Design Diary

This is a compilation of the designer diary entries posted in the Tapestry Facebook group. They are listed here in chronological order, with the most recent entry at the top.


August 22: Automa (by Morten Monrad Pedersen)

The Stonemaier Automas (artificial opponents) have come in various numbers in our games. Scythe had 1, Between Two Cities had 2, and Charterstone allowed any number of Automas up to the maximum number of players.

For Tapestry the number of Automas is different than all those. It’s non-integer. One and a quarter or there about 🙂.

SIMULATION COMPLEXITY AND PLAYER COUNT: A major factor in deciding how many Automas to include is the complexity of handling one.

From an Automa point of view the most complex elements in Tapestry are the income turns and the conquer action. The complexity is lower than for example the movement actions in Scythe, but since Tapestry is a lighter game, we decided that these two aspects were enough to rule out multiple Automas.

THE SHADOW EMPIRE: During the development process we realized that the Automa advancement track system was so simple that it would hardly increase the player’s workload to have another one that did nothing except advance on the tracks and compete for landmarks and the end-of-track achievement.

We called this new opponent the Shadow Empire. It plays by the exact same rules as the Automa for the mentioned aspects of the game and so the rules overhead is basically non-existing.

2-PLAYER: The simplicity of the Shadow Empire means that even non-solo gamers can figure it out 😛, so we decided to make a separate rulesheet with rules for using the Shadow Empire in games with 2 humans. This is of course a completely optional variant for a game that was designed from the ground up for 2 to 5 players.

MULTI-AUTOMA: Since Tapestry was announced we’ve been asked multiple times whether there’ll be support for multiple Automas. As you can see the answer the answer is “yes and no”.

We’ve also been asked whether there’ll be support for playing with different combinations of human and Automas. While we don’t support this out of the box, we wrote the rules so that only minimal tweaks are needed.

You can replace the Shadow Empire with a full Automa and with an additional set of Automa cards (not sure whether that’ll be released), you could in principle play with any combination of humans, Automas, and Shadow Empires. You can even avoid thinking for yourself and play an Automa-only game. Depending on the exact combination, you’ll need to substitute or provide some components.

I can’t stress enough that this is in not properly developed variant, the full extent of its testing is me playing most of a game as part of writing this post, it’s not in the box, and there’ll balance issues such as neighboring an Automa not being the same as neighboring a human.

The attached picture shows the board during my test play. I cheated a bit with the action selection of the Automas so that we all went heavily into the military track where the interaction is the most complex. The weird splotches and coloring are the death throes of my printer.

RULEBOOKS: If you’re interested, you can read the Automa rulebook here. Now I’ll leave you so that I can go work on to the next project where the number of Automas will be the square root of -1.

August 21: Rules!

It’s no secret that Tapestry’s rulebook is short; it’s just 4 pages. But does that mean the pages are each 1×1 meters? Or that we crammed each page with 10 columns of 6pt font with no visuals or examples? Or that we left out crucial information?

Before I reveal the truth, let me explain the reasoning behind the short rulebook, as it was very much part of my design process. My goal was to design a robust, complex civilization game that could be learned from the rulebook in 20-30 minutes and taught while you play (instead of sitting through a lengthy explanation).

Concordia was a major inspiration for this. Concordia has a very short rulebook, allowing instead for the complexity to emerge through the cards (cards that included explanations on them so you didn’t need to constantly refer back to the rulebook).

So with that in mind, Tapestry’s rulebook was 4 pages for the vast majority of the design process. That doesn’t mean it always worked—it benefited significantly from blind playtesting and a ton of editing and proofreading.

That said, I cheated a little bit (but for good reason!). While the core actions are explained in detail in the rulebook, there are a total of 48 benefits on the advancement tracks. Each benefit has a description on a single-page reference guide. It’s a separate, thicker piece of paper, and I included 2 of them on the game so you’re not constantly passing it around (and once you’re familiar with the game, you won’t need to look at it often). The back side of it lists what the tech cards do, though they don’t need an explanation if you know the icons on the tracks.

In addition to that, there are 6 reference cards in the game (1 for each player plus 1 if we ever decide to add a 6th player, which is unlikely). This card explains the core actions and outlines the steps of an income turn.

Also, it’s 2019, so there are other ways to learn the rules for the game. We contracted Rodney at Watch It Played to make a rules video for the game, which you can now watch here.

The Tapestry rulebook, reference guide, and reference cards are available as downloadable PDFs here (make sure to download it if possible, not just preview it, as previews can sometimes distort the text/layout).

What you won’t see in that folder yet are the Automa rules (Morten will share them soon) and translated rulebooks (our localization partners will share them on their websites when they’re ready).

Thank you for joining me on this design diary journey, and I look forward to hearing about your experiences learning Tapestry in September and beyond. Please keep in mind that teaching/learning games will definitely take longer than the normal 90-120 minute playing time!

August 20: Odds and Ends

This is the final day of my design diaries leading up to tomorrow’s reveal of the rulebook, so I have some odds and ends to cover today.

Preorders and how they work: The direct preorder for Tapestry from Stonemaier Games will run on our webstore from September 4-7 (starting around 9:30 am CDT on the 4th; subscribe to our e-newsletter to be notified as soon as it goes live). That’s also when the price and reviews will go live. We have plenty of copies (25,000), so please take your time and see if the game is for you before you order.

We will ship preorders from fulfillment centers within the US, Europe (UK), Canada, and Australia. Anyone can preorder (max 2 per order). People who preorder from us will receive the games in September. While we will offer a preorder discount, delivery much earlier than the retail release date, a guarantee that you’ll actually get an individually numbered first-run game in a timely manner, and the option to add on extra dice, I absolutely support anyone who wants to order the game from their retailer of choice. Every copy of Tapestry is identical (except for the individual numbering, which is limited to the English first printing).

Player token colors and accessibility: I carefully selected the 5 player colors in Tapestry based on colorblindness and differentiation from other colors used in the game. An app called Color Blind Pal helped me see through the eyes of people with various forms of colorblindness to select these colors: green, red, white, yellow, and blue. Also in regards to accessibility, we actually made a pretty late change to make the tracks and icons much bigger than they originally were, as I wanted them to be very visible from across the table.

Replayability and variability: Before some of the recent design diary posts, some people asked about the variability in the game, namely: Can’t you just try to advance on the same tracks every game if you want? In a way, the answer is yes—you have a lot of freedom in Tapestry. But there are so many different elements that push you in different directions, some more random than others: 48 territory tiles and 15 space tiles, the science die, conquer dice, 33 tech cards, 43 tapestry cards, 16 civ mats, and what other players decide to do. A lot of it is about timing—can you get to a landmark before another player? Can you advance on a certain track at the right time so you maximize a benefit on another track? Do you take an income turn now or wait a little longer? And so on.

Civilization Balance: There are hundreds of blind playtest sessions logged for multiplayer Tapestry, and even more for the solo mode. We tried our best to balance the civilizations. But…there are 16 of them. They’re very different. And there are so many combinations of them and player preferences. Basically, we think they’re balanced, but when we have 10,000 plays of Tapestry instead of 500+, some patterns may emerge.

So I built a counterbalance into the game. On the last page of the rulebook in the “end game” section, we invite players to log the winning faction and its score on our website. Over time, if it’s clear from a substantial amount of hard data that certain civilizations are better than others, we may add a note on our website saying that other players start with a certain number of victory points when playing against those factions. Hopefully this won’t be necessary, but I plan on supporting Tapestry for a long time, so I wanted to make a long-term commitment to balance.

I’ll see you tomorrow for the rulebook reveal!

August 19: Giving Credit Where It’s Due

While I (Jamey) am the designer of Tapestry, there were quite a few other people who were involved in bringing this game to life. I’m sure I’ll forget someone here, but I’ll do my best to give proper credit below.

Rom Brown: Tapestry wouldn’t exist without me being inspired by Rom’s sculpts and him agreeing to work with me. His sculpts defined the look of the game and created a foundation for me to design around. I’m hoping for the chance to thank him in person when I travel to New Zealand later this year.

Andrew Bosley: I’ve wanted to work with Andrew ever since seeing the Everdell Kickstarter, and he was a pleasure to work with on Tapestry. He’s extremely talented and versatile, and I think his style works well for the game. The box was a pivotal illustration, and we considered several different designs. Here are images of a few of them, as well as a timelapse video of the final version:

Christine Santana: Christine is our graphic designer, which for this project meant layout out the various rulebooks (Automa and multiplayer) and reference guides, setting the text, incorporating all proofreader revisions, and creating/checking the printer-ready files. Here’s what she put together for the bottom of the box.

Morten Monrad Pedersen (with Lieve Teugels and Nick Shaw): Morten is the creator of the intelligent AI system called Automa, which is typically used for solo play. He creates a new version of this system for almost all of our games. As he mentioned in his design diary post, the Automa playtesting of Tapestry made a significant difference in balancing the game and identifying (and eliminating) infinite loops.

Dave Hewer, Ben Doran, Eric Summerer, and Kim Euker: These 4 people have contributed to the marketing plan for Tapestry. Dave is our web dev/designer; he created the new banner at the top of the Facebook page, as well as other ads and content. Ben made the teaser trailer with Eric’s voice. And Kim is the professional photographer who took some of the photos I’ve included on this post.

