Well if there was ever a theme made for me, cats and quilts is it. In Calico, you are trying to make the best quilt and to attract cats. This is a tile puzzle game that is easy to play but also kind of tricky to get the points you want. I appreciate that there is also a solo player mode that I found pretty relaxing to play and the game is just as fun in a game with 4 players. There’s also some cool score keeping logs at the back of the rule book.
Let’s talk about the game. This is a 30 minute game for 1 to 4 players, ages 10 and up.
Components in the box
- 4 Quilt Boards
- 108 Patch Tiles
- 24 Design Goal Tiles
- 6 Black and White Tiles
- 80 cat tokens
- 1 Cloth Bag
- 1 Score Pad
- 52 Button Tokens
- 1 Button Scoring Tile
- One Master Quilt Tile
We will start with the beginner setup. Please check the rulebook for different setups or the solo mode. Place Millie, Tibbit and Coconut’s cat scoring tiles and their cat tokens in the middle of the table. These are the only cats you will use for this game. You can mix this up the more you play. Assign two of the black and white tiles to the cat scoring tiles. Eventually you can mix up the different cat options, the higher scoring ones are a lot more difficult to earn.
Place all the patch tiles in the bag and mix them up. Place the buttons and the button scoring tile on the table in easy reach.
Each player chooses a quilt board and their matching design goal tiles. The tiles have a stitch colour on the back that should match each board. There should be 6 design tiles per board.
Each player places the ≠, AA-BB-CC, and AAA-BBB Design tiles on their quilt board on the 3 designated spots. These are the only design tiles we will use for the beginner game. I did read that if you want a really easy game you could turn these over and play without this challenge which may be a good option for kids.
Each player chooses 2 patch tiles from the bag and places it in their hand.
For the last step, reveal 3 Patch Tiles in the centre of the table to be used as a market that everyone will draw from on their turn.
Playing the game is simple. The first player will choose from their two patch tiles and place one onto their quilt board. Then they choose a tile to pick from the market to place in their hand. A new tile is picked from the bag and placed in the market.
Once you place a tile on your board check to see if you’ve earned a button or a cat token. If so place the token on your board.
That’s really all you have to do in this game, place tiles until your quilt is finished. The challenge comes from earning points and there is strategy that goes into picking your tile placement. Once everyone has completed their quilt, add the points to see who has won.
There’s three ways to earn points:
- Design tiles – these tiles on your board are determined by the six tiles that surround it. You can score points by either matching the colours to the goal or the design to the goal to receive the lower value on the tile. If you can reach the goal by colour and design you receive the higher value on the tile. If you can’t make either, you will get no points. The gameplay is simple, but getting the right tiles to make the right pattern to get these points can be really frustrating. Nothing is worse than having a tile you need be picked up by another player before your turn.
- Cat token – To attract cats to your quilt you must match their patterns to the cat scoring tile. If the scoring tile says you need three in a row, you must have 3 of one of their pattern in a row, colour doesn’t matter. The cat token you receive has their point value listed on the back, you can add that up at the end of the game. The cats have different points assigned, the higher the cat cost, the harder to achieve that goal.
- Button tokens – If you create a group of three connecting patch tiles with matching colour, you earn a button of the same colour to place on your quilt. Buttons are worth 3 points each. If you have more than three colour tiles linked you do not get another button. It would have to be a separate grouping. If you are able to get one button of each colour you may also take a rainbow button to add to your quilt. The rainbow button is worth 3 points.
For both cat tokens and button tokens, you can use the edge pieces of your board to help reach your goals.
Once you add up all the possible points, the player with the highest score wins.
This is a well put together game. From the beginner setup to the more advanced setup, there is a lot you can do. Having the score log at the back of the book and having the solo version, there’s a lot of versatility here. They put a lot of effort it to make it enjoyable while also giving it a lot of replay value. I didn’t need a reason to love cats and quilts more, but here we are.