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MAYFAIR GAMES and LOOKOUT GAMES present a Uwe Rosenberg 2-Player Boardgame

Uwe Rosenberg has created a cracking 2-player puzzle game using pieces that appear to have been cut straight from the computer game TETRIS. However in Patchwork the pieces are not falling from the sky but are instead randomly placed around the centre-board in a single consecutive circle. 

The Players are trying to fill their own quilt, a 9x9 square board onto which they lay the pieces they buy. The game’s mechanic allows the players to move the neutral dobber around the outer circle 1-3 places; the player having to buy the piece they opt to place the dobber next to.

Pieces are bought with buttons. Players begin the game with a few buttons and gain more by moving their own ID pieces on the main central board either as their turn or according to the puzzle piece that they purchase. Puzzle pieces have a cost in buttons and usually also have a movement value.

When a player buys a piece they must put it on their own quilt, the idea being to fill up every square on their quilt board. On the centre-board are printed button which when landed on or passed over give the player more buttons from the supply, the number according to the buttons already showing on the pieces already placed on the player’s own quilt.

   

Also on the centre-board are 5 single square pieces the first player to reach each of them takes it and immediately places it on their board. If they are lucky this will fill in an odd space the misshapen games pieces often accidentally form – even with careful placement an odd space may occur.

If a player manages to create a full block of 7 x 7 then they are given the 7 point bonus tile. The winning player is the one with the most buttons once both players ID pieces have reached the end of the track.

It takes a fair bit of planning to be able to complete the quilts as the players can see what pieces are going to become available but have to be cunning and manoeuvre the dobber so that the other player leaves alone the piece that you want, and you have the button money available to purchase it. Every puzzle piece has a cost, from zero up to seven, always paid in buttons.

  

There are a couple of anomalies as far as the design and the rules go, at least we seem to think there are. The buttons and the single pieces on the centre-board are placed across two spaces and you get their bonus by landing on them or passing over them. For example; at which point are you deemed to have “landed” on a button when it is spread across the seam of two spaces – the first or the second space it occupies? And this then brings us to the other rules anomaly; at which point are you deemed to have passed over the button – when you land on the second space or when you clear the second space ?

If a player chooses to move as their turn they simply move their ID marker on the track to one space beyond their opponent’s marker; scoring one button for every space they move over. You do not get these bonus buttons if you move because of the purchase of a puzzle piece; though you do get the onboard bonuses if they occur when you move (at least the rules tend to suggest that you do).

This is a good game of choice making and chance taking, with a simple mechanic and rules that take only a few sentences spread out amidst numerous illustrations and examples. Every game will be the same, because of the mechanic, but different because of the random setup of the pieces and the decisions made by the players. You need to be fairly good at depth perception as once placed on your quilt the pieces may not be moved and have also foresight to be able to spot which pieces will make for the best quilt.

© Chris Baylis 2011-2015