Sometimes it’s nice to play a game that has no complexity in it’s rules. Patchwork is exactly that. It’s a fun and simple game, easy to start, challenging, for all ages and it has a small puzzle factor. Patchwork is a game designed by Uwe Rosenberg, known from games such as Agricola, Le Havre, Caverna and so on…

The game is designed for 2 players and each player has a board, which represents a blanket for your patches and in the center of the table there’s a board for progress tracking. That is an important piece to determine the end of the game. Before you can start playing, randomly place all the patch pieces in an oval shape surrounding the progress board. Once you’ve done that you give each player 5 buttons, place the big wooden (neutral) pawn right behind the smallest piece of patch to determine the starting point and decide the starting player.

Patchwork progress board Patchwork progress board

What you need to know:

The goal for each player is to fill up as much of the empty tiles on your blanket as possible. In the end the one with the least empty spaces is likely to win. The amount of buttons and an extra bonus tile can still make a difference to who will be the final winner.

There are only 2 real actions a player can do in this game:

  1. Move your personal time pawn forward on the progress board
  2. Stitch a patch to your blanket

Patchwork progress board Patchwork progress board

Stitch a patch

It starts by when a player chooses to take a patch. The player has to put the neutral pawn next to the chosen patch. But keep in mind, it can only be one of the 3 first patches that are in front of the neutral pawn’s origin point. The player pays the amount mentioned on the label and then stitches the patch on the blanket. The neutral pawn’s new origin spot will then be the place where once the last stitched patch was.

The 3 patches right before the pawn are always the only selection a player can choose from. And choosing the right patches is influenced by a few things:

  • the amount of buttons it delivers
  • the amount of time and buttons you have to pay for it
  • does it fit somewhere on your board?

Patchwork progress board

These are things you have to weigh for yourself. Because time is measured on that progress tracking board I mentioned earlier. Once you reach the center, the game ends (for everyone).

Move forward

To keep on buying buttons you need to have buttons. There are 2 ways of gaining buttons:

  • Hopping over regular tiles on the progress board, you’ll receive a button per tile you hopped on during that turn.
  • And hopping over a special button tile. Once you hop on or over one of these, you’ll get the amount of buttons that are represented on your blanket + one button per hopped over regular tile.

Patchwork progress board

Special leather patch tile

If you hop over a special tile with a brown leather patch, you can immediately place it on your blanket. But only the first one hopping over that specific tile will gain that benefit.

Bonus tile

There is a special bonus tile that will only be rewarded to the player who manages to have a patched area of minimum 7 by 7 on their blanket. This immediately counts as 7 points.

Patchwork progress board

So who won?

Every button in your possession counts as a point, the special bonus tile is worth 7 points and every empty spot on your blanket counts as -2.

So add all those things together and the player who has the highest value is the winner!

Patchwork progress board

Final conclusion

Patchwork is a very relaxed 2-player game, altough it can get tense when your opponent snatches the patch you so desperately where aiming for, right from under your nose. But it’s fun!

Benefits certainly are:

  • approachable for all ages
  • quick setup and limited set of rules
  • can be played in a relatively short time!
  • the game mechanics make it challenging
  • it’s like a manually operated Tetris!
  • it requires some thinking
  • language independent! Except for the rules, but they can be found online.
  • there’s app for that! (iOS and Android)

Personal complexity score: 1/5

So if you have any more questions or suggestions, please let me know!

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