29 November 2018
Neatly knitted or threadbare?
A two-player version of Patchwork that plays in less time than it takes to fire up the sewing machine? Isn’t that just… Patchwork?
Well, yes, it is, making Patchwork Express the most intriguing new instalment yet in the ongoing trend of cramming Uwe Rosenberg classics into smaller and smaller two-player boxes after Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small and Caverna: Cave vs Cave. (We patiently await A Brunch for Odin.) After all, in the grand tapestry of Rosenberg multi-hour epics and ornate Euros, Patchwork was already a neatly trimmed thread. Pull on it, and what’s left?
The answer is that Patchwork Express is still the Patchwork you know, just with smaller boards and easier maths as a result of its simplified polyomino pieces. This means it still feels like Patchwork, too – although the smaller player quilts and removal of the 7x7 bonus will likely leave those who’ve already mastered the bigger game feeling like they’ve already outgrown this variant.
It is technically quicker too, though the original hardly stuck around long enough – especially with experienced players – to be all that deserving of an abridged experience.
Patchwork Express is better considered as Patchwork Jr., with its reduced sums and limited room for tile placement anxiety best suited for younger players. At the same time, the original Patchwork costs around the same, can be modified with little effort to almost perfectly recreate the Express experience and then delivers the uncut goodness of Rosenberg’s original vision.
Express will still wrap you in its warm, welcoming embrace of competitive stitching, but it’s hard to really see why you’d need to pick apart something that had few loose threads to begin with.
Buy your copy here.
Designer: Uwe Rosenberg
Artist: Klemens Franz
Time: 10 minutes
This review originally appeared in the October 2018 issue of Tabletop Gaming. Pick up the latest issue of the UK's fastest-growing gaming magazine in print or digital here or subscribe to make sure you never miss another issue.
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