Shannon and Panda: Shannon is my project manager at Panda (our manufacturer), and he was extremely helpful throughout the 2-year process of creating Tapestry. It was he who told me about the frosted board option, and he was instrumental in adjusting the box height after we found that everything didn’t fit well into the original box (we added 2 centimeters).

Playtesters and proofreaders: We have a ton of playtesters and proofreaders listed on the side of the Tapestry box, too many to name here (see image instead). I do want to mention Alan Stone, my cofounder, though, because he has the dubious distinction of testing my games when they’re very much still awkward works in progress.

Translators: Tapestry will have a worldwide release in 10 languages thanks to our localization partners. Because our English first printing closely overlapped with those 9 languages, it allowed us to make corrections to some of the text in Tapestry as translators caught things that the rest of us missed.

Distributor/Retailer Focus Group: After I underestimated Wingspan’s first printing demand and learned some hard lessons along the way, I formed a group of trusted distributors and retailers to help me decide on the first printing size of Tapestry. Back in the early spring I provided them with pretty detailed information about the game so they could give me their best guesses as to how well the game would sell, leading to the 25,000 unit quantity for the first English print run.

Rodney/reviewers: Later this week you’ll see a Watch It Played rules video for Tapestry from Rodney Smith, followed a few weeks later by unbiased opinions from reviewers around the world who were willing to commit to a very specific review period. I have no idea what these reviewers will say about the game—my intent is to offer you their perspectives about the final version of the game so you can decide if it’s a good fit for you.

There are many others that continue to contribute to Tapestry every day, including you! Thank you for your questions and enthusiasm, and I’m excited to hear your thoughts on the final game in September if you preorder it from Stonemaier Games.

August 18: Influences and Inspirations

Leading up to and during the design process for Tapestry, I played and researched a number of other civilization-themed. I wanted to make sure I fully understood what a civ game felt like, what players would expect, and what I could add to the genre. I also just play a lot of games in general, so there were some other influences as well.

Among the games that label themselves to be civ games that I played were: Golden Ages, Civilization V (video game), 7 Wonders/Duel, Civ: A New Dawn, Through the Ages, Clash of Cultures, Nations, Nations Dice, Antiquity, Imperial Settlers, and Through the Ages. I also played Sid Meier’s Civilization (the board game), but not until after Tapestry’s design was complete. I’ve also played and enjoyed Trade on the Tigris since then.

If you’d like to see my favorite things about those games and an overall ranking, here’s the video I filmed earlier this year:

I think the quintessential civ game is the Civilization video game. I actually hadn’t played it, but my company’s cofounder, Alan, had played it a ton in college. So he was a great resource, as were videos on YouTube about more recent iterations. I also ended up playing Civilization V a bit, especially to understand the “one more turn” aspect that I’ve heard so many people talk about. I really liked that you started with so little and ended up with such a vast, advanced empire—I tried to replicate that in Tapestry. I also enjoyed the asymmetry and the look of the map. Oh, and the tech tracks were a great source of inspiration for Tapestry’s advancement tracks.

From among all of those other games, you’ve probably seen the influences (things I liked and disliked) mentioned in my other design diary posts. For example, it didn’t make sense to me that if I, say, invent the wheel, that you also wouldn’t be able to invent the wheel (i.e., I claim a card, preventing you from claiming it). I also knew that some of the punishing elements in acclaimed civ games—while thematically sound—just weren’t a good fit for my style of design. Also, as discussed yesterday, I wanted to make sure Tapestry was a civ game in scope, not a dudes-on-a-map game.

A few common elements I decided not to include were religion and happiness. For religion, while it’s certainly had a huge impact on our real-world history, Tapestry doesn’t feature real-world locations, events, or people. Religion is a sensitive subject, so I figured it would be best not to include it. As for happiness, I just wasn’t sure how to quantify it, especially given the scope of Tapestry’s story arc. If we’re spanning from the beginning of mankind into the future, it didn’t seem to make sense to look at the happiness of everyone in your vast civilization at any given time.

During the blind playtest process, I think every survey I sent included the question, “Does this feel like a civilization game? Why or why not?” The prototype had no art, as I wanted the mechanisms themselves to have that civ feel. The answer wasn’t always “yes,” but I got a lot more affirmatives as each wave of playtesting progressed.

A few other games that influenced (or resembled) Tapestry are A Feast for Odin (spatial element, lots of actions), Mombasa (use of tracks), Everdell (no rounds), and Russian Railroads (tracks and escalating VP).

I’m sure there are other influences that I haven’t mentioned—perhaps you’ll notice them in the final game.

To date, what is your favorite civilization game, and what makes it feel like a civ game to you?

August 17: Military, Conquering, and Player Interaction

So far I’ve explained the core actions on 3 of the advancement tracks, which leaves just 1: military. Today I’ll discuss the military track, conquering, and recap the various forms of player interaction in Tapestry.

From early on in Tapestry’s design, I realized that I needed to do certain things so Tapestry was a civ game, not a dudes-on-a-map game or an empire-building game. That isn’t a knock on those genres (Scythe fits into both of those genres). Rather, I really wanted Tapestry to feel epic in scope, and that meant implementing a macro view of map expansion, not a micro view of troop movement over a specific period of time.

Real-world history is bookmarked with famous wars and battles, so I did try for a long time to capture those memorable moments in Tapestry. But it always seemed to detract and distract from the core gameplay when tried to implement combat mechanisms.

So conquering in the final version of Tapestry works like this: If you gain a “conquer” benefit (usually on the military track), you choose a territory adjacent to a territory you control and place an outpost token on it. That territory must have at most 1 other token on it (usually an outpost, but there are some civs/tapestry cards that let you place other types of tokens), and it can’t be one that you already control.

Next, roll the conquer dice and choose the benefit on one of them. The red die gives you VP and the black die typically give you a resource. As I mentioned on Thursday, you only need 1 set of dice, but extras will be available during the Tapestry preorder in early September

If you conquer an opponent’s territory (i.e., a territory with an opponent’s outpost on it), you “topple” that outpost. It’s tipped over on the territory. It’s very important that their outpost remains in place, as it means the territory has 2 tokens and thus can’t be conquered again (this prevents players from just fighting back and forth over the same territory—it gives meaning to the final conquer for each territory).

This is also the reason why each player starts out with 2 of their outpost tokens on their starting territory—those territories can never be conquered. Each player has 10 outpost tokens, and once they’re on the map, they can’t be moved or removed.

Even though conquering an opponent’s territory can permanently switch control and improve your board position, there is a risk: trap cards! These are disguised as tapestry cards, and they’re why players keep their hand of tapestry cards private.

If you try to conquer my territory and I reveal a trap card, your outpost is toppled instead of mine (both tokens still end up on the territory). I also gain 1 of any resource for the pleasure of luring you into my trap.

Just so drawing a trap card is never a wasted action, you can alternately play it as a tapestry card on an income turn to simply gain 10 VP.

Why does territory control matter? Part of it is just that expanding gives you access to more places to explore and conquer. Also, on both your income mat and other places in the game, you might see a red hex icon inside the VP icon. It means, “Gain 1 VP for each territory you control.”

Also, there are some achievements on the board related to control, such as if you topple 2 opponent outposts or if you conquer the middle island on the board.

That segues into the overall topic of interaction. During the development and blind playtesting process, I focused a lot on giving players reasons to pay attention to their opponents. That’s the type of interaction I enjoy—you’ll see very little “take that” in our games.

So here’s the comprehensive list of all of the types of interaction in Tapestry (reasons to pay attention to other players):

–exploration (if I place a territory tile, it takes away a place that you could explore, but it could be a place that you’ll expand to)

–conquering and traps (should my civ move towards yours or away? Do we broker peace with each other? Do I set you up for a trap?)

–achievements (can you be the first to achieve these goals before other players)

–face-up tech cards (if I really want a card, I need to take it before someone else does)

–a number of tapestry cards compare you to other players or impact other players

–advancement track landmarks (a race among all players to reach new tiers on the tracks)

–a number of the asymmetric civilization abilities create interaction—often positive—with opponents

–neighbors (you can look at your neighbors when trying to upgrade tech cards, and if you’re the first of your neighbors to enter a new era on your income mat, you gain some extra resources)

Even though players can’t disrupt each other’s core actions in Tapestry, I think that list indicates a fair amount of player interaction.

I just have a few remaining design diaries before the full rulebook of Tapestry is revealed (though at this point, I think you may know all rules in the game—it is, after all, only a 4-page rulebook)!

August 16: Debugging Tapestry (written by Morten Monrad Pedersen)

One of the challenges when designing a game is to avoid strategy “bugs”. This can be weird and overpowered strategies (“The Halifax Hammer” in A Few Acres of Snow), infinite loops (the “Roofing Company” infinite resource loop in Glass Road), strategies that end the game prematurely (“Rusviet-Industrial” in Scythe), etc.

Spotting such bugs is what playtesting is for, and in this regard solo gaming has a major advantage because…

… when playtesting solo there are no other players to annoy

When I hunt for bugs, I’m annoying for other players. During the Tapestry playtesting I sat there apparently doing nothing, and nothing, and nothing, and nothing, and nothing while thinking many turns ahead to look for exploits. Other humans would have been bored to tears, but the Automas (artificial opponents) behaved like they were patience incarnate.

I would roll the game back to an earlier state, play again slightly different from there, roll back, tweak, etc. Sometimes meticulously writing everything down. Instead of complaining about this like humans would, the Automas even let me write on them when I couldn’t find my notebook.

