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Patchwork

Reviewed by Herb Levy

(Knightweaver Games, LLC, 2-5 players, ages 5 and up, 15+ minutes; $19.99)

 

patchworkTwo-sided cards have been a gaming oddity over the years. There have been several attempts to use their unique properties in games. Few have worked. At the 2010 New York International Toy Fair, however, a game on display used two sided cards very successfully. With Patchwork, designed by Daniel Weaver, colors are king in a clever game of set collection.

The 90 two-sided cards are the heart of Patchwork. Each card is brightly colored (and patterned) in purple, yellow, blue, green or red on each side. But the color on one side may be different on the other! Each player draws six cards and places them in his wooden holder.

The goal of the game is to collect sets of 4, 5 or 6 cards of the SAME color. To collect a set of cards, those same color cards MUST be adjacent to each other in a holder. But this is a game of limited information: you CANNOT look at the backs of the cards in your card holder. On the other hand, you DO see the backs of the cards in the holders of your opponents! On a turn, you may do TWO of the following actions:

Flip – Turn a card in ANY holder from one side to another. (Now the back is the front and the front is the back!)

Swap – Switch the positions of two cards in ANY holder. (The cards do not flip.)

Trade 1 Card with another player – Cards are exchanged but occupy the same position on their respective holders. Again, the cards do NOT flip.

Trade 2 Cards – The cards MUST be of the same color and adjacent to each other for both players and, again, they do NOT flip.

Collect a Set from your holder – If you’ve managed to arrange adjacent cards of the same color in your holder, you remove them from the holder and put them in your personal pile, out of the game,

Collect a Set from an opponent’s holder – If adjacent backs of 4, 5 or 6 cards on an opponent’s holder – the sides facing you – match, you may collect them right out of your opponent’s holder. All but one of these collected cards are added to your personal pile; one card is given to the player you’re collecting from, a sort of “finder’s fee”.

Whenever anyone’s holder has less than 6 cards, that player immediately draws new cards so that there are always 6 in the holder.

Play continues until one player is unable to replenish his hand back to 6. At that point, if any player is able to collect a set from THEIR OWN holder, they may do so. Now all players count cards in their own personal pile. The player with the most cards wins!

Because you are NOT allowed to look at the backs of your cards (or the fronts of your opponents’ cards) during the game (the only time you see the back of a card is when you draw it and, of course, when you flip it), there is a memory element here. This helps even the playing field when children (usually wonderful at memory games) and adults (who sometimes fall prey to “senior moments”) gather. Fortunately, the pleasure in the play is not diminished by memory lapses. The key element here is card positioning. Maneuvering cards to set up colors in close proximity and exchanging and collecting cards is simply fun. The presentation is first rate too with its large wooden holders and standard sized (and brightly colored) cards.

Patchwork is an independently produced game by Knighweaver LLC (www.knightweaver.com) but has already been picked up by Gamewright Games for wider distribution in 2011 and you can see why. The combination of bright colors, clever use of two-sided cards, easy to follow rules and quick playing time has resulted in a game wonderfully suited for children and family play.

 


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