As we enter the spooky season, we thought we’d highlight a few great options for some quality family time, looking beyond the usual scary movies and games. That led us to the Halloween Edition of Patchwork, which we’re checking out in the review below.
The original Patchwork is a game that’s been on our radar since it launched back in 2014, but somehow we never played it before. It was very well received by both critics and players, and consistently ranks high in various ‘best board games’ lists Designed by Uwe Rosenberg, it’s seen several spin-off versions, and this Halloween one seemed like the perfect reason to finally jump into this successful franchise.
Patchwork is easy to set up and learn, but features enough tactical depth to remain interesting over time as well. The mechanics for this particular edition have been slightly tweaked due to a few rebalanced tiles, which makes this Halloween edition extra interesting to existing players, some of whom we invited for a few rounds. The base rules and the number and shape of the tiles are all the same, but the balance changes make things feel fresh. Of course there’s been a visual overhaul as well, so expect pumpkins, candy, spider webs and tons of eyeballs – adding up to a very seasonal look and feel.
As with any game of Patchwork, you play a round with two players, each one getting his/her own board to place quilt pieces/tiles on. Another board is the time track, on which you move forward as the game progresses – this one is two-sides to give you some choice, but the change is only cosmetic. And where the regular game has buttons as currency, those have been replaced with eyeballs in this spooky edition. Another Halloween touch is that the neutral token that signifies what you can purchase from a circle of quilt pieces has been turned into a gravestone.
When it’s your turn, you can purchase one of the three pieces next to the neutral token, or choose to skip a turn. If you choose to buy, you pay the number of eyeballs required and move your pumpkin across the time track – the number of moves will be listed on the piece you buy. After that, you can place your purchased quilt piece and put it anywhere on your board, as long as you use free slots to do so.
Skipping a turn involves more than you’d think, since it’s a way to earn additional eyeballs. If you skip, you move past the other player on the time track, and earn eyeballs for every square you move forward, with additional eyeballs awarded when you pass an eyeball on the time track. The number depends on how many eyeballs are on your current quilt, so the dynamics of skipping or buying can change dramatically depending on the phase of the game.
If you purchase but are still behind your opponent, you get to go again, and play ends when both players reach the end of the time track. There’s a bonus for the player who’s the first to complete a 7×7 area, so choose carefully! From choosing which tile to invest in to skipping a turn to replenish funds, there’s a lot to consider here, with the best pieces usually costing more – and sometimes you have to choose strategically just based on which pieces are coming up in the next turn. Ultimately, you’ll want to have the most eyeballs when you reach the end in order to win, but there are many ways of achieving that.
With very engaging gameplay and a lot of replay value, Patchwork is a great game to play that doesn’t take too long either – rounds typically wrap up in about 20 minutes. This particular edition has a lovely visual style to it as well, and is a great choice if you’re looking for something to play with the family at the end of this month.