AttackPhase Review: Patchwork
This morning when I went to answer the call of nature, my bathroom light had burned out. It’s a weird, introspective experience, taking care of business in an almost pitch black room, a thin lazer beam of light framing the door to the outside world. Anyway, I had to get light bulbs and on my walk to the hardware store I passed this little gem of a gaming shop. Located on Roncesvalles in Toronto, Sweet Thrills focuses on candy and games.
Deciding to grab a game to review, I walked in and asked the owner what the new hotness was in two player gaming. He guided me to the back of the store where his small but formidable games section is housed. He then showed me a game called, “Patchwork” by German creator Uwe Rosenberg. My wife is a reluctant gamer but she loves to quilt so finding this game was a little bit serendipitous. I grabbed it and headed home.
Patchwork is basically a strategy based game mixed with a race-against-time theme. You and your opponent are both trying to fill your quilt board first and to do this you need fabric. Buying fabric requires currency in the form of buttons which you get by moving your player token. The more expensive pieces of fabric give currency bonuses. One thing that stands out right away is the simplicity of this game; it’s stripped down and can be enjoyed by kids and still maintains complexity and dynamics that older, more experienced gamers will appreciate.
Upon opening the box, I was pleased to see a bunch coloured and patterned style quilt pieces, a playing board for taking turns and blue button pieces which are used for currency. The whole game has an easy on the eyes, country style look to it and while this is a competitive game, it looks to focus on strategy and fun. To start a game, the fabric tokens are placed in a rough circle and the neutral peg is placed in between two of the pieces of fabric. Players can only choose to buy fabric in front of the peg so it’s important to keep track of where it is during the game. Once you’ve finished setting the fabric out, both players grab their quilt boards, flip a coin to decide who goes first and away we go!
Game play consists of two options, moving or buying. Movement rewards you with buttons which are used to buy fabric. If you choose to buy, look at the three pieces of fabric in front of the neutral peg: these are your choices for purchase. Once you’ve decided, simply pay for the fabric, move the peg to where the piece was you just purchased and your opponent now has a completely different set of puzzle pieces to choose from. It’s so simple and yet you can already sense the subtle under currents of strategy. Being able to see each others boards adds to the drama; do you get the feeling you opponent is going to need a certain piece? Try and scuttle them by moving the neutral peg ahead and make them choose something else! The first person to fill their board gets the, “7×7” bonus tile and gets an extra 7 buttons. At this point both players tally up their buttons and the winner is decided.
If you’re looking for a quick and fun two player game involving some abstract thought and problem solving strategy, Patchwork is a great place to start. If you can’t get over to Sweet Thrills, you can head over to Amazon to pick up a copy. Now I gotta go change some light bulbs. Cheers!