Welcome to The Game Shelf!

After getting into the board game hobby at the end of 2014, we've decided to share our thoughts on the games we're collecting on our shelves. The collection has certainly expanded over the last few years and we've been making up for lost time!

Sometimes our opinions differ, so Amy will be posting reviews every Tuesday and Fi will post on Thursdays. We hope you enjoy reading some of our opinions on board games - especially those for two players.

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Thursday 7 January 2016

Thoughts from The Yellow Meeple:- Patchwork

Game Title: Patchwork

Designer: Uwe Rosenberg

Manufacturer: Mayfair

Year: 2014

I think most people would associate Uwe Rosenberg with heavy euro games, but Patchwork is far from it. Patchwork is a 2-player tile laying game with the theme of creating an attractive patchwork quilt.

In Patchwork, each player takes a blank 9x9 board on which they should lay tiles to make their quilt. The different tiles, of many shapes and sizes, are laid out in a ring around the central timer. On your turn you may either spend buttons to buy one of the next 3 tiles in the ring – this is also like to cost you a varying amount of time. Otherwise, if you don’t want or cannot afford any of the next three tiles you can move forward to skip your opponent’s timer token.

The timer in the centre defines the length of the game and also the turn order. In this game you do not take alternate turns, the player who is furthest back on the timer is always the active player. There are also different rewards at certain stages of the board – these are either the important 1x1 tiles or the images of buttons. The first player to pass the 1x1 tile takes the tile and can use it to fill an awkward spot on their quilt. When wither player passes the button images they take buttons from the supply equal to the number of buttons showing on their current quilt.

The timer board. Players move forward the number of squares indicated on each piece of quilt they purchase or can skip ahead to earn buttons eg. the green token could move forward 3 spaces to jump over the yellow token and earn 3 buttons - yellow would then be  behind so it would be the yellow player's turn.
There is a very strong incentive to fill as much of the 9x9 board as possible, as each empty square gives a penalty of -2 points at the end of the game. There is also a bonus 7 points available for the first person to complete a 7x7 section of their board. In every game we’ve played the winner has been the player who receives this 7 point bonus, because the buttons often end up quite balanced because of how the tile economy works.

The yellow player has earned the 7 point bonus for completing a 7x7 square. Next time they pass a button image on the timer they will currently receive 14 buttons because 14 buttons are showing on their quilt.
The game tiles are very well balanced – tiles with many buttons on them (which later reward you with more buttons) cost more. Larger tiles, which fill up a lot of space on your player board, often cost a lot of time, which allows your opponent to potentially buy a couple of tiles before jumping your counter on the timer. However it gives many opportunities to play tactically and buy a large tile that is followed in the circle by 3 other large tiles so your opponent doesn’t get to buy too many nice small tiles to fill all of those awkward gaps.

Unfortunately I seem to be really bad at Patchwork and after rather a lot of consecutive losses, it has started to grind me down. I enjoy the game and I appreciate its simplicity and tactical play, but I have to be in a good mood, otherwise losing again will not be a nice experience for myself or my opponent. Objectively I think the game deserves an 8/10, but for the competitive Yellow Meeple, until I win a game, it can only be a 6.5/10.

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