I've called the automa Neil, as I understand he's a bit clumsy at making quilts and I'd like to stand a chance.
I've owned this deck of cards for solo play of Uwe Rosenberg's Patchwork since they came out, but it took months for me to finally try them. I was surprised at how much fun I had. Neil takes some patches and collects some income, like you'd expect from an automated opponent, but with some good tactics (sometimes going for the largest patch, sometimes for the most buttons, then again staying behind so he can take another turn).
There are five levels of difficulty, that mainly differ in the scoring at the end. So in most cases you can see how well you'd have done at another difficulty level as well.
I played my first game on apprentice level (level 2). And managed a large win. I would have beaten Neil on master difficulty! So my next game was on that level (level 4). I did very bad. Serves me right for overconfidence.
Ever since, I play on fellow difficulty (level 3) and that feels like the sweet spot for me. Challenging, but with some hope for winning.
There are two sets of cards included in the Patchwork Automa. The normal deck, that I used in my first plays, just does something unexpected every turn. And then there's a tactical deck. That one shows on the back how many buttons Neil will have for spending on his next turn. I absolutely love that version. It simulates all decision-making of a two-player game.
Of course, it's still an automa, so it cheats and gets its points way more easy than you do. And as the difficulty levels are for the most part just about handing out extra points to Neil, I don't really see the difference with a beat-your-own-score game. But it doesn't matter. This pack of cards provides a very good solo variant for one of my favourite two-player games. I'm not just going through the motions, I'm having fun. More Uwe quality time for me.