Tapestry: Fantasies & Futures
WBG Score: 8.5/10
Player Count: 1-5
Published by: Stonemaier Games
This is the third and final expansion to Jamey Stegmaier's ambitious civilisation game, Tapestry. If you would like to read the review for the main game, then head here. If you would like to read the review for the first expansion Plans & Ploys, then head here. If you would like to read the review for this second expansion, Arts & Architecture, then check this link. But if you would like to read about this third expansion, then read on.
First up, let's cover the logistics. Fantasies & Futures has no box. It comes in an envelope. Everything in this expansion can easily be fitted into the base box. Inside the envelope you will find ten new civilizations, six advanced capital city mats, 38 new tapestry cards, and 12 new tech cards. There is also a new rulebook that cover all the rules for the base game and every expansion, in one convenient book. It clearly labels a rule specific to an expansion, so it can be simply integrated into any combination of the base game and the three available expansions. It is fantastic, and would be something I would consider buying this expansion for alone.
You can see here how they clearly mark each rule with either an AA, PP, or FF, to show which rule is relevant to which expansion. Everything is very simple to understand. After three expansions, this is a welcome addition. It is also a much nicer size to read, compared to the original rulebook included in the main box, which is the size of the box itself.
The main addition in this expansion is the ten new Civilisations. They are quite different to the previous civilisations, but all work well with them. However, one does seem to be quite overpowered. I have only played with it once, so it's too early to make a definitive judgement. This is the Elder Ones that allow you to have an extra round of advance turns by gaining multiple extra resources after your fifth income phase. This feels quite powerful, and with the one time i played with it, lead to this civilisation winning by 80 or so points.
My favourite of the new Civilisations so far though is the Werefolk. I have always enjoyed exploring the space tiles in this game. They just feel exciting to me. Mainly as it takes some effort to get to them. I like how the Werefolk make use of these, and allow you to gain additional points or re-do previously acquired spaces on the tracks.
All of the new Civilisations come from a fantasy background, to suit the theme of this final expansions. More of this can be seen with the Tapestry cards. These new cards bring a new feature to the game which I love. When you place a Tapestry card down with one of the new symbols on, (you can see below with the gain Tapestry card symbol on the right for the Chimera-Citizen Rights cards), you will gain the benefit shown. There are some cards that interact with these symbols as well, but mainly they are a nice additional bonus during the income phase. The idea behind this is that you are being "charmed" by other parallel realities
Another great new addition is the six new advanced capital city maps. I am a big fan of the
Netherworld, shown in the top right here. I like being able to get lots of extra resources, for extra turns later in the game. This mat worked well for me in order to do that. Although the City in a bottle mat is a great way to get lots of extra points, by not placing buildings down!
There are also three new Landmark cards, which replace three cards from the Arts and Architecture expansion due to the printing on the shape being inverted on the original. Simply replace the originals with these, and recycle the existing cards.
Finally, we have 12 new tech cards. A lot of these link with the new Arts tracks in the Arts & Architecture expansion, so work well when integrated with that expansion. If you don't have Arts & Architecture, or are not using it, simply remove these cards from the game, or draw a new card if you accidentally leave it in. You will notice again, that all of these card link nicely with either a fantasy of future theme.
This is a good expansion. Arts & Architecture remains the best one for Tapestry as it changed the most with the fifth track. However, if you like your expansion to add no more complexity, and just bring more game, this is the one for you. Also, as mentioned above, if you have multiple expansion already, then the consolidated rule book is a welcome addition, and a great way to bring all these expansion together. More publishers should do this with games that have multiple expansions.
I have enjoyed the way the game has themed these expansions. Each civilisation in each expansion links perfectly to the unique background. It is nice to now have a vast array of civilisations to choose from. Working out which ones work well with against other ones, and with other combinations of game play, capital city mats, and your approach to the game. If you are a fan of Tapestry, you now have enough options to keep you going for many games. Keeping the game fresh and interesting for years to come.
Final thoughts on Tapestry, now the game is "complete."
I loved Tapestry when it first came out. I then cooled on it, as I found it too abstract. I was not engulfed in the theme as much as I would like in a civilisation game. But now, after multiple plays, and with all of the content made for this epic game, I am left feeling excited for my future turns. I still wish the game integrated the theme a little more though. I don't think the art helps here. The board is highly functional, clear to read, and looks crisp. But it does not enhance the theme. The fifth board being added in the expansion adds a lot to the game play, but I think a new five sided board with more integrated art style would be a fantastic addition to the game. I know Jamey debated this on his Facebook page, and ended up with this. A rubber play mat. But it doesn't work in the way I feel a few of us wanted. A pentagon shaped board with the five tracks all together, and a darker theme would fly of the shelves I feel.
I also feel more could have been made from the names of each position on the tracks. Most plays, I don't even look, let alone read these. It's a shame, as this takes away from the theme, which is there, just not integrated enough for me. Linking specific requirements or developments with the civilisation you are playing as could have helped here. For example, if you were playing as a waring civilisation such as the Militants from the base game, it would have been interesting if in one variant of the game, you could be rewarded by completing certain goals along the Military track. This is a track you will likely be developing on more with this civilisation anyway, as you will are rewarded by conquering. So, a direct goal to develop Calvary, and later Tanks would enhance the theme. It gives you a thematically tied goal to aim for, and when you reach that part of the Military track, you would consciously be developing Tanks, not just reaching an arbitrary space on the Military track.
But, other than the theme being mostly absent, I love this game. After all the hype has come and gone, and the frustrations with the base cost from the painted minis has gone away; what we are left with is a highly satisfying game that encourages clever play, brings hugely rewarding combination turns, and feels different each time I play. There are so many options now with these three expansions, I can see this getting regularly plays for many years to come. I will always feel excited to play this game. It always brings a massive table presence, expectation, and sense of a gaming event. For me, it has never failed to deliver on all these things.