Teaching the Game-Patchwork


Patchwork Box

A game for 2 players from Uwe Rosenberg and published by Mayfair and Lookout Games

In Patchwork two players are competing to build the most appealing quilt on your personal 9×9 grid. In the game you are going to be purchasing patches using the buttons which serve as the currency in the game and placing them on the grid in hopes of filling the empty space as efficiently as possible. Those blank spaces will cost you in the end. The player who has the most buttons leftover at the end of the game, minus penalties will win the game and have quilted their patchwork masterpiece.


To start with, give each player their quilt board, either in green or yellow. Also give them their time token of the same color as their quilt board to be used on the Central Time board which you will set in the middle of the table and give each players five buttons to start with, while putting the rest of the buttons off to the side within easy reach. Each player will take their time token and place it on the starting space of the time board, the board is two sided, you can use either the spiral or the square, both have exactly the same number of spaces. Next take the thirty three regular patches and randomly place them in a circle around the time board, this circle will be fairly big so allow some room to spread out a bit when setting up. Next, find the smallest patch, it’s a size 1×2, when you locate it, place the neutral pawn token and place it between this patch and the next patch in clockwise order. Find the special 7×7 tile and sit it off to the side, place the special 1 space patches in their designated spaces on the time board. Decide on the first player, the rules say the player who last used a needle, and you are ready to play Patchwork.

Patchwork all set up and ready to play
Patchwork all set up and ready to play


In Patchwork the player turns are not necessarily going to alternate.  The player whose token is furthest back on the time track is going to be the active player, even if that player just had a turn. Sometimes that leads to multiple turns in a row for a player, which can be a pretty important strategy in the game. If ever both time tokens are on the same space the player whose token is on top goes first.

Okay, so now that that is settled, what exactly do you do on a turn?

Well, on your turn you take one of two possible actions, you can either advance your token along the time track until it is in the space directly in front of your opponent and take one button per space you have moved your time token OR You can purchase and place a patch on your player board. There are five steps to take when you purchase a patch.

First, you choose the patch, you can choose any one of the three patches that are in front of the neutral token in clockwise order.

Secondly, when you take a patch, you move the neutral token into the spot vacated by that patch.

Thirdly, you have to pay for that patch(What? You didn’t think they were free did you?). The cost of the patch is the indicated on the patch itself by the number to the left of the button icon.

Button cost
Button cost

The fourth step of this action is to actually place the patch on your player board. There is only really one rule to remember when placing your patch on your board and that is that your patches cannot overlap.  You may turn your patch however you like before placing it on your quilt board, just make sure you place it where you want it, because you aren’t going to be able to move it later.

Last thing you do after purchasing a patch is that you move your time token along the time track. The number spaces moved is indicated to the left of the hourglass symbol on the patch.

Time Cost
Time Cost

The Time Board has a couple special features that you need to remember. Remember on the board where you placed those special 1 spot patches? The first person to pass over a patch takes that patch and uses it on his player board. These one spot patches are pretty important, they are the only way to fill in those one spot holes that always magically appear on your player board.

1 spot tile on Time Board
1 spot Patch

Also, you may have noticed those buttons on the Time Board. Well, when you pass by a button on the Time Board, you get paid! You receive a number of buttons equal to the number of buttons on your patches on your player board.

Buttons That You Pass on the Time Board
Buttons That You Pass on the Time Board
Buttons on the Patch
Buttons on the Patch

Lastly, remember that special tile I said to sit off to the side, that tile is worth 7 buttons at the end of the game to the first player to completely fill a 7×7 sections of squares on their player board.

Example of a completed 7x7
Example of a completed 7×7

The game will end after both player’s Time Tokens end up on the last space of the Time Board. Your move ends on the last space on the board regardless if you still have extra time to count. Also, if you were to take the advance to receive buttons action you do only gain buttons equal to the actual number of spaces moved, you don’t get that one extra to jump ahead of the person already at the end.

Now, it’s time to score those masterpieces of patchwork quilting. Count up the number of buttons you have left in your supply, adding in the 7 bonus points for the special tile if you have rightfully earned that one.  Then, from that score, subtract 2 points for each empty space on your quilt board.

May the best quilter win!




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