Boardgames come with many different themes from agriculture to space travel, novel writing to saving the world. There is a board game with a theme to suit any taste. As someone who enjoys many different crafts I was drawn to Patchwork, although I have never actually done any patchwork myself. I normally play games with only one other person so the player count was perfect. I also managed to get a really good deal on the Czech version of the game, it is completely language independent so a quick visit to BoardGameGeek to print off the rules in English was all I needed to play.
Play is simple, you have only two resources to utilise – buttons (the currency) and time. On your turns you choose either to purchase one of the next three available patchwork pieces, paying the associated button and time cost, or to jump over your opponent on the time track and receive the number of buttons equal to the number of time spaces you moved. As whoever is behind on the time track takes turns until they overtake their opponent it is possible to choose your purchases in such a way as to allow you to purchase multiple pieces in a row.
Each chosen patchwork piece is played onto your player board. Once placed a piece cannot be moved (which makes thematic sense as you aren’t going to go around undoing all your hard work sewing them together). The aim is to cover as many squares as possible by the end of the game as each uncovered squares costs you -2 points. Some patchwork pieces include buttons, these are important as every so often on the time track you will cross a button line where you are awarded the number of buttons equal to the amount of buttons on your patchwork quilt. Also included on the time track are 1×1 leather patches. These are awarded to the first player to go past them, these are both good at filling in small gaps in your patchwork and are basically 2 free points.
Although the premise of the game is simple, there is a lot to consider when choosing your patchwork pieces and where to place them. It is important to think about the spaces you are leaving on your quilt and what pieces might be available to fill them. There is also a bonus 7 points for the first player to complete a 7×7 square (the board is a 9×9 square), however trying to complete this may make it difficult to fit the remaining patchwork pieces in towards the end of the game. Being able to mentally manoeuvre pieces around is a definite advantage.
Overall, this is an easy game to understand but a hard game to master. Although each turn offers only a few choices it is important to plan ahead and think about how you will use future turns, whilst anticipating which pieces your opponent may want.