PATCH, A Card Game That Teaches, Inspires & Challenges Modular Musicians

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PATCH is a new card game for modular musicians that inspires, challenges you, and helps you master your existing setup without buying new modules.

Modular synthesis is challenging. You don’t have a template X that you follow and automatically write a hit. It’s comparable with LEGO. There are sample patches, but the real fun is to act out your own creativity. Every user has here a different approach, own ideas for combining modules or unique module settings. This creates many new beautiful patches that you may not have come across in a plugin.

It is time-consuming and you have to deal with it for a long time to get your first good ideas out. This is because there are no presets. Each module must first be learned, understood, and mastered. This is a long process, but here you learn synthesis from scratch, i.e. the complexity of signal paths, etc. Even for experienced “modularists”, modular can be challenging because you don’t want to repeat yourself in the sounds. A new card game called PATCH can provide variety here

Patch Card Game

PATCH Card Game

PATCH is a new card game for modular musicians that you can play alone or in a group. You can’t fight, win, or conquer. It is a game that challenges, inspires you but also puts you in unknown patching situations. The developer says: “I want to create something that would force me to make choices that I wasn’t thinking about“. A food for thought for new ideas. What you normally take from long YouTube video tutorials only in a card game and better.

With YouTube videos, you try to recreate patches or even buy the same module as the creator has. According to the motto: if I have that, I’m able to create this patch. The Patch card game can be used on any system. No new modules are necessary for this. With every new card, the game challenges you and your modular system.

Patch Card Game

Abstraction, Progression, Disruption

The game is cleverly designed. There are 25 cards, categorized into three different types that form the construct:  Abstraction, Progression, and Disruption. The starting point is the abstraction cards that are a framework or a set of rules that the patch must follow. This is followed by the progression cards. These generally aim to evolve or morph the state of the patch in a simple but impactful way. Like, turn every attenuator down by half…

The Distribution category seeks to alter the state of the patch significantly. Here the game challenges you with new patching situations. Since modular synthesis is extremely versatile, you can play this game over and over again without repeat yourself sonically.

The idea is brilliant in my opinion. Since it is not a classic card game with a winner & loser but one that puts you together with your modular system. It breaks up your typical patching habits, is a stimulus for new ideas but also one that enforces your relationship to your existing system. Plus, no temptations for new modules.

Patch Card Game Vol.1 is available for $25 USD. The first batch is sold out but you can pre-order it now.

More information here: PATCH

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  1. Oblique Strategies for modular? But not really that oblique, too literal. It’s too easy to create something that doesn’t sound. Instead of turn all the attenuators to 10, how about Make the knobs point in the opposite direction?

  2. For those who use software modulars (from VCV, Cherry Audio, Reaktor, Softube, Bitwig…) it might make sense to have a software version.

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