I must admit, I have very little confidence in what this really is. I looked it up on BoardGameGeek and got this definition….Pattern Building is a system where players place game components in specific patterns in order to gain specific or variable game results. For example: placing chips on 2, 4, 6, 8 on a board gets the player an action card they can use later in the game. After reading that it seems that every game could have pattern building in it. Then, after looking at some of the examples of games, I was again confused. So, I will try my best because I like the thought of pattern building. So, in my mind this could go one of two ways. When I think of patterns I think of specific things already in place and i just need to match what I see. Like Color by Number papers. It tells you what color to put in what spot. The other way is if something repeats itself over and over. After saying that, here is my extremely weak and mind blowing confused attempt to give you the Best 3 Games with…Pattern Building!
3. World Monuments by Queen Games
I was extremely shocked at how much I liked this game. When Matt, told us he got it from Kickstarter, along with 8 other Queen games I was surprised that he was interested in it. It is very abstract but it is also pretty good! During the game you and other players are working together to build grand structures of antiquity from around the world. There are two phases to the game, gathering bricks then placing those bricks. I consider this a Pattern Building game because the blue prints of the Monuments are laid out for you before hand….you just have to put the right color bricks in the right spot to score points. The higher the level you place a brick the more points you get, but you can’t build higher unless the bricks below it are in place…..makes sense. This game is full of quick tough decisions on what bricks to take, when to play those bricks, and even whether to hold them over till later maximizing your points, giving you the best chance to score while keeping others from scoring big points. It is a really great design by Pierre Cioni.
2. Inhabit the Earth by R&D Games
This is one of those rare games that you are kinda in a pattern that repeats itself over and over….kinda. On each continent you have terrain icons that your animal must have in order to migrate on it. Each continent seems to have a specific type of terrain that shows up more along the path. Africa has a lot of desert while Australia has plenty of water. There is a really nice puzzle trying to evolve your species to meet the needs of the continents in order for them to travel along the path. The terrain never changes but the cards you get are never the same. It is also very beneficial to have the continent icon on your animals since it acts as a wild. It might also help you to move your species from one continent to another if it suits the pattern better on the other land. I really love the pattern building that Richard Breese has implemented in Inhabit the Earth.
1. A Feast for Odin by Z-Man Games
The Best game, in my opinion, with pattern building is A Feast for Odin. The pattern building in Feast for Odin comes in the land boards, both on your player board and the ones that you can conquer. Your goal is to fill them up as much as possible while following some rules. Like Green goods can’t touch each other. The more you fill up the less points you will lose. There are some spots that have a minus 1 point, if these are not covered by the end of the game, you will lose those points. There are all different goods that you can store on your land, you just have to get them. Each land tile has its own rules and different ways of scoring. I love the puzzley feel for this game and trying to maximize every opportunity you have. There are normal pieces that are simply squares and rectangles but there are also treasures that are all different odd shapes that can fill odd areas. Uwe Rosenberg hit the mark on this great pattern building mechanism.