to be a high-level reminder of how to play this game. If this is your first time playing, we highly recommend that you read your board game's included rule book which will go into much more depth. You can download a digital PDF copy of the official rules by clicking the button below. There are also a few video tutorials near the bottom of this section to help all you visual learners out as well.
- Setup Overview -
Each player takes a quilt board, a time token, and 5 buttons
Place the Time Board in the middle of the table and spread the Patch pieces in a circle around it
Place the Time tokens on the starting space
Locate the 1x2 Patch piece, the Neutral token resides to the left of this piece (so essentially it is the last piece in the circle)
Remember, movement is in CLOCKWISE order
Place the brown Special patches on the marked spaces of the Time Board
- Who Goes First? -
The person who last used a needle goes first.
- Game Play/Player Turns -
The player who is behind always takes their turn until they are ahead of their opponent on the track. There are two actions you can take on your turn:
A. ADVANCE AND RECEIVE BUTTONS
If you do not want to make a purchase or cannot afford any of the available three patches, you have the option to move your time token on the Time board so that it occupies the space directly in front of your opponent's Time token. You receive 1 button per space you moved your time token.
B. PURCHASE AND PLACE A PATCH
Choose a Patch out of the next three patches in front of the Neutral Token
Move in clockwise order
Must be able to afford the patch your select
Move the Neutral Token to your choose patch
Pay for the Patch according to the blue button number
Place the Patch on your Quilt Board
Once placed you may not move it for the remainder of the game
Move Your Time Token
After passing over a Special Patch space, you may pick up the Special Patch from the Time Board. You must place the Special Patch immediately onto your Quilt board.
After passing over a Button icon on the Time Board, you may collect a button for every button icon currently on your Quilt Board.
The Special Tile
The first player to completely fill a 7x7 square of spaces on their Quilt Board receives the Special Tile, which is worth 7 points at the end of the game.
- End Of Game -
The game ends after both Time Tokens have reached the last space of the Time Board. Players score based on the number of buttons they have left less 2 points for every empty space on their Quilt Board.
- Winning -
The winner is the person who has the highest score
- Tie Breakers -
In case of a tie, the player who got to the final space of the Time board first wins.
- Great Instructional Videos -
Here's a few helpful instructional videos you or your group can watch to learn how to play this game visually.
Do you collect buttons for the 7x7 Bonus?
No, this achievement only adds 7 points to your end score
Do you collect buttons when only moving?
What happens if neither player can purchase the three patches available?
You will essentially play leapfrog with your opponent and collect buttons based on moving through the Time Table. Once a player can afford a piece, they will need to purchase it in order to progress the game. I HIGHLY recommend inspecting your patch pieces prior to starting and making sure higher costing patches are spread out among the cheaper ones.
Do you pick up a patch when you pass the icon or when you land on either tile (before/after) touching the icon?
You only earn buttons or pick up a special patch (if still available) when you CROSS the icon on the board.
Can you move patch tiles once they are placed on your Quilt board?
Do you move the Neutral Token clockwise or counterclockwise?
Do you start the game with the Neutral Token behind or in front of the 2x1 patch piece?
The Neutral Token always starts in front (to the left) of the 2x1 patch piece. This ensures this piece is the last one in the circle since it is so valuable in patching up holes.
Can the first player pass on his/her first turn?
The first player's Time Token starts effectively on top of the second player's. Therefore, if he/she chooses to pass, they would move their Time Token on space forward and collect a button.
Do you need to play the single Special Patches immediately?
Yes, once a Special Patch is obtained, you must place it on your board immediately and it cannot be move later on in the game.
Who’s turn is it if you are both on the same space?
The turn would go to the last player to reach that space or the player piece that is stacked on top of the residing player piece.
Why don't my patch pieces fit together very well?
The patch pieces should be cut to where you can easily fit any combination of pieces together. If your pieces are not fitting together, you more than likely received a counterfeit board game. To resolve this issue, you can use a form on Asmodee's website to request the proper patches. I personally experienced this with a purchase via Amazon and was easily able to get replacement pieces sent to my home for free.
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Highest Price: $114.32 (May 29, 2015)
Lowest Price: $6.88 (Nov 07, 2016)
Average Price: $25.53
*According to CamelCamelCamel.com (05/06/2018)
Expanding The Game
There are no expansions currently available for Patchwork but many people will upgrade the button components with real blue buttons.
If you like how this board game plays, you'll definitely want to check out these great games which play similar.