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Quilts and Cats of Calico Indie Video Game Review

Quilts and Cats of Calico Indie Video Game Review

Originally released back in 2020, Calico has quickly become one of the most popular board games of the last few years. With many popular board games these days, a digital version of the board game is eventually going to be made. While the name has been tweaked, that is exactly what Quilts and Cats of Calico is. Having never played the board game, I thought the digital release was a good opportunity to try it out. Quilts and Cats of Calico is a faithful digital recreation of the fun and surprisingly deep board game that fans of the game should really enjoy.

Quilts and Cats of Calico is a digital adaptation of the board game Calico. Those already familiar with the board game should know exactly what to expect. It basically takes the board game and turns it into a video game. The gameplay is exactly the same. This allows the game to automate things such as scoring and setup.

For those not familiar with the board game, Calico is a tile laying game. The objective of the game is to score as many points as you can. You create a quilt by playing tiles of different patterns and colors. You can score points in three different ways:

  • If you play three tiles of the same color next to one another, you score three points.
  • For each game there are three different cats. You can score points if you connect tiles of a certain pattern in the way one of the cats prefer. The amount of points you score depends on how difficult it is to match the cat’s criteria.
  • Finally you will place three design goal tiles on your board. Each design tile is surrounded by six tiles. You need to place tiles onto those six spaces in order to match the criteria. These usually require having a certain number of tiles of a certain color and pattern. 

In the game you need to balance these three different scoring opportunities in order to maximize your score. You can prioritize some scoring options more than others. You ultimately need to try and use all of them as much as possible to maximize your score though.

If you are at all familiar with the board game, you should already know what you can expect from the game. None of the mechanics have changed. The gameplay has just been streamlined where the game handles the scoring and some other mechanics to save you time. Board game adaptations can sometimes be a little hit or miss. Quilts and Cats of Calico is basically one of the best case scenarios. It pretty much gives you what you could want from a digital adaptation. The game gets rid of some of the busywork such as scoring, and lets you focus on the gameplay. It being a digital version does not impact your enjoyment of the gameplay at all.

As I have not yet tried the board game version yet, I am approaching the game from a different point of view. As an avid board game fan though, it is a game that I had wanted to check out for quite some time. The game has received a lot of hype since its release. The good news is that I think the game lives up to the hype.

If I were to describe the gameplay of Quilts and Cats of Calico I would say that it kind of feels like a puzzle. It is based off of a tile laying board game, but it has a strong puzzle element as well. Basically you need to analyze the tiles that you currently have along with the upcoming tiles. You then need to figure out a way to play tiles to your board where the same color/pattern are together in order to score points. I think Quilts and Cats of Calico works so well for two main reasons.

First Quilts and Cats of Calico is actually really simple to play. Each of your turns consist of two steps. You will begin your turn by picking one of your two tiles and placing it on the gameboard. The only rule is that you can only place a tile on a space that doesn’t already have a tile on it. After you have played your tile, you can choose one of three tiles to add to your hand. That is it. The controls in the game are intuitive as you just click on the tile you want to place/pick and drag it to the corresponding part of the screen. You can basically pick up the game almost immediately.

This is combined with gameplay that is quite a bit deeper than it first appears. With such simple mechanics, you wouldn’t think that there is much strategy to Quilts and Cats of Calico. At first the game may seem kind of simple, but it starts to open up quickly as you realize how much planning goes into each of your turns. It is not hard to play the game, but it is quite a bit harder to play the game well. This comes from the need to plan ahead quite a bit and analyze all three different scoring options when placing tiles and choosing which tiles to take. You could just place tiles on the board hoping for the best, but you will almost always be defeated by a player that carefully plans out each of their turns.

As I mentioned before the game kind of feels like a puzzle. You need to figure out how to place the tiles on your board to maximize the points from each one. Preferably you want a tile to score in more than one way. It is really satisfying when you get the perfect tile for your board. When you place it you are then rewarded with several point bonuses on the same turn. You could focus on one part of your board at a time, if the right tile comes up. You usually will have to move from one section to another as you wait for the tiles you need to come up. For your first couple of games you likely won’t fully understand how to approach the game. As you keep playing, things start to open up for you as you start to realize how to approach the game.

