Tapestry is a game for 2-5 players (or solo if using the Automata Engine rules). Players in Tapestry are working independently to build civilizations by advancing along Technology, Exploration, Military, and Science tracks. Along the way, they’ll invent stuff, conquer neighboring territories, discover new lands, and bolster their capitol city in an effort to earn the most points by the end of the fifth era.
There are two main areas players will be interacting with throughout the game: a central board that represents the world map surrounded by the four advancement tracks, and their own tableau that holds a player’s personal building pool, starting civilization power card, currency tracker, researched technologies, and bingo card-like capitol city map. Additionally, the tableau holds the player’s “tapestry” signifying the different eras their civilization goes through during the game. New eras grant additional bonuses and benefits, and also mark the game’s progress as players will end their portion of the game after reaching the fifth era.
The first turn of the game is an initial income phase that sets players up with their starting funds, an exploration tile, and a Tapestry card for future ages. Subsequent turns consist of either advancing on advancement tracks, or retiring an age starting a new one, and collecting income. Advancing along tracks grant an immediate benefit like placing an exploration tile on the world map or placing a building. The key to advancement is that everything ties to everything else, especially as the game progresses. You might be able to place a building from your pool into your capitol city, and by doing so you’ll improve the benefits received during your income phase, or you might unlock a prerequisite for an advancing technology, or you might be able to place a building in such a way that it will grant you additional currency. How you advance might be influenced by your current era’s Tapestry card, or by your civilization’s innate strength. Seeing all of these connections at the beginning is near-impossible, but on multiple playthroughs it becomes easier to start making plans for mid- and late-game.
Component-wise, everything is Stonemaier standard. Currency tokens and cubes are plastic. Player mats are card stock with a glossy and textured finish. Cards are high-quality. Exploration tiles are heavy chipboard and everything is illustrated beautifully. Icons are clear on the board, but prerequisite requirements on technologies are difficult to read, especially from across the table. More contrast would have been helpful here.
There’s a reason for the higher-than-average sticker price on though: so many miniatures. Each player has 20 buildings of their own (so 100 come in the box) and then you have the pre-painted landmark buildings. These are seriously awesome pieces of kit and make the game beautiful to look at. My issue though? While the landmarks are amazing, I wish they did something special in-game. All buildings take up space in your capitol city board, and landmarks have much larger foot-prints potentially setting up better placement bonuses, but once they’re placed, they’re just kind of sitting there. These are deluxe components that make for great eye-candy. Practically, they could have been replaced with illustrated chipboard tiles and used just as easily; it would have dropped the price tag a fair bit I’d assume. That said, if you’re looking to splurge on deluxe, Tapestry is very fairly priced for what it comes with.
Tapestry is a great civ-inspired game that plays in less than 2 hours and I’ve enjoyed it each time I’ve played it. There are a lot of things to keep track of during game play because of all of the interactions, so playing with friends who aren’t super-competitive makes for a far more pleasant experience as everyone’s helping everyone else make sure some little thing isn’t missed. Definitely a pleasant way to spend part of an afternoon.
Designed by: Jamey Stegmaier (Stonemaier Games)
Player Count 1-5
Playtime: 90-120 Minutes
Time to Learn: 15 minutes
Am I happy I bought it?: Definitely. There are a lot of different strategies to that can be explored here, and it’s really a joy to play.
Note: I purchased this game from Adventures Underground because they’re awesome.
Written by Brendan Quinn; President of Tri-City Area Gaming. Learn more about the 200+ annual gaming events we host by visiting http://www.tricityareagaming.com.