Calico: A Quilt & Cats Game Guide – Rules, Strategy


Calico is a game I stumbled upon a while back, and it’s been a hit with my friends ever since. It’s a tile-laying board game where players are tasked with making a quilt. Sounds simple, right? But there’s a twist – you’re also trying to attract cats to curl up on your quilt by making patterns they like. The game was created by Kevin Russ and published by Flatout Games in 2020. It’s a mix of strategy and luck, and it’s got a bit of a puzzle vibe to it, which I really enjoy.

The game’s background is pretty cool. It started as a Kickstarter project and quickly gained a lot of support. People loved the idea of a game that was not only strategic but also had an adorable theme. The history of Calico is a testament to how a good idea can become a beloved game with the support of a community.

Quick Tip for Calico

Always keep an eye on your opponents’ boards. You can often predict their next move and plan your strategy accordingly.

Rules for playing Calico

Calico rules are a bit to take in at first, but once you get the hang of it, it’s pretty straightforward. The game is played over several rounds, and each player has a board representing their quilt. The goal is to place tiles on your board to create patterns and attract cats. Each tile has a color and a pattern, and you’ll score points based on how you place them.

There are three main ways to score points: by creating groups of tiles with the same color, by creating groups of tiles with the same pattern, and by attracting cats to your quilt. There are also bonus points available if you can meet the requirements of the design goals on your board.

Each turn, you’ll choose a tile from a central market and place it on your board. Then, you’ll draw a new tile to refill the market. The game ends when all players have filled their boards, and the player with the most points wins.

Equipment and Setup for Calico

To play Calico, you’ll need the game box, which comes with quilt boards for each player, tiles with different colors and patterns, cat tokens, and design goal tiles. If you don’t have the game, you could try making a DIY version, but I’d recommend getting the official one because the components are really nice.

Setting up the game is easy. Each player gets a quilt board, and you’ll place the design goal tiles on it. Then, you’ll create a supply of tiles and cat tokens near the play area. The central market is set up with three tiles from the supply, and each player gets two tiles to start with.

How to Play Calico and Game Mechanics

Calico how to play is all about making smart choices and planning ahead. Here’s a breakdown of the game mechanics:

  1. Setup: Give each player a quilt board and two random tiles. Place three tiles in the central market and set aside the cat and button tokens.
  2. Gameplay: On your turn, you’ll pick one of the two tiles in front of you to place on your board. Then, you’ll choose a new tile from the market to replace it. The goal is to create patterns and attract cats.
  3. End of the Game: The game ends when all players have filled their quilt boards. You’ll then score points for patterns, cats, and any bonus objectives you’ve completed.

During the game, you’ll go through several phases:

  1. Tile Placement: Choose a tile from your hand and place it on your board.
  2. Tile Drafting: Pick a new tile from the central market to add to your hand.
  3. Scoring: At the end of the game, calculate your points based on the patterns you’ve created and the cats you’ve attracted.

How to Win at Calico

Winning at Calico is about balancing your goals. You want to create patterns that will attract cats while also completing the design goals on your board. It’s important to plan ahead and think about the tiles you’ll need to complete your patterns. You also need to keep an eye on the other players and make sure you’re not making it too easy for them to score points.

Beginner players should focus on understanding how the different patterns work and how to attract cats. Intermediate players can start to think about blocking other players and planning their moves more strategically. Advanced players will be looking for ways to maximize their points on every turn and might even sacrifice some goals to score big on others.

Best Strategies for playing Calico game

There are a few strategies that can help you win at Calico. First, try to complete your design goals as early as possible. This will give you a good foundation for the rest of the game. Second, pay attention to the cats. Each cat is attracted to a different pattern, so try to create those patterns in areas where you can also complete design goals.

Another strategy is to keep an eye on the tiles that are coming up in the market. If you see a tile that you need, make sure to grab it before someone else does. And finally, don’t be afraid to block other players. If you see someone going for a big score, place a tile that will mess up their pattern.


There are good and bad scenarios you might find yourself in while playing Calico. A good scenario is when you have the perfect tiles to complete multiple goals at once. A bad scenario is when you’re stuck with tiles that don’t fit anywhere on your board.

To turn a bad scenario to your advantage, try to place tiles that will at least contribute to attracting a cat or completing a future pattern. Sometimes, sacrificing a few points now can lead to a big payoff later.

Frequently Asked Questions about playing Calico game

Q: How many players can play Calico?

A: Calico is designed for 1 to 4 players.

Q: Can I move a tile once I’ve placed it?

A: No, once a tile is placed, it cannot be moved.

Q: How long does a game of Calico typically last?

A: A game usually lasts about 30 to 45 minutes.

Q: Are there expansions for Calico?

A: As of my knowledge cutoff, there are no official expansions for Calico.

Q: Can children play Calico?

A: Yes, Calico is great for kids, especially if they enjoy puzzles and patterns.

Additional Subtopics

There are a few more things worth mentioning about Calico. For example, there’s a solo mode where you can play against a virtual opponent. This is a great way to practice your strategy. Also, the game has a strong community online where you can find tips and tricks for improving your play.

Calico Review [Video]

Official Calico Rulebook [PDF]