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Subject: For the Meeple, by the Meeple (Review of Patchwork) rss

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Michael Carpenter
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West Virginia
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Box Art




SUMMARY
Style of Game: 2 Player, Puzzle
Play Time: 15 to 30 minutes
Theme: Quilt-making (Somewhat thematic)
Number of Players: 2
Main Mechanics: Drafting, Tile placement
Components: Good
Weight: Light

SETUP
To setup Patchwork players should each take a quilt board, a time token, and 5 buttons (currency). The remaining buttons should be kept near the playing area.

The central time board should be placed in the middle of the table, both time tokens should be placed in the starting space of the time board. Place all of the regular patches in a circle around the time board. The neutral token should be placed between the smallest patch tile and the tile behind it in clockwise order.

The special 7x7 token should be placed neared the time board and all five special patches (1x1 squares patches) should be placed in their corresponding spaces on the time board.



This would be the playing area once the entire game is setup.

Quilt board and neutral token starting position


Buttons (used as currency)


Starting tokens and the five special patches


The special 7x7 tile



OBJECTIVE
The objective of Patchwork is to maximize the use of your time as you create the most beautiful quilt you can. To create your quilt as well as possible you will need to keep a healthy supply of buttons and be efficient with your use of patches to make the most complete quilt as possible. The player that can make the best quilt and score the most points will win the game.

GAMEPLAY
On a player's turn he or she will do one of two things. The first option is for the player to advance his or her time token and receive buttons. The second option is to take and place a patch from the circle surrounding the central time board.

Advance and Receive Buttons
If a player chooses to advance and receive buttons the player moves their time token to the space directly in front of the opponent's time token on the central time board and collects one button for each space that the player's token must move to do so.



In this example the the yellow player would have to move the yellow token three spaces to end his or her turn directly in front of the green token.



The yellow token would move three spaces and take three buttons from the supply.

Take and Place a Patch
If a player chooses to take and place a patch he or she will first locate the neutral token that was placed in the circle of patch tiles at the beginning of the game.



The player may only take one of the next three patch tiles in clockwise order. Each tile has an area of the patch tile that tells the players how much the tile costs (in buttons) and how many spaces the patch tile will require them to move their time token on the central time board (the hour glass) if the patch tile is purchased and placed.




Once a player has chosen one of the three available patch tiles he or she should pay for the tile and then place the tile on their quilt board in any available spaces that will hold the tile within the quilt board.



The player must also move the neutral token to the location of the purchased patch tile. The neutral token will move clockwise around the circle of patch tiles. The neutral token will continue to circle the central time board multiple times.

If the active player purchases a patch tile and moves his or her time token the appropriate number of spaces, according to the purchased tile, and it does not force the active player's time token to pass the other player's time token then the player will take a second turn. In simple terms, the player whose time token is the furthest behind on the central time board takes the next turn. When a player's time token lands on the other player's time token the player who landed on the other token is considered furthest behind and will take another turn.

Some aspects of the gameplay that do not happen on every turn are the special 7x7 tile, the special patch tiles that start the game on the central time board, and the button icons on the patch tiles and the central time board.

The 7x7 tile
The special 7x7 tile is awarded to the first player to cover a 7x7 square on his or her quilt board. The player may cover more than a 7x7 square and receive the tile. The special 7x7 tile is worth 7 buttons at the end of the game.

The special patch tiles
The five special patch tiles that start on the central time board are awarded to the player that passes each tile.



The green token has crossed the special 1x1 tile and will receive this single tile. The green token will not receive any other the other special 1x1 tiles on this turn. The same player may collect as many of these tiles as possible. These 1x1 special patch tiles are immediately placed on the player's quilt board wherever they would like to place it.



Button icons on the central time board and patch tiles
There are a number of button icons located throughout the path on the central time board. Much like the special tile tokens on the central time board, if a player passes these button icons they activate the icon. However, both players may activate each of these icons rather than only the first player to pass each icon like the special 1x1 patch tiles.



Tokens activate the button icons on the central time board by landing on a location that has crossed the button icons. In the image above only the green token would activate the button icon.



If a time token lands on a space that activates a button icon the player will count the number of button icons they have on all the patch tiles on his or her quilt board and receive one button from the supply for each icon. The player would receive three buttons from the supply for activating the button icon on the central time board.

Play will continue, turns based on who is furthest behind on the central time board, until both players have made it to the final spot on the central time board.

