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  • Writer's pictureAndrew Davidson

A Beautifully Designed Civilization Woven into a Beautiful Tapestry

A Beautifully Designed Civilization Woven into a Beautiful Tapestry

What’s the first game you remember playing?

Was it on a console or PC?

Did it have a profound impact on you as more than mere idle amusement?

The first two serious computer games—other than solitaire or pinball—I remember playing the snot out of were Command & Conquer and Age of Empires. Later came Starcraft, Sim City, and Sid Meir’s Civilization. Technically, all the games listed—except the last one—are not classified as civilization games; instead, gamers refer to them as real-time strategy games (RTS). However, the last one stuck with me as I grew into a somewhat well-balanced and completely irresponsible adult. Even back then, something about civilization games really spoke to me. I didn’t even fancy all the combat and action like Starcraft and the others. I relished having a multitude of options and the autonomy to grow my civilization however I saw fit—and with a distinct faction of my choosing. Maybe my civilization focuses on colonization and exploration; maybe my civilization developed reading, writing, education, and become incredibly cultured. The choices were endless.

Published by Stonemaier Games in 2018, Tapestry is a beautiful reworking of the civilization-style board game. Tapestry supports 1 – 5 players, ages 12+, and takes the better part of two hours to play. In Tapestry, players beautifully and arduously drive their faction (which the base game comes with fifty playable factions) to victory. Before any comment on gameplay, the game aesthetics are incredible—typical of every Stonemaier Games product. Let’s face it. Stonemaier Games has a long-standing reputation for releasing A+ quality games; from components (Wingspan) to artwork (Scythe), they offer top-shelf games.

On a player’s turn, they either spent resources to advance on one of the tracks: military, science, exploration, or technology. Or players may play a “tapestry card” that signifies the end of the era for that particular player. Once a player plays their fifth “tapestry card,” their game is over, and they no longer take any actions. The tricky thing about Tapestry is the endgame; unlike thousands and thousands of other games, where the game ends for the entire table at the same time, in Tapestry, player’s games end on a player-by-player basis. If Mr. Bill plays his final tapestry card, he receives the pleasure of counting his victory points and watching his friends play out the rest of their games. This difference in ending makes Tapestry quite interesting as players want to maximize how they use their resources to progress on the tracks as much as possible before starting a new era.

Regarding civilization games, Tapestry does not stand alone in the market, but it stands tall and proud. In this writer’s opinion, every excellent game company has a “swing-and-a-miss” game. A game that does not hold up to the company’s body of work. A game that is a letdown to the gaming community. When it comes to Tapestry and Stonemaier Games…..I am still waiting for that swing-and-a-miss.

Andrew Davidson

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