Tapestry is a two-hour civilization game for 1-5 players designed by Jamey Stegmaier.
Create the civilization with the most storied history, starting at the beginning of humankind and reaching into the future. The paths you choose will vary greatly from real-world events or people — your civilization is unique!
In Tapestry, you start from nothing and advance on any of the four advancement tracks (science, technology, exploration, and military) to earn progressively better benefits. You can focus on a specific track or take a more balanced approach. You will also improve your income, build your capital city, leverage your asymmetric abilities, earn victory points, and gain tapestry cards that will tell the story of your civilization.
- 1 individually numbered box (out of 25,000 first-printing English copies)
- 1 game board
- 4-page rulebook
- 2 reference guides (identical)
- 18 prepainted landmark miniatures (28-70mm tall)
- 100 income building miniatures
- 16 asymmetric civilization mats
- 6 unique capital city mats
- 5 income mats
- 43 different tapestry cards
- 7 trap cards
- 48 unique territory tiles
- 15 unique space tiles
- 33 tech cards
- 3 custom dice
- 65 player tokens (cubes)
- 50 outpost tokens
- 1 custom insert
- 28 Automa cards (solo mode)
- 1 Automa mat
- 1 Automa rulebook
- 6 reference cards
Tapestry includes a total of 117 cards (57x87mm). The box is 296x296x100mm and weights 2.8 kg.
Design Diary post #1 from designer Jamey Stegmaier
Thanks for joining me for the first design diary post for Tapestry! I have a lot to cover over the next few weeks, and I want to start with something specific and meaty so you know what the game is all about before I delve into other anecdotes that happened during the design journey.
So right from the start, I want to share with you the core mechanism of Tapestry.
Like many of my games, there are no rounds or phases in Tapestry. Each player simply takes turns clockwise until the game ends (I’ll talk about how the game ends in a future post). On most of your turns, you’ll be taking something called an “advance” turn.
An advance turn is short and simple: You’ll pick one of the four tracks (technology, science, military, exploration), pay a cost, advance your token one space on the track, and gain the resulting benefit (then optionally pay to gain a bonus, if any). All players have tokens on all 4 tracks–there’s no blocking.
This is your main choice on pretty much every turn of the game: In what way do I want my civilization to advance? Other than increasing costs on each track, the game doesn’t limit your advancement. It’s perfectly normal in Tapestry for a player to focus on 1 or 2 tracks and neglect the others. This is part of the narrative of the history you’re creating–you may not have invented wagons, but you understand nanotechnology. Or you may not know the basics of mathematics, but you wield drone assassins.
As you advance on each track, the benefits you gain become increasingly varied and powerful. In total, there are 48 different track benefits. That’s a daunting number, and there are a lot of icons, but at any given time, you only have 4 options. This narrows your decision space while giving you a distinct feeling of progress as you advance.
It also allowed the game to cover a wide variety of advancements in a fairly accurate order (within each category). Each track starts near the beginning of mankind and extends into the future.
The action-selection system wasn’t always this way. For the first few months of playtesting, the board had a wild, busy layout. It was overwhelming, and fortunately I realized that the variety of options on the board could be maintained while streamlining the system down to 4 tracks instead of 8 branching tracks. The 4 tracks that were removed were shifted to another system in the game that I’ll talk about later.
When I shifted to the more streamline system and eventually entered blind playtesting, I gathered data on which tracks people were completing and which felt more fun to use (often the two answers were the same). There were some big adjustments along the way to update the core actions, then a lot of fine-tuning specific actions and identifying problematic benefits.
So that’s it! Pay the cost, advance your token, gain the benefit.
Part of the reason I’m sharing this with you today is because it’ll help tomorrow’s big component reveal make more sense. There’s a hint about this in the photo.
Design Diary post #2 from designer Jamey Stegmaier
I’ve wanted to design a civilization game for a long time, but it wasn’t until 2 years ago that something clicked and made me move forward with it. That something–more of a “someone,” really–was a sculptor named Rom Brown.
Rom’s hobby is to create tiny, detailed sculpts upon request for pretty much any game. They’re made out of clay, hence “Codename Clay.” I happened to stumble upon his website to see a building he had created, and instantly I had a vision for what the civ game could look like.
I reached out to Rom and explained the idea, which involved making a test batch of a few sample buildings to see if Panda could replicate the look of clay in painted plastic miniatures. So we gave it a try, and they turned out great at both levels (the only nervewracking part was sending the sculpts from New Zealand to China!)
This initial process took several months, which gave me time to start to work on the initial design for Tapestry–I needed to figure out what these fancy buildings would do in the game!
I also had to balance the cost of making these types of miniatures, as prepainted minis are very expensive. I knew I wanted at least *some* of them to be prepainted–there was just something really special about the aesthetic. I was only going to make 1 civ game in my career, so I wanted it to be really beautiful.
Along the way, the buildings separated into two groups: Prepainted “landmarks” and unpainted “income buildings.” I’ll talk more about those income buildings in an upcoming post–today is about the landmarks.
There are 18 prepainted landmark building miniatures in Tapestry. They range in height from 28mm to 70mm. They all fit into a custom insert, accompanied by a diagram on the side of the box indicating where each building fits:
Each landmark represents that you are the “first” to do something in the world of Tapestry. For example, if you’re the first to invent metallurgy on the technology track, you gain the forge building and place it in your capital city. You have the world’s first/oldest forge. Rom designed the landmarks so that as you advance further, the aesthetic of the building becomes more futuristic. The result is similar to what you see on the front of the box, cities with a mix of old and new.
12 of the landmarks appear on the advancement tracks. The other 6 show up on tech cards, which I’ll discuss in a future post. Of note about the advancement tracks is that the buildings were originally going to be placed on those tracks during setup, but we found in playtesting the final board with the final minis that they made it hard to read the icons on the board from certain angles. So we added a separate landmark mat for those 12 landmarks:
So why do these landmarks matter in the game? Each player has a capital city that is represented (a) on a starting hex on the game board and (b) as a randomized player mat matching the topography of the corresponding area on the board. You will place landmarks and income buildings on this mat during the game to try to complete rows and columns (to gain ongoing victory points) and complete 3×3 districts (to gain instant resources).
The income buildings are each 1×1, but the landmarks feature a variety of base sizes. The only restriction is that they can’t be placed on impassable terrain (red dots on the landmark mat; though, the red dots are also good, as they count as “complete”). So there’s a bit of a puzzle–inspired by A Feast for Odin–to decide exactly where to place your landmarks.
The height of the buildings doesn’t really matter (other than adding to the dramatic skyline of your capital city), though in the rare case of a tiebreaker at the end of the game, the player with the tallest building wins.
I anticipate that some people might ask why we don’t offer a version of the game with unpainted minis or tiles instead of these fancy landmarks, and I think that’s a perfectly reasonable question. We debated those options. But in the end, I decided that these prepainted buildings were an integral part of the experience of playing Tapestry. Your civilization will be vibrant, colorful, and elevated!