Once both time tokens have made it to the final spot players will count the number of uncovered spaces on their quilt board. Each uncovered spot on the quilt board is worth negative 2 points. Players will then count their remaining buttons and add that number to their number of negative points from uncovered spaces and the player with the highest score wins.

Since the scoring system can sound difficult on paper, here is an example.

Player 1 has ten uncovered squares on his quilt board at the end of the game and ten buttons.

10 uncovered squares x -2 pts per square = -20 points
10 buttons = 10 points

-20 + 10 = -10 points for player 1.

*If a player received the 7x7 special tile they should also count the 7 points given for receiving the special tile.

*I used an example with negative points because it is quite possible to score negative points at the end of this game.


MIXTURE OF THEME AND MECHANICS
I don't really know much about quilts and making them but the mechanisms don't seem to contradict the theme in anyway. You are managing the time it would take to create the quilt and you are pieces together patches to make the quilt. Does it drip with theme? No. Does piecing the patch tiles together feel thematic? A little... maybe... yes... I think this one may be different for each player. It's considered an abstract strategy game but I feel more theme in this game than any other abstract strategy game I've ever played (which is not a ton though).

FINAL THOUGHTS

Pros:
- This is a design most people like to see if they can do well in
- The design is nearly flawless, if not entirely flawless
- Good amount of strategy for the size of the game
- Very easy to learn and plays smoothly and quickly

Cons:
*I do not feel very strongly about these cons but thought they may be things to be aware of.
- Placing tiles based on shapes is not the most thought-provoking task, whether it is enjoyable or not.
- A lot of games are going to end in negative points, potentially causing a negative feeling about a player's success.

This game is nearly flawless. That doesn't mean it'll be for everyone but it is a darn good design. The mechanisms in this game flow so perfectly together that it is hard to find a flaw in the design of this game when you are analyzing it alone. Where I could see a drop-off for this game is when you compare the lack of truly direct player-interaction in this game to a lot of well-liked two-player abstract strategy games (chess style). Let me say though, that that is only if you are really looking for player-interaction in your two-player games. You really only get player-interaction in the form of blocking players from getting useful patch tiles by purchasing tiles that will pass a useful tile. You can also race for the special 1x1 patch tiles on the central time board but that is minimal.

I am not a huge abstract gamer and yet I love this game. I personally love the idea of trying to prove that I can cover the board completely. I almost view this game as more of a personal challenge than a competitive game but I do love winning this game as much as any game in my collection.

I have tried multiple strategies in this game, from building from the middle out, to building from a corner out. I have tried to build by connecting each new piece to the already placed pieces and I have tried just placing tiles wherever they "felt" good for future rounds. Are any of these strategies deep, complex, or extremely engaging? No. However, the fact that there are several ways to approach covering the entire quilt board keeps me interested in this game. Combine the multiple ways to approach the tile placement with the lure of the special 7x7 tile that isn't exactly worth the effort it takes to achieve a 7x7 square and you have some decisions to make.

The tile placement is good and at first glance receives the large portion of the attention in this game, but the time management and decisions you must make in that area of the game are the real stars of this game for me. You CANNOT do well on the quilt board if you do not make good choices when purchasing patch tiles. The button icons on the central time board and the special 1x1 tiles become much more important as you organize strategies that emphasize good time management also because you need to be able to manage how many button icons you can get onto your quilt board before you pass the button icons but you also have to get to some of the 1x1 tiles first. There is a ten point swing on the central time if you don't get any of them because you are moving slowly along the time path and ten points in this game is significant.

I am giving this game an 8.5 and not higher for one reason. While I currently love this game, I do foresee some of it's shine wearing off in the future. It will remain a great game and I don't foresee ever getting rid of it, but it I am pretty certain it will eventually go from a go-to when in need of a two-player game, to being more of just a good game in my collection that I play occasionally.



Rating - 8.5/10



If you enjoy my reviews please recommend and check out my geeklist For the Meeple, by the Meeple

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Grant
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Cuyahoga Falls
Ohio
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Quote:
The special patch tiles
The five special patch tiles that start on the central time board are awarded to each player that lands on or passes each tile.



The green token has landed on the special 1x1 tile and will receive this single tile

Quote:
Button icons on the central time board and patch tiles
There are a number of button icons located throughout the path on the central time board. Much like the special tile tokens on the central time board, if a player lands on or passes these button icons they activate the icon.



