What's Eric Playing?

#28 – Patchwork


Base price: $25.
2 players.
Play time: ~30 minutes.
BGG Link
Buy on Amazon (via What’s Eric Playing?)

So in keeping with other fairly-oddly-themed games (such as trying to have the nicest Japanese vacation or writing romance / other novels for fun and profit or the complex economics of gem merchantry during the Renaissanceish Period) we now have Patchwork, the intense two-player duel game of … competitive quilting. You heard it here first, folks. You’ve got all these patches and you need to make the nicest quilt (which is a common problem for everyone), but you need to make sure you don’t leave too many holes, since, you know, a quilt with holes is like an umbrella with holes. Which is to say, not particularly useful.




So there should be three boards in there. The first one is the time board, which goes in the center. Note that it’s double-sided but one side is more confusing (albeit prettier) than the other side, so we tend to use the less-confusing side:

It’s something about the fact that the other side doesn’t have spots that are all the same size, even though MOST of the spots are the same size:

See how irritating that is? Though I definitely think it’s prettier, art-wise.

The two other boards are each player’s 9×9 quilt boards. They look like this:

There should also be a few tokens inside a small bag, like so:

The green and yellow ones are your player tokens, and they go on the time board (put the player going first’s token on top of the other; I’ll explain why later). Set aside the larger wooden token — that’s called the neutral player marker, and that’s used for the main gameplay. I’ll explain how in a second.

You’ll also likely notice that you have a lot of tiles:

Take or dump them out (however ceremoniously you choose to do so). There should be five small single-square patches, which conveniently go on the time board on the five single-square patch spots. It’s almost like this was planned. Take the remaining tiles and put them in a random circle around the time board (note that it probably won’t be super close to the time board since there are a lot of tiles). These are your patches. Find the 2×1 patch (it’s only one square tall and two wide; it’s the smallest piece) and place the neutral player marker in front of it (clockwise), like so:

Finally, dump out all the buttons and give each player five (preferably five of the single buttons rather than one of the five button pieces, but you do you). That’s your starting button count.

When your play area looks like this, you’re ready to begin:

Now whoever you chose to be first goes first. Let’s talk about how the game goes.


So, the cool thing is that this game plays very similarly to Tokaido, in the sense that whichever player is further back on the time board goes next, and this means that you might not have the same number of turns as your opponent. So let’s talk about that. On your turn, you can do one of two things:

In EITHER case, if you pass a button on the time board you collect buttons for every button on a patch on your quilt board (think of it as income). If you pass a single-piece patch square, you take that patch and add it to your board, for free. Note that both players earn buttons when they pass a button, but only the first player to pass the single-piece patch earns it. Also note that the first player to have a complete 7×7 square covered earns the 7×7 bonus tile (which cannot be added to your quilt board; it’s just a bonus), giving them 7 extra buttons when the game ends.

Play concludes when both players reach the center of the time board (and pass the final button threshold). To determine the winner, count your buttons and subtract two buttons for every square uncovered on your quilt board. Ouch. Add the extra seven buttons if you got the bonus. Player with the most buttons wins, but if you tie and need a tiebreaker, whoever got to the center first wins.

For a lot of people, your first score will be negative. That’s just life in the city, in the cruel underworld of competitive quilting.

If you’d prefer to avoid a negative score, let’s talk strategy (but no guarantees).


Yeah, we played kind of haphazardly my first game, so it was -2 to -6. We figured it out a bit more, but usually there’s an upward trend in scores. There are people on Instagram scoring > 30, which seems suspiciously like witchcraft to me. But who am I to judge?

Pros, Mehs, and Cons




Overall: 8.75 / 10

You know? Patchwork is a solid game that’s excellently locked at a two-player count, meaning you can sit down with a friend and quilt it out. I think it adds a lot of variety to any collection both in terms of theme but also in terms of smart gameplay. It’s almost like competitively trying to make a puzzle, but the other player can steal pieces that you want, which makes it really challenging but also fun! I’d strongly encourage anyone looking to try out a two-player only game to add it to their collection, though I’ve heard an app is on the way

And, indeed, it is.