Quilts and Cats of Calico has two main ways of playing the game. The game has a solo mode where you can play against AI components. The AI seems to be pretty good. Obviously you should start on the easier difficulties if you are new to the game. The higher difficulties will likely give you a challenge once you are more familiar with the game. If you are an expert at the game though, the AI may not give you a huge challenge. This is where the multiplayer comes into play. You can play the game multiplayer with splitscreen, remote play, or online. The multiplayer is basically what you would expect. It does have one disadvantage though as you have to wait for the other players to take their turns. If you are playing with a player that has to analyze every single option, this could sometimes take some time.

One thing that is a little unexpected was the addition of a story mode. The idea of a story mode for a digital board game might seem a little odd at first. Basically you play as a quilter in a world that basically worships cats (because they bring good luck). The world is currently at war, but you decide to head to the big city to seek out your long lost father. As you explore the city you will meet new friends and make quilts that the cats seem to love.

I will say that the story of Quilts and Cats of Calico is kind of strange. It is not bad, just a little unexpected. What do you expect from a story based on a tile laying board game? While the story might be a little weird, the story mode itself is a great addition to the game in my opinion.

The story mode is part visual novel, and part puzzle game. The story is told through a visual novel system where you can make a couple choices. As for the gameplay, the game takes the core gameplay and turns it into a sort of puzzle. As you help various residents you have to complete a set of challenges. Some of these are normal games of Calico with a couple restrictions put in such as having to score in a certain way. Many of the challenges are puzzles though. You are given a limited number of tiles and a board that is usually already partially setup. You need to use the few tiles you are given to score in a specific way.

This is a really unique way of playing Quilts and Cats of Calico. It makes the game feel like even more of a puzzle than the main game. Some of the puzzles may have multiple solutions, but you need to think carefully about where to place each of the tiles. As you know what tiles you have access to, you need to figure out how to place them in a way to score the required ways. While some of these puzzles are pretty simple, others are quite challenging as you need to think outside of the box. These might not be for everyone, but I thought they were a really nice addition to the game.

Honestly there isn’t a whole lot to complain about Quilts and Cats of Calico. The game is basically what you want out of a digital adaptation. If you like the board game or tile laying games in general, I think you will really enjoy the game. It simply won’t be for everyone though. If you don’t really care for the board game, I don’t see anything that the video game does that would change your mind. If you aren’t into board game adaptations either, it probably won’t be for you either.

So before I wrap up, I wanted to quickly talk about the game’s length. This ultimately depends on what you want to get out of the game. I would say that the story mode will likely take most players around 6-8 hours to “beat”. After the game is over all of the characters have an additional challenge for you to complete. This will likely add another couple hours to the story mode. Otherwise the amount of time you get out of the game will depend solely on how much you want to play the main game. The AI competitors are good enough to keep you entertained for quite a while. When you add in local and online multiplayer, you could get a ton out of the game if you want to.

Quilts and Cats of Calico is pretty much what you want out of a digital adaptation of a board game. It takes the board game mechanics and streamlines them. The gameplay is exactly the same, except things like scoring have been automated. The game works because it is a great blend of simple mechanics mixed with quite a bit of complexity beneath the surface. In a way it kind of feels like a puzzle. This is a game that you will get better at the more you play it. Quilts and Cats of Calico has the typical solo game mode against AI opponents which are solid. There are also multiplayer modes for local and online. A somewhat surprising addition is the story mode which is quite fun as it relies even more on the puzzle nature of the game.

Quilts and Cats of Calico is going to be a game that fans of the board game or tile placement games in general will probably really enjoy. It isn’t going to be for everyone though. If you don’t really care for the board game or these types of games in general, it likely won’t change your mind. If you have any interest in Quilts and Cats of Calico though, I think you should really consider picking it up.

Quilts and Cats of Calico

Release Date: March 5th, 2024 | Systems: Mac, Nintendo Switch, PC

Developer: Monster Couch | Publisher: Monster Couch, Flatout Games | ESRB Rating: Everyone

Genres: Board Game, Casual, Indie, Puzzle

Official Website:


  • Faithful adaptation of the board game.
  • Simple to play, but has quite a bit of complexity beneath the surface.


  • Likely won’t change your opinion if you don’t like these type of games.
  • You may have to wait quite a while each turn if you are playing against a player that has to over-analyze every turn.

Rating: 4.5/5

Recommendation: For fans of the board game or board game adaptations in general.

Where to Purchase: Nintendo Switch, Steam

We at Geeky Hobbies would like to thank Monster Couch and Flatout Games for the review copy of Quilts and Cats of Calico used for this review. Other than receiving a free copy of the game to review, we at Geeky Hobbies received no other compensation for this review. Receiving the review copy for free had no impact on the content of this review or the final score.