Tokens activate the button icons on the central time board by landing on either location that the tokens in the image above are on, or any location further on the track.

You've got your rules on button income and special patches wrong. You only get income or the special patch when you pass OVER it, not land on the space preceding it.
You can see this thread and others for more info:
Land on the leather patches?
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Michael Carpenter
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A couple quick things here. First, I do apologize for the error. My copy of the rule book says on or past the icon so since the special tiles and the button icons are on two spaces we have always interpreted that as either location would activate the spaces. That was a conscience decision to include in the review. I read the rule book as the review was written to be sure that was how I interpreted that specific scenario. We have never had any issue with the way this interpretation plays because we consider both types of icons to only be able to be activated once, whether we land in the front space, the back space or any space clearly after the icons.

Second, our interpretation is obviously incorrect based on the declaration in the forum you posted that there is an error in some versions of the rule book. I would have done research on this matter if we had had any trouble playing the game in a way that did not seem broken. Obviously though, to maintain integrity to the game's true design we will be playing the way the game was intended to be played from now on and I am thankful for the information.

I am definitely not trying to justify the mistake, just want to state that it wasn't carelessness, just a misinterpretation on my part and I apologize for the mistake. The review will be edited to be sure it is more helpful and less misleading to those who read it. Again, thank you for bringing this information to my attention!
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Grant
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MariettaTennis wrote:
A couple quick things here. First, I do apologize for the error. My copy of the rule book says on or past the icon so since the special tiles and the button icons are on two spaces we have always interpreted that as either location would activate the spaces. That was a conscience decision to include in the review. I read the rule book as the review was written to be sure that was how I interpreted that specific scenario. We have never had any issue with the way this interpretation plays because we consider both types of icons to only be able to be activated once, whether we land in the front space, the back space or any space clearly after the icons.

Second, our interpretation is obviously incorrect based on the declaration in the forum you posted that there is an error in some versions of the rule book. I would have done research on this matter if we had had any trouble playing the game in a way that did not seem broken. Obviously though, to maintain integrity to the game's true design we will be playing the way the game was intended to be played from now on and I am thankful for the information.

I am definitely not trying to justify the mistake, just want to state that it wasn't carelessness, just a misinterpretation on my part and I apologize for the mistake. The review will be edited to be sure it is more helpful and less misleading to those who read it. Again, thank you for bringing this information to my attention!

Yeah, definitely not your fault for that interpretation. I think the mistake in the English rule book actually makes your interpretation the more likely one. That's why I posted the link to the official ruling, since just reading the rules doesn't support the actual intent at all.

Nice review otherwise!
 
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Eugene Spears
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MariettaTennis wrote:
- A lot of games are going to end in negative points, potentially causing a negative feeling about a player's success.


An easy fix to this is: instead of losing 2 buttons for each of your empty squares, your opponent gets 2 buttons from the bank. It comes out to the same difference in scores, and no one ever goes negative.
 
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Michael Carpenter
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grant5 wrote:
MariettaTennis wrote:
A couple quick things here. First, I do apologize for the error. My copy of the rule book says on or past the icon so since the special tiles and the button icons are on two spaces we have always interpreted that as either location would activate the spaces. That was a conscience decision to include in the review. I read the rule book as the review was written to be sure that was how I interpreted that specific scenario. We have never had any issue with the way this interpretation plays because we consider both types of icons to only be able to be activated once, whether we land in the front space, the back space or any space clearly after the icons.

Second, our interpretation is obviously incorrect based on the declaration in the forum you posted that there is an error in some versions of the rule book. I would have done research on this matter if we had had any trouble playing the game in a way that did not seem broken. Obviously though, to maintain integrity to the game's true design we will be playing the way the game was intended to be played from now on and I am thankful for the information.

I am definitely not trying to justify the mistake, just want to state that it wasn't carelessness, just a misinterpretation on my part and I apologize for the mistake. The review will be edited to be sure it is more helpful and less misleading to those who read it. Again, thank you for bringing this information to my attention!

Yeah, definitely not your fault for that interpretation. I think the mistake in the English rule book actually makes your interpretation the more likely one. That's why I posted the link to the official ruling, since just reading the rules doesn't support the actual intent at all.

Nice review otherwise!



Thank you for the help. The board game community really is one full of good people!
 
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