Patchwork: I LOVE this 2-player game

Patchwork Box ARtI’ve been meaning to write this post since January, but honestly Toy Fair and other stuff got in the way.  I got Patchwork as a gift for Christmas and I’ve been playing in weekly since; it’s truly a great 2-player game.  (No need to read further just buy it.)

I’ll admit that when I first heard about the game I wasn’t really drawn to a game about patches and buttons.  Then I started hearing some good things and I asked a person at the Mayfair booth during a con how long it would take to play (since I tend to check out at ~30 minutes) and they said a solid 30 minutes.  So I just sort of put it out of my mind until I needed things to put on my Christmas list.  To clear up a few things: 1. Using buttons as currency is still a bit weird, but also kind of funny.  2. It does not take a “solid 30 minutes” at all and you can easily bang out a game in 15-20 minutes (which it says on the Mayfair site).  3. Have a mentioned that this game is really pretty awesome?

Patchwork Board

How to Play Patchwork

Each player has a grid that they’re trying to fill with “patches.”  Each patch costs a certain amount of buttons and if it has buttons on it, it will earn that number of buttons each time your token passes a “button bonus” space on the board (they’re the buttons on the path).  Each patch has a certain amount of “time” associated with it too and the “time” is simply how many spaces you move your token on the board.  That’s about it.  You start with 5 buttons, the player with the most buttons at the end wins — but the kicker is that for each open space on your grid you must pay a 2 button penalty.  The game ends when both tokens enter the finish area on the board (duh), but turns are not necessarily back and forth.  You see, who gets to take a turn is determined by whoever’s piece is further behind.  So if my opponent buys a patch that’s worth 6 time (moving their token 6 spaces) and they end up way ahead of me, I may want to take a piece that’s worth 2 time so that my token doesn’t move ahead of theirs and I get another turn.  The other thing is that you can’t take just any patch — they’re all laid out in a circle around the scoreboard and there’s a giant mover that sits between the patches that dictates which 3 are up for “sale.” (These would be the three directly in front of the mover).  Once a patch is purchased, the giant mover jumps to that space making a new set of 3 patches for sale.

My Thoughts on Patchwork

Patchwork CircleThe beauty of Patchwork is really in finding a balance between having loads of buttons on hand AND getting your board covered as much as you can.  The patches range in size, button cost, time cost, and shape. Once a patch is place it cannot be moved, so odds are that you’ll never make 2 of the same quilts because what’s available is limited and changes every time.  I also think that the limited availability of patches make the decision making process way less burdensome; there are times you can only afford 1 out of the 3 or the shape of a patch makes it a silly choice narrowing down your 3 choices.  Wonder what happens when you can’t afford any?  You jump your token ahead of your opponent’s and collect 1 button per space you’ve moved.  Easy, right?  Honestly, this game is so amazing because it’s simple to learn, but rich with strategy — without being cumbersome with decisions.

Patchwork Stats

~ $25 Patchwork at Amazon, and some local game retailers
2 players ONLY
~15-25 minutes
Ages 8+
UPDATE: If you like Patchwork, consider trying Cottage Garden from the same designer.  Slightly more complex play, still great for 2 players — but it can also be played by 1-4 players!  Link to Cottage Garden Review.


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  1. Chris Poon

    Great review, Kim! Your post is the reason why I bought Patchwork. And I also LOVE it. I’m planning on putting up a review of the game in an upcoming blog post. Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts with us!

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