Humans generally don’t take kindly to players who take over their game pieces and control their every action. The Automas on the other hand sat there as if they were just mindless stacks of cardboard and let me make all their decisions for them, so I could experiment with weird strategies.

They were happy to play the game for hours on end, never got bored, never said they wanted to switch games, and as if by magic they were available whenever I wanted to play, which meant that I’m probably the person who has played the last revisions of Tapestry the most.

Interaction, engines, and exploits

Because of this the solo playtesters and I could experiment with Tapestry and look for potential exploits in ways that few multiplayer testers could, which was good, because Tapestry has a couple of features that can lead to exploits.

First, there’s limited negative interaction between players, which means that it’s harder to prevent an opponent from pulling off a specific strategy than it is in games with many ways to hurt each other.

Second, it’s an engine builder so unfairly gained advantages can potentially be snowballed into landslide victories.

Solo testing improves the multiplayer game

During the development there were a few times where we managed to tune our Tapestry engines so that we could max out basically everything in the game and building more than the capital city could accomodate and we found ways to string long series of moves in just the right order to combo excessively.

We worked with Jamey to tweak the issues away after which we pounded away at them again to make sure that the holes had been closed properly without opening new ones.

The result of our work was that not only did the game become available to solo gamers, it was also made better for those who’ll never open the solo mode rulebook.

August 15: Science

What is a civilization without science?

It was really important to me from the beginning that each track—technology, military, exploration, and science—to have a core mechanism that really *felt* like you were doing that thing.

The way science ended up working is one of the most pleasant surprises for me to discover during the design process for Tapestry. Basically, early in the design process, back in the days when there were 8 different tracks on the board, I decided to try using a dice mechanism for science.

My reasoning was that early forms of science started out as a bit of a gamble. You might hope to discover one thing, but you actually answer some other mystery of the world.

The mechanism was simple: To “research,” you rolled a d8, advanced once on the corresponding track for free (remember, there were 8 tracks back then), and gained the benefit.

Much to my surprise, this version of research was an instant hit with playtesters (including myself). Which is pretty odd, right? Instead of choosing the track you want, you’re leaving your fate to a die.


I’m not kidding. People were positively giddy every time they rolled the science die. They would do it early in the game when they felt overwhelmed by other choices, and they would do it late in the game in the hopes of getting a “free” benefit on a more expensive track.

I was so bewildered by how much fun it was that I did some research into the psychology of random rewards. If you’re interested, here’s an article to check out:

As the game evolved, so did the research mechanism. But the science die remained. After we switched to 4 advancement tracks, the custom die only needed to have 4 sides, but rolling a d4 or even a d8 isn’t nearly as satisfying as rolling a chunky d12 (my favorite die). So the final die is a custom d12.

Here’s how research works: You roll the science die, and then you *may* advance for free on the corresponding track. If the research icon has an X below it, it means that nothing else happens. You’re just advancing, not gaining any benefits or bonuses. You’re just pushing yourself forward on a track, moving towards better benefits and landmarks.

The science track also has research icons with no X. For those, if you choose to advance, you’ll gain the corresponding benefit and you may pay to gain the bonus (if any).

Eventually you’ll advance far enough on the science track that you’ll stop rolling the die. Instead, you’ll simply choose from the available tracks (specific icons), advance for free, and (as long as there’s no X), gain the corresponding benefit (and pay to gain the bonus, if any).

The science track ended up being one of the most difficult to balance. At times it was too powerful; others, not as much. And it was almost irresistible to playtesters either way, making it even more difficult to determine that it needed rebalancing. But as Morten will tell you tomorrow, I think we figured it out.

One quick note about the Tapestry preorder from Stonemaier Games in early September (4 days, games will ship to you from regional fulfillment centers in September): There are a total of 3 custom dice in Tapestry—1 for science and 2 for military, which I’ll discuss on Saturday. You only need 3 dice. BUT if you want a set of dice for each player, extra sets will be available on our webstore during the preorder (and after, while supplies last—we can always make more too). A “set” is 1 of each of the 3 dice, so if you think you’ll only play Tapestry with 3 total players, you could buy exactly 2 extra sets of the dice. If you want. It’s totally not necessary, just an optional perk.

August 14: Tech Cards

Let’s talk about tech cards today! There are 33 of them in Tapestry, all unique.

You already got a good look at the technology track on the game board, which I revealed in the first design diary post. Here it is again to jog your memory.

The card icon you see here represents an “invent” benefit: Gain a tech card and place it to the right of your capital city mat in the bottom row. There are always 3 face-up tech cards next to the board, and if you don’t like any of them, you can draw randomly from the deck.

That’s it! For now. It’s as if you’ve conceived the idea of paper, penicillin, or time travel, but you haven’t actually figured it out yet.

It’s only later—typically during an income turn, but also elsewhere—that you get to upgrade a tech card. You then slide a card of your choice up to the middle row and gain the benefit in the circle.

Or, if you already have a tech card in the middle row, you can fully invent it by sliding it to the top row and gaining the powerful benefit in the square. The catch here, though, is that you can only upgrade to the top row if you or a neighbor (an opponent sitting directly to your right or left) has achieved a specific prerequisite like “be in the second tier of the military track.”

In this way, the tech cards are a little bit like a Magic mechanism called “suspend,” which is one of my all-time favorite mechanisms. You’re playing a card that does nothing at first, but simply by being patient, it’ll burst into action with a powerful ability (and help you a little bit along the way).

Most of the 33 tech cards are actual technologies. I picked some of the classics—eyeglasses, dynamite, and the printing press—but I also tried to include some important inventions that don’t get as much credit as they should, like ammonia, canned food, anesthesia, and plumbing.

But there are also 6 tech cards that result in you gaining a landmark (the other 12 landmarks are gained from the advancement tracks), like the library and the com tower (one of my favorite sculpts in the game).

Which tech card are you most looking forward to inventing?

August 13: Exploration and the Map

While Through the Ages and 7 Wonders have shown that civ games can work great without maps, I couldn’t couldn’t resist putting one in Tapestry. Today I’m going to talk about Tapestry’s map and exploration.

It took quite a few months and iterations to figure out the foundation for the map system, though. Originally I experimented with a hub-and-spoke map system, which I tested using a map of Europe. It was fine, but it didn’t scale well, and it felt stagnant–with it, players would be using the same map every game, while I wanted each session of the Tapestry world to feel different.

Eventually I switched to the hex map/tile system that’s in the final game. I think I was designing this around the same time as the Scythe modular board, as the two share a combination of (a) a partially preset board (b) tiles that you place on the board. Unlike the Scythe modular board, though, there’s no tile setup required for Tapestry. You just put the board on the table.

The style the Andrew Bosley (the artist) and I settled on was inspired by the latest Civilization video game. The beige areas are unexplored, and the art in those areas is just background art waiting for you to place tiles on top of it. There are 6 starting regions for this 5-player game, with each starting hex’s terrain corresponding to that player’s capital city mat.

Each starting area is designed to give players the immediate option to explore (3 adjacent unexplored hexes) or conquer (3 adjacent explored hexes). I’ll talk about conquering soon in a post about player interaction (there’s conquering, but no combat).

To explore, you’ll typically choose to advance on the exploration track onto an “explore” benefit (it’s an icon that appears several times on the track).

You’ll select a territory tile from hand (you’ll collect these during the game as income and on the exploration track; there are 48 unique tiles), place it on an unexplored hex adjacent to a territory you control, score VP based on how you oriented the tile, and gain the benefit on the territory tile (e.g., 1 resource). I wanted to give players a feeling of discovery when explore, hence the different benefits on the tiles.

This is a pretty powerful benefit, as you’re getting a lot all at once. In playtesting Tapestry, I found this to be the right balance for exploration, as (a) your ability to explore is limited by your expansion on the map and (b) you’re just placing tiles, not gaining ownership of them, so you could potentially be helping militaristic opponents.

For scaling reasons, I decided to make the game board double-sided. One side has a tighter map for 1-3 players; the other side has a larger map for 4-5 players.

It’s rare that you’ll fill the entire game board with tiles, but it’s still neat at the end of the day to see the nations and continents you created, especially since the tile-placement mechanism incentives players to align terrains with each other.

But wait, there’s more!

In addition to playing and researching civilization games during my design process, I also read a lot of comments from people on BoardGameGeek and reddit about what they wanted in a civ game. One comment in particular stood out to me: A person mentioned that they wished civ games didn’t only take place on the ground (Earth, a single planet, etc).

So in Tapestry, if you advance far enough in exploration, you can explore outer space.

There’s no map for space, just tiles that you’ll place next to your player mats. There are 15 of them in the game (also drawn randomly like territory tiles), and like benefits at the end of other tracks, they’re all VERY powerful.

That’s all for exploration! What do you think of this style of exploration? Do you prefer civ games to feature maps?

August 12, 2019: Tapestry Cards

The name of the game is Tapestry, but why? How is that concept manifested in the game?

Let’s start with the name. I typically brainstorm dozens of names for new games. We narrow it down to a few favorites, and our lawyer runs a trademark search on them, and we pick from those that survive the search. We often pursue this process while a game is in the design process (we don’t wait until the design is complete).

In this case, I really liked the name “Tapestry” because many medieval civilizations in history used ornate tapestries to record important parts of their history. That’s exactly what I wanted the game to be–not only did I want stories to emerge from the advancement tracks and interactions on the map (more on that soon), but also from specific memorable developments and bookmarks in your civ’s timeline.

