Patchwork is a game of grid-management, putting puzzle pieces into your grid in a much more efficient way than your opponent.
That’s basically what it breaks down to.
Since I am not the most spatially aware person around (I once tried to push a 5-inch object through a 1-inch hole), I don’t really care for these games.
In fact, when I played Patchwork on the table for the first (and only) time, I really didn’t like it.
When Digidiced put out an app for it, even though I’m a fan of their work, I had no interest in picking it up.
Then the other residents of the wonderful Stately Play web site forums decided to do a decathlon of various mobile games, and Patchwork was chosen as one of them. I told myself “fine, I’ll learn the game just to participate.”
Lo and behold, I ended up loving the game.
How can you not like a game where you make ugly quilts?
Patchwork is a 2-player game where each player has a 10×10 grid for their quilt, attempting to make the best patchwork quilt out there. A circle of patches with varied amount of buttons are placed in a circle and will be available for purchase via the interesting button economy.
On your turn, you will choose one of the first three patches to buy, if you can afford any of them. The number of buttons you have is in the big blue circle over your avatar’s face. The cost of the patch is the top number in the little label next to the patch, and how much you’ll move on the time board is the bottom number. You choose which patch you want, skipping over any patches that are before the one you chose. Those patches will not be available for your opponent at least until later in the game.
The time board is on the left side, and you will move your time token forward the number of spaced indicated on the patch. If you don’t pass your opponent, you will get to take another turn until you do.
If you pass a button symbol, you will earn the number of buttons that are in your quilt so far. Those will go into your bank so you can afford to buy more patches!
See that square of fabric that shows up periodically on the board? If you are the first person to pass that square, then you will earn the 1×1 square of fabric that you can put into your quilt. That’s the only way you can fill those spots in, so try not to leave many if you can help it.
What happens if you can’t afford any of the patches available?
You’ll have to pass, moving forward until you’re in the space just ahead of your opponent, earning one button for each space you moved.
Play continues until both players have moved into the very center of the board. At that point, you will total up your buttons on hand and then subtract two points for each open space in your quilt.
But wait, there’s more!
The first person to complete a 7×7 square in their quilt (no openings allowed) gets the 7×7 token! This token is worth 7 points.
Whoever has the most buttons after all of the adding and subtracting wins!
The Cuteness is Overwhelming
Patchwork is an incredibly cute game, even more so as an app. Digidiced has made an outstanding adaptation of the board game, with bright colours and an easy-to-understand interface.
In fact, the interface is very intuitive and easy to use. When you have the three patch options, the ones that you can afford (and, late in the game, are able to fit into your quilt) light up so it’s easy to see which ones you can actually choose from. The button-cost and time marker movement is clearly indicated, and the board is above the pieces so you really calculate exactly how far you’ll move with each choice.
Maybe you’ll want to take that “2-cost, 2-move” small piece because you won’t pass your opponent and will be able to take another turn!
When you’ve chosen a patch, putting it into your quilt is extremely easy. You just move it around with your finger, using the non-green buttons on the sides to manipulate it. You can turn it around and around, or you can flip it. Or, you can hit that big red “X” and return it so you can choose another one.
Once you’ve placed it where you want to, you hit the green button and it’s sewn into your quilt faster than your grandma could do it.
What is a great help in this screen (and something I didn’t notice at first, so maybe it could be a bit more prominent? Or maybe I’m just lame) is that it shows you the next six patches that will be available and what their stats are (cost and time movement) so you can see what pieces you may be able to choose from next turn.
That is very helpful because you may not want to leave a 2×2 space if there are no patches coming up to fill it.
Online play is very simple, using the regular Digidiced method. It can be asychronous, which is a godsend. You need to know what Digidiced username your friend uses, but I believe your friends are universal among all Digidiced games, so if you set up your friends when playing Terra Mystica, they should be available in this game.
Even better, multiplayer is cross-platform, so if your friend is an evil Android user (Editor: Ooooo, that’s going to get some reaction), you can still play!
Notifications are a bit of an issue, though, at least on iOS. Game notifications seem to work fine if you’ve allowed them (check your settings), but getting a friend request does not prompt a notification so you may not even be aware of it. Periodically, getting invited to a game has that happen too, though if you log in you will see the invite in your online games.
Neither of these issues happens all the time, unfortunately, so you can’t even plan on them. You just have to remember to check when you log in.
Some people have reported technical issues with adding friends, but I haven’t had any thankfully.
I haven’t played too many games against the AI, but as you can see in the picture above, the Medium AI obliterated me after I’ve already played 6 games. Thus, I’d say that the single-player experience can be great fun. There are three levels of AI, so maybe I should stick to the Easy one.
I’m sorry I gave this game such short shrift before. It’s an excellent game, and a brilliant adaptation by Digidiced.
This game should definitely be in your list of installed games.