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Patchwork and PatchWord Review by Donna Campos

Daniel Weaver
graphic art by Diane Elliston
Knightweaver Games, LLC
5190 Ingersoll Place
Boulder, CO 80303

The PatchWord and Patchwork games are similar in design. One focuses on words; the other focuses on pattern sets. The games require 2-5 players and are appropriate for anyone over the age of 5. While Patchwork can be played in 15 minutes, PatchWord will require closer to 30 minutes.

The games are almost identical in terms of their components. Each game includes 5 curved wooden cardholders, a set of two-sided cards, and a two-sided rules sheet and player reference. Both games have very similar play and are designed to be fast-paced logic games.

The goal is to collect cards in 4-, 5-, or 6-card sets, either by making words in PatchWord or by gathering patterned sets in Patchwork. The strategic twist is that the cards are two sided. When the cards are set up in the card holders, each player will see the front of his own cards and the back of his opponents' cards. No player is to look at the back of his own cards. During each turn, a player can flip, swap, or move cards in order to make words (or sets). You can take cards from your opponent, but they can also take cards from you! The player guide on the back of the rules sheet is very helpful for learning to play the games. Once you catch on, the games are very understandable and fun to play. As players collect sets, they refill their cardholders and keep a score tally. Play ends when a player can no longer refill his holder with the required six cards. The player with the highest score at that time is the winner.

I must give Knightweaver and the creator of the games, Daniel Weaver, the highest marks for creativity and challenge. I thought I'd have no problem playing this game with my son, but he quickly caught on and was outwitting me every chance he could. Just when you think you might be on the right track to a pattern, someone swipes your cards and you are thrown right out of that train of thought. On the other hand, I've won a few games thanks to my opponent unwittingly handing me exactly what I needed. These games really do level a playing field, with just the right mix of chance and strategic skill.

Our family enjoyed both of these games tremendously. Learning the actual technique of play was a bit difficult at first, but it got easier as the game went on. It is easy to adapt the game when the players are of differing age/ability levels. For instance, you could allow younger players to make 3-letter words while requiring older players to make words of 5-6 letters. The curved wooden cardholders are particularly unique. We did have a practical concern about splinter surfaces, but rough edges can easily be smoothed with light sanding. We greatly appreciated the inclusion of five cardholders. So many games seem to stop at four. Both games are fun, reasonably priced, and suitable for a range of abilities, making them ideal for large families or gatherings. The games are also very educational, without players ever realizing just how much they are learning as they play. I also must note that no electricity is required! In an age of seemingly constant video game options, a good card game is a welcome addition to our home.

Product review by Donna Campos, Senior Product Reviewer, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, March 2010