This is what the tapestry cards do. In yesterday’s design diary, I mentioned that players each take 5 income turns over the course of the game. The primary way they track these turns is by playing tapestry cards on your income mat–you’ll play them at the beginning of your 2nd, 3rd, and 4th income turn (there’s also one, the Maker of Fire, built into every income mat to start the game). At the end of the game you can look at your tableau to see how your civilization’s idealogies changed over time.

The 43 unique tapestry cards are a mix of “when played” cards (instant benefit) and “this era” cards (ongoing benefit for the era you just began). Like other aspects of the game, timing is crucial with many of these cards–they don’t dictate your strategy, but if you plan on playing a certain card, you may make adjustments around maximizing it.

Unlike tech cards, which I’ll discuss soon, tapestry cards are a blind draw. This is related to my design philosophy that players shouldn’t be required to read text from all the way across the table. However, to counteract this randomness based on feedback from playtesters, I decided to integrate a tapestry card draw into the income mats. That way you end up with an abundance of tapestry cards in hand from which to choose (as well as ways late in the game to discard cards you didn’t use to gain points).

I also want to mention here that Andrew Bosley was wonderful to work with on these cards. I always ask our illustrators to feature a diversity of people in our games (gender, race, age, etc), and Andrew was very receptive to that. While the cards don’t refer to real historical moments, we also tried to be respectful and sensitive to events and developments these cards might remind people of–if we missed something, it was not intentional.

Also, thanks to some last-minute tips from Josh Ward, who you often see in our Facebook groups, we added some fun Easter eggs to a few of the cards. Can you spot any in the photos I’ve featured today?

August 11, 2019: Income and Game End

My Sunday Sitdown YouTube video today will be about how games end, so it seems like a good time for me to talk about that aspect of Tapestry today.

I’ve mentioned that the main type of turns players will take in Tapestry are “advance” turns (advance once on a track of your choice). The other type of turn is an “income” turn. Each player will take exactly 5 income turns during the game.

I knew I wanted players to collect income in Tapestry, as it’s a staple of many civ games (including Sid Meier’s Civilization). It conveys a sense of progress, and it feels good to get an increasing amount of resources over the course of the game.

The traditional tabletop method of letting players collect income is by structuring the game with a set number of rounds. While this works for many games, it just didn’t feel right in the early playtests for Tapestry. If we’re running separate civilizations over thousands of years, why are we pausing at the same time to collect income? Does turn order or first player change (and if so, what does that mean thematically)? Also, since there are sometimes interactive elements during income turns in Tapestry, they can’t be taken simultaneously anyway.

So I subconsciously took a nod from Everdell (which happens to be the game that Tapestry artist Andrew Bosley is most known for) and incorporated income turns into the flow of the game. You either take an advance turn or an income turn, and income turns are limited to 5 total.

At the beginning of the game, your income mat (all income mats are identical) is filled with income buildings. Like the landmark buildings, these were hand-sculpted by Rom Brown. Each player gets 20 of them, so there are a total of 100 income building miniatures in Tapestry.

Many of the benefits on the advancement tracks let you gain an income building (remove it from your income mat and place it on your capital city mat–see the August 9 design diary for information about that). Doing so reveals an income benefit.

When you’re ready to take an income turn (usually when you run out of resources, but not always), you’ll check to see if your civ ability triggers, you’ll play a tapestry card (more on that in an upcoming post), you’ll upgrade a tech card of your choice, gain all VP based on your income tracks, and then collect all other income (resources–which you keep track of on your income mat–territory tiles, and tapestry cards).

Over the course of the game, the VP and income you receive on income turns will increase exponentially, which is one of the reasons I’ve compared Tapestry to Russian Railroads. In both games, you may only gain a few victory points the first time you take an income turn, but in the final round you might collect 100+ VP. I really like that sense of progression in any game.

All of these are organically integrated into each income turn, including the very first turn of the game when you pretty much just collect resources and the last turn of the game when you pretty much just gain victory points. There’s nothing else to remember to do at the beginning, end, or middle–everything is always shown on your income mat.

As for the end of the game, because players choose when to take their income turns, it means that players will finish the game at slightly different times, with the player who finished first keeping a close eye on the VP track to see if opponents will catch them. It’s rare that player who have finished must wait for more than a few minutes, because the remaining players are waiting for fewer players to take their turns.

I think that’s it for today! If you have any questions, I’m happy to answer them.

August 10, 2019: Asymmetric Civilizations

One of my favorite elements of civilization games are asymmetric factions/nations/leaders. So I knew from the start of the Tapestry design process that starting and ongoing asymmetry would be a part of the game.

As is my typical method for asymmetrical design, though, I playtested the game (locally and blind playtesting) for a long time to make sure the foundation was solid before adding the different civilizations. During that time I was amassing a number of ideas (and getting increasingly excited about implementing them).

By the time we started testing the asymmetric civilizations, I had over a dozen concepts. I figured we would eliminate those that players weren’t enjoying as much and eventually end up with 8-10 unique civs.

But what I found is that most of them actually worked quite well. They needed tweaks and adjustments for clarity and balance, of course, but there were very few civilizations that needed to be outright cut.

As a result, the final version of Tapestry has 16 unique, asymmetric civilizations, each illustrated by Andrew Bosley. We didn’t hold back anything for an expansion.

At the beginning of the game, each player randomly draws 2 civilization mats and selects 1. Typically you’ll also end the game with just 1 civ, though there are a few ways to gain another.

Consistent with the rest of Tapestry, the civilizations don’t represent real-world nations. They’re more like cultural identities and ideologies. Each is designed to give players something unique and powerful to do without pigeonholing them into a prescribed strategy.

Also, with all the other things going on in Tapestry, I found that playertesters sometimes forgot to use their civilizations. So many of the final civ abilities trigger during your income turns (when you’re specifically reminded to check your civ mat).

With yesterday’s reveal of the capital city mats and today’s reveal of the civilization mats, you might be curious about the material we used for these mats. It’s really hard to tell in the photos, but we used a special process called “frosting” the cardstock to give it a really nice texture. If you’ve played Monolith Arena, it’s the same procedure used to make those mats. So they have a premium feel to them, but they’re also designed not to warp.

My hope is that these 16 asymmetric civilizations create a ton of replayability for Tapestry (in addition to the other variable elements that I’ll discuss in future posts). Hopefully you might even have some ideas for new civ mats after you play Tapestry, and if you share them in this group, we might test them, develop them, and include them in a future expansion!

August 9, 2019: The Landmarks

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!

Which of these landmarks do you look forward to featuring in your first capital city?

August 8, 2019: “Advance” Turns

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.

If you have any questions about this action system, feel free to ask in the comments!

Leave a Comment

223 Comments on “Design Diary

  1. “So I built a counterbalance into the game. On the last page of the rulebook in the “end game” section, we invite players to log the winning faction and its score on our website. Over time, if it’s clear from a substantial amount of hard data that certain civilizations are better than others, we may add a note on our website saying that other players start with a certain number of victory points when playing against those factions.”

    I think this is a great idea.
    I only have 1 concern and wonder if you have it too.

    Aren’t you afraid that many games reported to your site will be played by players with low (or none) experience with this game, not playing the full potential of a given civ?
    This is a concern that Ignacy from Portal games often address. Some players complains that some “factions” in Monolith Arena or Neuroshima Hex are weaker, but in fact, they just don’t know how to play them, what to do with them, how to exploit their advantages. And thus, if you boost them, they might become OP to experienced players?

    1. I think this is a really good point. Having just received the game, I think I’m going to hold off entering data for our plays until we have a bit of experience playing it

  2. on the isolationists civ, when you refer to largest connected land mass of same terrain type you control. did you mean to count the center island toward this or did you mean largest geographically connected land mass. i took picture of related board if you would like to refer to it. i thought you have implied largest politically connected land mass. thanks for clearing this up.

  3. The game seems promising an with no doubt looks gorgeous. The only one concern (for now)is that resources are in fact generic, it doesn’t matter if you use culture or food to make advance turn. Is it intentional? It seeme bit unthematic. Or thre are tapestry or civ cards that require specific resource type.

    1. Mirek: I thought that at first, but it turns out the different tech tracks do need different resources after the first Age. Each track needs any one resource in Age I, then a specific and a general in Age II, a specific and two general in Age III, and two specific in Age IV. Exploration’s specific resource is food, technology’s is coin, science is workers and military is culture. You can see the costs in this photo:

  4. You asked about favorite Civ game; mine has to be the video game, Civ 6. It is, to me, not only a complete Civ game, but a complete game, period. It will never be matched on the tabletop; how could it be?! But tabletop games and computer games have a different… purpose… I guess you could say. :-) Look forward to playing Tapestry!

  5. I’m thoroughly intrigued and very much looking forward to playing this game. It looks like a great take on making a civilisation-building game achievable on tabletop, which is really hard. So it looks like each advance action will cost you 1 or more resources, but might gain you a resource as well (explore and conquest especially) and might gain you a production building to get you more resources the next time you take an income turn. And of course sometimes you get an immediate resource from placing production buildings, or triggering your civ or your tapestry. Can’t wait to see how it plays!

