A Perfect Mix of Cheery Quilts and Cozy Cats with Calico

September 5, 2021 | Sessions | 0 comments

Curl up for a quiet time of crafting a cozy quilt with fun patterns and buttons while adorable cats stop by in Calico.

Oh, the joy of getting to an area of the game shelves that’s been neglected for a long time! I absolutely loved Calico when it arrived, even naming it one of my top solo games of 2020. As it so goes, this excellent game sat alone for far too long. Yet it’s not possible to play every game regularly, so I happily brought this to my table to get reacquainted!

Game Overview

Game Name: Calico
Publication Year:
 2020
Designer:
 Kevin Russ
Artist:
 Beth Sobel
Publisher: Flatout Games
Solo Mode: Included in the Base Game

An assortment of hex tiles offers all sorts of colors and patterns to add to a bright and cheery quilt. There are goals to strive towards, such as with specific scenarios, yet the joy of adding buttons or even having cats settle in can be so much fun! It’s strategic, yet in a very cozy way.

All the Fun of Planning Out a Brand New Quilt with Calico
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First Play

August 20, 2020

Complexity

2

Latest Play

September 4, 2021

Expansions

1

Setup Time

5 Minutes

Lifetime Plays

23

Play Time

15 Minutes

:

High Score

72

1

Game Area

14" x 16"

;

Low Score

37

Fluffy, Snuggly Cats

The main theme might revolve around quilting, but it’s hard not to put the focus on the cats. Look! Just look!

I’m not much of a cat person due to on-and-off allergies, although I still love admiring from afar. This makes it perfect for me to have tabletop friends without sneezing!

Each cat is associated with 2 unique patterns and has a specific requirement for visiting. Tibbit might stop by with lots of polka-dots, while Millie was more into stripes.

Also note the point values: Easier groupings are worth less, but it’s sometimes risky to go for the higher points.

Cats, Cats, and More Cats to Attract in Calico

Following Scenarios

The solo game may be completely randomized with no parameters, which works. Yet the included scenarios provide structure and challenges to work on completing.

I’m personally not the best at visualizing patterns in this way, so I wasn’t surprised that I was only on scenario 4!

Not to go on a tangent here, yet I always encourage board game players to approach each game at their own pace. I’m good at some games… You’re likely better at others!

My first attempts weren’t too far off the mark of 61 points, yet I had to work on my strategy before I could win.

Finding Ways to Benchmark Progress with Scenarios in Calico

Adorable Buttons

Initially, I had some complaints about how buttons made it hard to figure out the patterns. They’re a little on the larger side, but I found the easiest solution today…

I simply put them across adjacent hexes. Voila! This also helped me see the areas that already had buttons.

The trickiest part of this scenario was the need to get 3 buttons of the same color. I succeeded here with my green leaf buttons, but still didn’t score enough victory points.

Also, note the cat visitors in the far background! It was still a close call so I quickly reset and kept on playing.

Admiring the Quilt Patterns and Buttons in Calico

Continuing to Quilt

The trio of goal tiles on the board itself is nightmarish at times! Completing the set goal in both patterns and colors awards extra victory points, yet this is far from easy.

I knew I was on the right track since I came so close, even just failing with 60 of 61 victory points! Oh, the agony.

Despite the constant losses, this didn’t feel tense nor stressful. I felt more like I just wanted to try again and adjust a little bit. The tiles needed to cooperate, too!

A few adjustments seemed to be in order, too, but if I needed anything to win, I knew just who to turn to…

Falling Just Shy of the Requirements in Calico

The Master Top Hat

Why, of course! Some brand new Calico Critters stopped by to examine this game that was all about cats. “Quilts, too…” Nope. That mattered little to them. Just cats!

I absolutely love black cats but my goodness. This material just attracts every speck of dust out there!

However, I would like to pause for a moment to admire this absolutely awesome top hat. This pair looked like they wanted to present me with the master quilter award.

The only trouble? I needed to actually earn it! I was very close but was distracted by that top hat. Was it moving?!

Putting Together Some Adorable Calico Critters and Calico

Hidden Kittens and Tips

Ta-da! That there is a magical sort of top hat capable of holding a very cute kitten. I just want to buy more of these top hats for all of my tiny Calico Critters. MAGIC! Ha ha!

This little break in the action made me think a little more about the board. I kept the goal tiles the same for all plays.

Ah, but what if I didn’t? Telicote, the 7-point cat, needed a very specific line of palm or flower tiles. I needed all unique tiles near an excellent area… Switched that up!

This is also why I love solo games: I can learn at my own pace and feel proud of the small strategic victories.

Discovering a Hidden Calico Critter in a Top Hat with Calico

Session Overview

Play Number: 17-23
Solo Mode: Included in the Base Game
Play Details: Scenario 4
Outcome: 53, 55, 60, 56, 51, 60, 69 (1 Win and 6 Losses)

At last! I breezed right past the minimum score of 61 points with my last play after making that change with the goal tiles layout. Very nice! It’s great to enjoy these tiny personal accomplishments. I didn’t feel like I struggled with the patterns as much in the end, which was even better! Definitely a play worthy of earning the master quilter award. Or did I get it via the magical top hat? Ha!

Claiming the Master Quilter Award in Calico

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20 Plays

Affordability

Price & Value

10

Functionality

Challenges & Mechanics

10

Originality

Design & Theme

7

Quality

Components & Rules

9

Reusability

Achievement & Enjoyment

10

Variability

Distinctness & Randomness

6

+ Pros (Positives)

  • The combination of quilts and cats is a delightfully relaxing theme that offers a stress-free atmosphere.
  • Each scenario creates its own unique parameters with slight difficulty increases for a fun overall challenge.
  • There is a great deal of variety with the tiles so that gameplay doesn’t feel too repetitive when playing a lot.
  • Component quality is excellent, especially for the price, with thick tokens and dual-layered player boards.
  • Play time lasts about 15-20 minutes and doesn’t drag on since the end can be calculated by the open spaces.
  • Strategic play is vital to score well, yet this comes about with practice and lessons are quickly learned by playing.

– Cons (Negatives)

  • Some of the patterns can tend to flow together a little too much to make identifying them tricky at a glance.
  • A custom storage solution is necessary since there isn’t an insert, although using bags is relatively easy.
  • Some of the same cat tokens have noticeably different colors based on differences in the punchboard printings.
  • The last rounds can rely a little too much on luck when the right tiles aren’t drawn early to complete goals.

More Calico

Explore related posts about Calico!

Victory Conditions

Meet the Scenario Requirements

  • Overall Goal Progress 100% 100%

Goals and Milestones

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Complete scenario 1.

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Complete scenario 2.

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Complete scenario 3.

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Complete scenario 4.

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Score at least 40 points.

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Score at least 50 points.

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Score at least 60 points.

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Score at least 70 points.

Continue the Conversation

How cute do you find Calico? Or is the strategic element more important? Trick question… The Calico Critters are certain that there’s nothing else to pay attention to except for the cats! Ha ha! There’s a lot more to explore and I look forward to playing now and then for a fun and cozy kind of challenge. This one makes me so happy when I look at it!

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