    One thing I’m unconvinced by is the way the benefits associated with technologies or inventions are often so tangentially related to their names. Trains let you reach new territory, while cars give you more buildings but remove territory options? Hmm, yeah, maybe. Glass gains you any non-market building, while Steel gains you a market and scores points for your armories? Maayybe? Drone Assassins have no effect on opponents at all but score you a bunch of points? Um? How should we think about the flavour of these?

  6. Nice work Jamey, like this much better than the KS-grind I’ve been going through the last year. As with Wingspan, I like this technique of ‘pre-orders+’ much better than the KS alternative. I get to receive the game much earlier (and with more certainty), it is actually finished, you still give ‘loyal’-backers (aka Champions) a leg up and you managed to create a good bit of FOMO as well. Well done. I wish more developers would opt for doing things this way. Having said that, it is still quite a wait ’till the 4th. And you silenced poor Richard, how could you?! ;-)

  7. I’m excited to give this civ game a try.

    How thick is the cardboard of the civilisation, income and capitol mats? On the back of the box they look as thick as the game board and seem to have rounded edges to connect but on photos and in the how-to-play videos they look thinner and seem to have straight edges all around.

  8. Very exciting 😁, just saw the Watch It Played, great stuff. I noticed that in the Landmarks design diary you said, “The height of the buildings doesn’t really matter … though in the rare case of a tiebreaker at the end of the game, the player with the tallest building wins”, yet the video and rules don’t mention that, rather, “In case of a tie, the player with the most total resources remaining is the winner.” No big deal, I guess it changed?

    This looks like an amazing game. I’ve enjoyed the way you’ve release the details!

      1. Thanks Jamey. I might just house-rule that as the secondary tie breaker! And maybe I won’t feel so bad next time I teach a rule incorrectly 😜.

  9. I just noticed that stone tools are placed after pottery and carpentry. Aren’t they older than the other two?

  10. Bravo!!! Just Watch the YouTube rules… it looks amazing. i’ll wait the french version, but you really did an amazing job!!

  11. This looks great! I was wondering why the red dots on the landmark mat were necessary. I’m really curious about the decision behind this, although it’s a detail. I’d have the rivers/lakes coloured blue instead, assuming that would be clear enough.

  12. Rulebook looks both clean and comprehensive. That’s a major accomplishment.

    The only question I had after reading – and it may not even be possible – is can you end up with an exploration action but not tiles in your supply, and if so, how do you handle that case?

    1. Thanks! You wouldn’t be able to do anything in that case. But I don’t think it’ll ever happen, as you always gain 1 territory tile automatically as part of your income (except in the last income turn when you’re just scoring).

  13. That looks like a really strong rules layout, love that the main action types all being on one page with an easy to glance over four column structure when referencing them in the rules rather than the reference card is needed, which should make it easier to find the middle actions than more conventional rule book layouts.

  14. This is looking so great! I tried the solo Automa back when Morten was looking for playtesting, and having everything all together and well-formatted is awesome.
    I don’t know if this is the correct forum to ask this, but is there a way to somehow get six Income buildings of a type on your Capital City board? I ask because in the rulebook posted there are six red Armories shown on page 4 in the final Capital City scoring example. Other than that, it’s an amazing rulebook and looks to be an amazing project!

  15. This game looks amazing! I am very excited about it. Thank you for posting the design diary. It is always really cool to hear some of why you made the decision you made that led to the final product!

    Question: You made mention of the “awkward works in progress”. Do you have any content that dives into some of those initial stages of developing an idea and play testing? Maybe like a post mortum as not to reveal any current ideas you are working on? I know you provide a wealth of content on how to have a social media presence, design principles, your favorite mechanics in games, etc. But I find it difficult to find any content anywhere that talks through the genesis of an idea and walks through the steps of making it a reality. If it exists please let me know!

    Thanks again!

  16. Jamey, thank you for sharing all this in depth history/back story/detail about your game and your design journey! Your commitment to quality in every facet of the design as well as your interest in ongoing feedback to make the game the best it can be is inspirational. I have yet to determine if this is a game for me, but based on what I have read in these posts, along with how well established your other games are, I am sure Tapestry is going to be a well received game that has staying power.

  17. Speaking from the data scientist perspective, the idea of gathering data is great and I would love to hear how does it work! I don’t know if you have a trusted statistitian consulting on this project, in case you don’t, I would be more than happy to give some advise.

  18. While I am drawn to the idea of civ games, but haven’t found one I really enjoy. I’ve owned a half dozen different ones but the only one I’ve kept is Rise of Empires by Martin Wallace. The thickness of the cardboard pieces is pleasing and love acquiring the terrain tiles – those are probably my favourite part of the game. But overall, the game has flaws.
    As far as combat goes, the way A Game of Thrones does it is my favourite: units on board have a known strength but they are supported by a card from your hand with additional strength that is unknown. You get a hand of cards representing characters from your house and cards are a one time use. No dice needed. And then you have support from adjacent alliances. If the game didn’t need so many players to be ideal I would have kept that one, too.

  19. Jamey and Team,

    Just wanted to say I am a huge fan of your games. I am very excited to see the pre-order dates and getting my copy of this amazing game you are putting out. Thanks for all your hard work on putting out these great games.

  20. I’ve played Automa-only games a few times by hand, but never on a computer. It takes a long time to implement a game on a computer and the Automas play differently than human players and by different rules which would make the results invalid. E.g. you couldn’t test whether a high popularity strategy is overpowered in Scythe, because the Automa doesn’t have popularity. The same would go for testing upgrades, structures, faction+mech abilities etc.

    Doing a full AI implementation could definitely be useful, but it requires AIs that play really well and implementing that on top of the game requires a lot of time spent by an expert AI programmer – as witnessed by the large number of board game app AIs that are trivial to beat for a human player.

    Additionally, just one error in the rules implementation could completely skew the results and spotting those might be hard without also implementing a UI and support for human players. At this point we could be talking man years of work for a game like Scythe.

    So, while as a former programmer I’d love to do this, then I don’t think it’s a viable way to go in most cases.

    1. Board game states are fairly straightforward to represent in a computer program, and in an Automa vs. Automa environment the algorithm that changes state is already established (the Automa rules), which leaves just a small amount of logic that have to be designed (e.g. evaluating priorities) This makes me think that it would not require too much time to implement a strictly Automa vs. Automa game. But of course, estimating time requirements is probably the hardest part of software development :) Also, if the result is not useful at all, even a small amount of time is too much.

      When I wrote my question, I had a thought that an A vs. A simulation could be used to compare starting positions in Scythe, but could not come up with any other useful scenarios. Since then, I have realized that even that would not be possible, since the Automa does not Produce. Seeing the Tapestry Automa in action made it clear that such a simulation would not be useful either. All in all, you are right, this idea is not worth pursuing.

      As for full AI: yep, that would definitely be useful. The creators of Candy Crush Saga have a blog post and a paper about using Deep Learning for playtesting. Although it’s not about a board game, it’s a really interesting read (

      I’ve been toying with the idea to try to train a neural network using some form of reinforcement learning in order to create an AI for one of the board games I like. I have not chosen a game yet, although I am leaning towards Hero Realms, because it’s simple. Tapestry could be a next step – it’s simple enough, but much more complex than Hero Realms :)

  21. A non Tapestry-specific question regarding debugging: Have you ever tried pitching two (or more) Automas against each other in a computer simulation? I know any result would not be conclusive, since the Automa plays by it’s own rules, but it may yield interesting results. For example, I can imagine it being able to find inbalance between assymmetric game elements. But of course, the Automa is built and balanced over the existing rules, so such an experiment may very well be a waste of time :)
    And to somewhat extend on this question: what about non-Automa AI in playtesting? I realize it may not be feasible to develop an AI just for playtesting, but if for example a digital version of the game is made, does its AI ever used for testing (e.g. later extensions)?

  22. Not much I can really comment on this design diary, but pretty in development box covers that all are great illustrations but which I definitely agree with where the process got you.

    The first feels more suited to a God game than a Civ game to me. Yes, civ games are zoomed out in terms of history (Which Tapestry’s cover captures with the range of buildings at various tech levels) – as do the second and third – but that feels a step further zoomed out further, where how civilizations grow and fall on the board, if covered in the game at all, is a resource that you’re trying to manipulate and compete over. I don’t know if you’ve played the game Gheos, but it feels like it would work on a game with a similar scope to that more than a civilization game

    Second and third would have been good covers for this game, but for me the final one you went with last, which combines the strengths I see in both while making improvements to those strengths for me – Also something I don’t think I’ve said about the box art yet I like the integration of the hexes of the map into the path.

  23. Was a pentagonal-shaped board or pentagonal-shaped tile area (instead of a hexagonal one) ever considered? I ask because I see that this game is for up to five players and I’m feeling like it would be nice for this type of game.

  24. For board or video game, I’m going to have to go with Sid Meier’s Alpha Centaurai – The sci-fi spiritual successor to Civ 2, with customizable civics to a finer degree than the customizable civics added in Civ… V I think? Might have been IV? (Though without the cool special powers that could be acquired via that), especially with the Alien Crossfire expansion.

  25. For me the video games series is absolutely the best civilization expierience. I have played Civilization 2, 4 and 5. For me civ4 was the most thematic. The feel of advancement and on the same time the feel of the importance of all decitions make them fenomenal. Even the very first decitions, which you make in 4000bc, when you found your capital is felt when you are building spacecrafts. Actually, why I likes civ4 the most was how religion worked there. Beside the economic benefit from converting foreign cities to your religion, it had huge impact on politics. Before developing and adopting free religion it had tremendous impact on relations.
    Speaking of boardgames, I have only player 7 wonders duel and the new edition of Through the Ages. For me 7 wonders duels is ok 2p game and has very limited, if any, civilization feel. TTA is one of my favourite games of all time and I play it a lot with my wife (I don’t play the app, though I’ve tried). In TTA you also feel how your early decisions impact all game. I also love how military works, you have to keep an eye on it, you feel that it is absolutely crutial, but you rarely see aggressions or wars.

  26. I always liked Avalon Hill’s Advanced Civilization, mainly for its grounding in real history/peoples without dictating the outcome of any historical nation. I think I’ll miss that element of realism in Tapestry. But both seem to have a wealth of achievements on offer, so history is no restraint in either and nations can develop formerly each time. It’s that glancing connection to task history that fascinates me about Scythe too.

  27. My only civ game experience comes from playing Civ V on my PC. There are three big things that I like about it. (in random order) 1. The feeling of discovering new territories, wonders, city-states, and civs (and the resources they’ll provide) is always exciting. 2. Going into battle to take over other city-states and civs. 3. Researching new tech to build more adv’ed stuff. Tapestry has a little bit of all these things which I think is great. Although i still don’t like the whole “you may not have invented wagons, but you understand nanotechnology. Or you may not know the basics of mathematics, but you wield drone assassins.” thing lol it’s what’s keeping me on the fence. hopefully i’ll make up my mind come pre-order time

  28. My favorites Civ games are Through the Ages and Antike. Antike, while a euro with rondel mechanics, has that evolving feeling with techs and conquer. Battles are diceless. A fine elegant euro with a Civ theme behind.

  29. My two favorite civ-games include Historia and Nations. Both are multi-player and both are solo mode. To keep this positive, I won’t discuss the things that keep Through the Ages off my list and shelf but why the other two shall always remain in my collection. First, they both deal with military and advancements in ways that are beneficial to one side but not punishingly so to the other. They both play in a crisp 60 min solo and 90 to 120 min for multiplayer. Finally, in the end I can trace my achievements and awe what I’ve accomplished (Nations, cards replacing others through time and Historia the elaborate matrix).

  30. My two favorites are Through the Ages and Clash of Cultures. Both great in their own ways through I do miss the exploration and seeing your civilization spread across the map from Clash of Cultures when I’m playing Through the Ages. They both have the same problem, though. Zero sum. It’s very common in both of those games to have your most ideal move be something that doesn’t necessarily move you forward, it moves another person back (and thus indirectly helps your standing). Call me a care bear, but as much as I try to be ok with that sort if thing in a game, it just never really feels all that satisfying to do to another player, and it’s frustrating when it happens to me.

    I’m so thrilled and excited to see a civ game that will let me explore a map and spread around, while not having the zero sum mentality of those others. Sure, there’s conquering, but the victory point ramifications of that seem MUCH tamer than taking a city in Clash of Cultures or making someone lose yellow cubes in Through the Ages.

    I feel like you reached right into my brain and included all the things I love about civ games, and ripped out all the things I don’t. Adding in that capital city management is going to be a super fun puzzle on top. Not only do I get to see my civ spread around the map and explore, but I get to see my capital city grow as well. I’m very excited, thank you for sharing these design diaries!

  31. A question: What was the feedback from the testplayers regarding interaction. Did they feel it was enough or did many want more? Often I want my “civ games” to have much interaction but I have been really intrigued by this design…

  32. This is a bit difficult to read. If you have missed an entry (or, even worse, if you are starting now), then it is very difficult to find each day’s entry, particularly since they are sorted with the newest entry first.

    Scroll to bottom, scroll up a bit to find tiny date, read to bottom, scroll up to find another tiny date … oh, not that one, the previous one … read to next date, scroll up … rinse and repeat.

    1. Ya it’s a bit annoying lol but the nice thing is that when you visit the page you can immediately tell if there is a new entry

    2. Hi Jamey, just wondered if the Achievements pictured in today’s Design Diary are the same from game to game, or are they variable? Thanks for the updates, they are really good.
      PS I hope Biddy & Walter are on commission, my wife says they have convinced her that this is a game she wants to buy!

      1. Phil: Thanks! They’re the only achievements. I’m open to adding more, but those are the only ones I could think of that didn’t repeat some other ability or scoring element of the game.

  33. I was initially thinking, “a civ game, oh that’s nice.” Then reading about the science track, as a scientist I said, “Oh man, now I am in! Let’s do this!”

  34. “If researching would push your player token off the end of a track nothing happens.”

    Did you find in play-testing if this “bad” luck acts as a catch-up mechanism?

    Tip for people that never want a bad roll:
    Just make sure not to advance all the way on any track until after you pass the last science die-roll :)

  35. d12 are a very good die to roll, yes – I slightly prefer d20 for how they feel to roll, but d12 have larger faces for a given size so are a good choice for balancing clarity of symbology and how well the die rolls, imo.

  36. Hi James, is there a chance that one day we can buy some miniatures representing lakes and Hills and so on that we can place on the Red spots of our Capital City at the start of the game?
    Just to make it look even more beautiful and maybe also to make it visually more clear that at one Point you really have filled a row or colum completely..

    1. That’s a neat idea! There are a few cards (and maybe a civ someday) that will let players build on impassable terrain, but those players could always sub in the original mats. I think this is probably something I’ll leave to hobbiests and third-party accessory companies, but depending on Tapestry’s popularity, perhaps I’ll consider it. :)

  37. Hi Jamey,

    Discovered this yesterday and I am so excited. I am quite new to board gaming and to Stonemaier Games but I have heard very good things, so keep up the good work. I love how accessible this is. Our group in new to gaming and overly heavy complicated games don’t do so well, but we would love a good civ building experience. Tapestry looks like it going to be amazing for us.

    One question: I have a birthday coming up and would love this to be my gift. I read some of your diary to my wife last night and it really excited us. But I live in South Africa, would you ship pre-orders to here?

    My apologies if this is stated somewhere and I missed it.

  38. Hi Jamey,

    I’m really enjoying the design diary so far!

    One question: Are the technology and civilization cards sorted in some way, like by ages?
    Could be weird if your civilizations first technology would be time travel.

    Greetings from Germany!

    1. That’s the thing about Tapestry–your civilization’s story will end up being a little weird. We found it to be more memorable that way (and less fiddly than sorting through a bunch of different decks at different times).

    2. There is an element of ‘structure’ to the technology cards, due to the requirement for you or a partner to have reached a certain development on one of the tracks to unlock the top benefit. Time travel requires you or a neighbour to be at Age 4 on the Technology track to ‘invent’ it. But you could for example invent time travel, followed by the invention of the clock (meaning you could travel in time before you could actually track it!).

      1. I suppose that would be a weird memorable story for a civilization! :)
        I do like the ‘structure’ though, that I haven’t thought about yet.

        Really looking forward to be playing it myself!

  39. Hi Jamey,

    I am really enjoying the experience of reading each day more of your new game (this is the first time I follow one of your design diaries). This has a similar thrill for me as following a Kickstarter campaign. Also, the insights into your design process are very interesting.
    Looking forward to reading more here. This is a set pre-order for me :)
    Quick question: are the landmarks fixed in orientation for placement on the capital board or can they be rotated?

    All the best!

  40. And there’s (some of?) the positive interaction you mentioned as part of the announcement – Not as pronounced as in e.g. Brass with the ability to use other people’s resources taking them closer to flipping that tile – but present, and something else to consider when deciding what track to advance on.

  41. Jamey, I’m already sold on Tapestry. All these diaries are doing is just making the wait more difficult! But I look forward to each one because I’m a glutton for punishment.

  42. This artwork looks so similar to Ryan Laukat. IF you got him to do the art, then my insta buy is even more of an insta buy.

    1. The artist also did Everdell. His name is Andrew Bosley, but as you can read from the design diary Jamey likes to call him “The Andrew Bosley” :) it’s not a typo :)

  43. A small quibble but it seems like all the portions of the map that show the brown, unexplored color should be able to have explore tiles placed on them.

    Put another way, once all the tiles are filled in, you’ll still have an outside ‘border’ of unexplored color. Why not just make that all blue so that once explored it’s pleasing to see your explored lands go right up to the sea?

    1. That’s intentional. It’s not meant to look like you’re all on an island surrounded by water. There are plenty of unexplored regions beyond this part of the world. And person, I think the map background evokes mystery and the unknown–I don’t think it’s objectively worse than blue.

    2. Because that would cause border placement of tiles to score 2 to 3 points extra, and push people towards the edge rather than towards each other / the middle island.

  44. Wow, you’re making a TON of progress on this game!

    Question: So it looks like wherever you sit at the table, only 1 of the areas (let’s say exploration) will be facing you, and the remaining (technology, military, and science) will be upside down to you.

    Has this been a problem in play testing or do people adapt pretty quickly to it?

  45. great way to do exploration as I love discovery & tile placement both (reminiscent of Tikal) & creating a map (reminiscent of Carcassonne & Isle of Skye) is fun & always looks cool . . . love the idea of taking it to space in the end ~ very unique

  46. This is amazing. I was thinking just yesterday that what was missing was the exploration and conquest element.


    One question: You mentioned that the 6 start locations were linked to the city type. Does that limit the city types available for a 3 player game? Or if each of the 3 player game locations have 2 types, would that mean those two double-types don’t play in the same 3 player game, slightly restricting the number of possible combinations? (If so that seems unlikely to be a huge problem).

  47. oh, of course somebody already eagle eye spotted the cats!

    But how about the the worker holding a “scythe” on the Feudalism card…

    That’s no accident.

  48. I spotted Biddy and Walter on the Marriage of State Card!

    1 easter egg found for me.

    Love the concept and will be on board as soon as it opens to help crash the site with the pre-order bonanza.

  49. Any chance of seeing the 1-3 player side of the board?

    This game looks awesome! I always like games that have some component of hidden tile exploration like Eclipse or some versions of Catan.

  50. Typo Jamey: “The style the Andrew Bosley (the artist)”

    The board looks great. Very impressed with the round edges!

    Interested to find out if conquering without combat will still have a sense of take-that loss or not. Maybe outposts share territories like in Concordia :)

  51. I love seeing the board, the bevel edges give the score track a much nicer look (initial impression from the photo) than on a 90 degree square board. Always thought those score tracks like in Terra Mystica, Brass, Concordia look a little bit awkward. No idea if I will change my mind once I see it up close.

    Since this is a luxury product, I wanted to ask you Jamey if you played around with the idea of raised starting areas, so that when placing the tiles they would be level with the rest of the map? It would also serve as constraints for the tiles so they are less likely to move out of place.

    1. I considered a few upgrades like that, but in the end, like most of our games, Tapestry was already over budget for the maximum I wanted to charge for it. So I couldn’t do everything–I had to pick and choose what I thought was the most important. :)

      1. Why not just have starting areas be special tiles that are placed on the board to begin? Wouldn’t that easily solve the problem?

          1. I had the same thought regarding a dual layered board. It would be so nice and flush at the end and really satisfying to fill in the hexes as the game progressed.

  52. One thing I am curious about – are there any other ways of gaining resources outside of income turns, or is that a unique benefit to moving along the exploration track and the explore actions it provides?

    1. There are a few ways throughout the game, including exploration, conquering, tech cards, some tapestry cards, and even a few benefits on the advancement tracks. They all play into the “one more turn” aspect of the game.

  53. I like the feeling of spatial exploration that maps give, but my favourite tabletop civ game, Patchistory, doesn’t have a map, so while all things being equal I’d say “Yes I prefer civ games to have maps” it’s clearly not something I need in them. It all depends on what parts of civilizations the game is modelling.

  54. I’m confused about the end of the game – I’ve read and re-read the posts above, and can’t work out what triggers it – despite the posting of the 12th being about endgame!
    Does the 5th income turn trigger end of game? Or is it something else? If the former, what’s to stop others playing for ages until they take their final income turn?

    1. Laurie, eventually you will run out of resources and can’t do anything.

      When you want you can take an income turn by placing a card on your tapestry board. This will generate VP and resources for you to continue playing.

      When your tapestry board is full, the game is over, over for you. Others might be a few minutes behind, so you will wait for them to finish.

      I’d guess you’d probably calculate your score while waiting, and become immersed watching others finishing their turns while insincerely wishing them luck :)

      1. Actually the design diary doesn’t explain if the game is over at the very moment you place that last income-turn-tapestry card or if you continue after that last card for 1 more round until you use up all your new resources and cannot do anything (not even another income turn of course).

        1. Gerald is correct that all players will run out of resources at some point. In your 5th income turn, you don’t gain resources (you’re not allowed to gain resources or do anything after that 5th income turn).

          1. So are there any advance turns you can do without resources? I’m still struggling with why you would want to prematurely end your part of the game with your 5th income turn, when others will carry on playing and advancing – or are you *forced* to take that final income turn, and end your game, because you can’t do anything else? If so, then the main thing you have to do above all else is get resources so you can play more turns…

          2. Laurie: No, all advance turns have a resource cost. And yes, on your turn you MUST take an advance turn or an income turn, so when you run out of resources in your 4th era, you must take your final income turn. You can’t pass. Resources to take more turns are important, but it’s exactly which actions you choose and when you choose them that is more important than anything.

          3. Laurie: “I’m still struggling with why you would want to prematurely end your part of the game with your 5th income turn”.

            We may know next week when everything is revealed. For the moment I can guess that the main board (yet to be revealed) might have players compete over territories.

            I can imagine a situation in which you have 2 resources remaining and to take an advance turn you need 2 resources, pretty good. However there is a territory on the board near you that requires 3 resources for you to take control over. You can see another player will be able to take that territory in 2 turns. What do you do?

            Take an advance turn now, and then an income turn, and then hope you are lucky that the territory is still there 3 turns from now, or do you prematurely take an income turn to ensure you get that vital territory?

            All what I said is speculation, however there will be territories and a main board, and I know Jamey would not make a game in which your decisions are just “automatic”.

  55. Ok… I think I’m becoming a little too obsessed with this game. I don’t know all the rules & haven’t seen the main board, yet while sleeping I’m dreaming that I’m playing Tapestry! It’s a first for me. :-)

  56. In the “Income” update, you mentioned how you took a page from Everdell, and have income earned for each player at different times, which in turn creates players ending the game at different times.

    My concern is did you or how did you find a balance for players to finish around the same time? From my experience with Everdell, typically the player that finishes last wins the game because they had more card plays/combos to give them more turn which in most cases equates to more points.

    My concern for Tapestry is similar. Since players can control their income (and therefore the endgame), players who finish later can keep making moves/combos, to earn more points, while the early finishers can’t.

    1. It really all comes down to how you gain and use your resources during the game. Finishing later often means that you’ve been more efficient and optimized, which increases your chances of victory, but it doesn’t necessarily ensure that if you’re not translating those resources into victory points.

      1. I see your point. I guess my concern is how Everdell can be very luck based, in terms of what cards you can get, which sets the tone of how optimized and efficient you can be. So far based on your entries, it seems all the information to optimize moves in efficient ways is present on the boards, which should help in balancing when players end.

        Is there any other benefit aside from getting more resources for collecting income for each “era” first?

        1. There are some circumstantial benefits based on cards/abilities, but the standard, built-in ability is the resource bonus under the tapestry cards on your income mat. It may seem small, but it can make a big difference.

  57. VERY excited for this! I’ve held off on a Civ game for a while, but this one looks more like a world you want to jump into VS a world you just encounter. 👍

    Question: I’m having a hard time discerning the color palate of this game from looking at the pics in the posts.

    In some images of cards/boards it appears to have a more muted/industrial/neutral color palate like in Scythe.

    But then in other pics the colors look “happier” and brighter, reminiscent of Bosley’s work on Everdell.

    Can you clarify which ”color style” the game is headed towards in final product? 🎨



    1. Patrick: Thanks for your question. The camera and lighting make a big difference. I would say that the overall look of Tapestry is bright and cheery, though there is a little bit of a muted tone to it (especially with the beige map/scroll backgrounds).

  58. Looking forward to this. That feudalism wording is somewhat unclear though. Is it “gain 3vp per landmark or gain 1 resource” or is it “gain either 3 vp or 1 resource for each of your landmarks”?

    1. We used two grammatical techniques to make it clear that they’re independent clauses. First, the big OR separates the two. Second, we repeated the word “gain” (if we didn’t repeat it, that verb would carry over from the first clause, connecting the two).

  59. Each post makes me more and more excited for this game! As for Easter eggs, someone’s already spotted your cats, but I thought the farmers working with scythes might be a nod and is that a tractor mech on the Wartime Economy card?

    1. And the Crimean mech is in the background of the wartime economy card. (This might be commenting the same thing twice but if so the other one hasn’t shown up yet)

  60. Wow Jamey, this looks really incredible. I love the integration of the mini puzzle game into the capital city layout. Cannot wait to dig into this one. Seems to me like there’s quite a bit of potential for goofy lopsided strategies :D. Definitely got me interested.

    Also, these design diaries are so cool and informative.

  61. I know it’s a few days since you revealed the advance action, but it’s been buzzing around in my head – “Pick a track to advance on, pay the associated cost, move one space along that track, gain whatever the space you move to says” is such a simple concept, and one that on paper at least – in a lighter game than it looks like Tapestry is – should be very easy to explain to non-gamers and practically invisible to people who are into hobby games, and as I said earlier should be able to support games of a variety of complexities and depths. But I can’t think of any other games that use this specific mechanism.

    Were you inspired by any other games for this aspect of the game, and if so what because conceptually I love this simplicity and would like to look into other games using this ‘pick a track to advance on, move your pawn one space along that track, do whatever that space says’

      1. I’m surprised not because , but because how natural it feels now that I’ve seen it described – It’s one of those ‘…How has this not been done this way before?’ moments for me.

  62. Not sure if you’ve answered this yet or not (apologies if you have) but do you think it’s possible to fully cover all spaces in your capital city by the end of the game?

  63. This looks so interesting. Can’t wait to see a video of the gameplay. AT any rate, can you make the pictures bigger so we can see the text better? My old eyes even with reading glasses, can’t discern all the text.

    As always great to read insights on your design process.

      1. Jamey, 12 of the images don’t get bigger when you click on them (including the rules image), they do nothing. Most of the ones that do get bigger are very low resolution (the text is blurry on the cards).

        FYI: Tapestry is almost impossible to find on your website using in mobile-view in portrait on a smartphone. It’s there on landscape mode but not portrait. It’s missing from the menu when you click on games. It’s also missing when you visit the page “All Games”.

        Even on desktop view you do not have Tapestry on the “All Games” page.

  64. I’m absolutely pumped about this. Ever since I got a hold of scythe, I became a big fan of yours! Keep up the good work

  65. Hey Jamie,
    very excited by your new creation!
    Will you be able to present it in person in Essen this year? It would be great to have a chance to meet you there. Keep up the great work you are doing!

    1. I solved that by integrating the abilities into the flow of the game as much as possible. Often that means they trigger during income turns when there is a reminder to look at your civilization mat.

  66. Well, it certainly feels good to have people be excited about something I made and then also actually like it. So I have some nerves that go along with that hope. I’ve tried to desensitize myself to a certain degree, though, especially as those opinions start to arise, just so I can remain stable and happy. While I want my games to make other people happy, I don’t want my happiness to be dependent on what other people think about me.

    1. You should be proud of your work Jamie! You have a good track record and that is why people get excited about your work! People will have their opinions, and not ever game will be for every person, but at the end of the day you made something you wanted to in the way you wanted to. And there will be plenty of people that will love it!

      For me, your track record got me in the door, and each of these design diaries gets me more and more excited about the game. Can’t wait for the preorders and to get it on my table to share with my friends!

  67. 16 different factions, that might indeed give us a lot of playability, first to try them all, next to get better at each of them!!! Very nice! So do these factions give you steering into which tracks you are going to improve on?!

    1. The civilizations do give you a little nudge in certain directions…well, at least some of them do. Others just give you a unique ability unrelated to the tracks. They’re all different, and they all still give you the freedom to choose from various strategies.

      1. That sounds really cool jamey! Nice to have the freedom but also nice that it gives possibility to take advantage of an unique ability was given to you.

        I really think its fun and clever that every of your games have such a unique element. Since i am a graphic designer i am always exited by visually appealing elements. In viticulture the glass drops blew my mind, in scythe the stunning map with so much graphic detail and in tapestry the pre- painted buildings. I like how you push the limits!

        I am curious how you experience a launch of one of your products, you talk a lot of elements or mechanics you like about it, and about what you have always wanted to see. But i am curious about your emotional experience. How do you experience that something that is born in your head as an idea, has had a lot of growth, and than at the end when everything clicks together with a beautiful design laid over it and than your ‘baby’ gets thrown into the world and people can reject or accept it. What emotional rollercoaster do you go through?

  68. Jamey, the card art is as beautiful as 7 Wonders. Great choice.

    I’m undecided to use cardstock for my game’s player mats or cardboard. I’m worried about warping too. Do you have to issue many replacements for warped Scythe and Viticulture player boards?

    I noticed on the isolationist card that it protects territories from being conquered. Does that mean players can steal territories from each other?

    1. We’ve gotten the most requests for Scythe boards, which may at least partially be related to the glue holding together the layers. But yes, overall, despite the type of high-density cardboard we use in Scythe and Viticulture, we still get too many requests related to warping. Hence my desire to find something thinner that doesn’t warp but still feels really high quality. I think we’ve found it for Tapestry.

      I’ll talk about the map/military/conquest soon. :)

  69. 16 civs for a 5 player game? This is up there with Tzolk’in’s Tribes and Prophecies expansion in terms of excess compared to what’s needed (which had 13 for a 4 – well 5 with T&P I guess), which isn’t a complaint.

    Even more curious about the material now, though.

    1. Also while I typically see flavour text as being an uninteresting way of bringing theme into board games – Off to the side, isolated from the gameplay – I really like how you’ve used it on these.

  70. Hi Jamey – I’ve never followed one of your prerelease designer diaries before — really looking forward to the updates. On that note, should we expect a new one every day or just during the week?

  71. Will the player mats be boards like they are in Viticulture, or the material you used in Between Two Cities: Capitals? (What is that material, anyway?)

  72. Wow this is very similar to my WIP Roll and Write entry for the coming contest on BGG. So excited to see same concepts floating around. I got inspired to do this when I saw rules for Kingdomino Duel.

  73. I’m interested to know why Game Trayz didn’t do this insert? Is it because the rest of the game already cost so much or was there another reason?

  74. You say its like Russian Railroads, does that mean there are ‘upgradable’ markers. In RR the actions move you along the tract, it sounds like in Tapestry moving along the tracks produce the actions, which way is it?

    1. It’s more of the sense of progression along the tracks that I’m using as a comparison here, as well as how you score exponentially more points later in the game than earlier in the game.

      1. Orleans is my favorite game ever! In Orleans you move up the tracts and gain a 2 benefits, plus some end game points. If I took out the bag building aspect in Orleans how does Tapestry”feel” different than moving on a tract in Orleans?

  75. I’m extremely excited for this game. I’m curious about the game’s depth. I love Scythe because it seems like there is always something more to think about. I never feel like I’ve “mastered” it… there’s too much going on. Might I get the same feeling playing Tapestry? I hope the highly thematic nature of it won’t mean that there’s less strategy involved. (I’m encouraged that you ranked it as being slightly heavier than Wingspan in the livestream)

  76. Through playtesting were adjustments made towards balancing playing “wide” (advancing four tracks evenly) versus playing playing “tall” (focusing on one or two tracks)? Does racing to get the landmarks provide an advantage or by the end of the game everyone has a good amount on each track so other factors determine wins and losses?

    1. “Through playtesting were adjustments made towards balancing playing “wide” (advancing four tracks evenly) versus playing playing “tall” (focusing on one or two tracks)?”

      Definitely! That was a huge part of playtesting.

      “Does racing to get the landmarks provide an advantage or by the end of the game everyone has a good amount on each track so other factors determine wins and losses?”

      It’s certainly one strategy, though you might sacrifice something else by doing so.

  77. Granted there’s a lot of game I don’t know yet, but with four tracks, five players, rewards for being the first to reach spaces on the tracks, and the statement that most turns will be moving up a space on a track, my first thought is that a five-player game is going to open with four players staking claims to different tracks and the fifth stuck picking one of the others to chase after and hope they stumble / divert focus. Or there are not-yet-revealed reasons to spread out on tracks that make up for not getting landmarks…?

    1. Philip: It’s very rare that a single player advances on each of the tracks and neglects the other tracks. Usually several players are competing over each track. Also, there are 6 landmarks found on tech cards, so even in a larger game, there are other ways to get them.

  78. Those landmarks might be the most gorgeous looking tiles for tile laying I’ve ever seen in a game. And tile laying doesn’t seem to even be the main focus of Tapestry.

    1. Oh, I don’t think there’s any chance they’ll sell out that quickly. Even Wingspan–which people were super excited about–sold only 5000 copies in our 7-day preorder. The Tapestry preorder will be 4 days.

      The miniatures are painted by hand at the factory.

      1. Hand painted, that’s amazing.

        I can see a lot of new Wingspan customers buying a copy of Tapestry, especially since it’s beautiful and only has 4 pages of rules.

        Maybe the trailer should follow the movie industry to encourage newbies, “From the creators of Wingspan and Scythe comes…” :) New gamers will probably be more familiar with your games than Mombasa and Russian Railroads.

  79. “… you may not have invented wagons, but you understand nanotechnology.”
    My favorite sci-fi short story revolves around technologically inferior (compared to humans) races that are still able to do FTL travel, and this sentence gave off a vibe similar to that story.
    And so my hype is increased :) I find the ability to create civilizations fundamentally different than ours very appealing.

  80. ooo. Nice. I’m already looking forward to stealing tech from my rivals (I figure that’ll be one of the possibilities?)

  81. “Or you may not know the basics of mathematics, but you wield drone assassins.” this feels wrong xD unless I guess maybe they were an advanced tech discovery and they’re used w/o proper understanding?

    1. I think the same. It only would make sense for me if, for example, a civilization can have access to drone assassins by purchasing them but can’t create them by themselves because they don’t know mathematics.

      1. Agree, am a bit worried too. I get that Tapestry takes place in an alternate reality with loose ties to our world but I would prefer if the same basic rules of logic still applied.
        More advanced achievements need their pre-requisites to be in place for everything to makes sense. Having an logical progression in place makes the game easier to teach and learn.

  82. love the simplicity of the details and i was sold when you said there was a 4 page rule book. I love the idea of civ games but there always so daunting. Can’t wait for tomorrow!

  83. I’m getting really excited for this game. Its one of my favorite genres of games and I can’t wait to see more of your take on it.

  84. Is there any chaining? Like, I advance to “pottery”, and since I already have “irrigation”, I now automatically get “farming”.

  85. Sticking to the go around clockwise until done has proved hard to do in some games for me. Was this harder to implement in a civ game, especially with no turn order changes throughout for sometimes a rubberband for latecomers?

    1. The clockwise portion wasn’t difficult (I think players find that pretty intuitive). Removing rounds and still having income was much more difficult–I’ll talk about that soon. :)

  86. Fascinating. Intrigued to see more. I am eager to see if it just as easy explaining in the diary, as explained in 4 page rulebook!
    Since no direct conflict happens, what’s the use of mini… ahem, hiring a sculptor?

  87. Is each benefit only attainable once as there would there be no gain to benefitting twice or more OR are there options to repeat gain benefits?

  88. Seems like a simple core framework that any amount of complexity can be grafted onto. Always good when the core of a game has very little rules overhead, imo.

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