1-5 players, Competitive, Civ Resource Management Expansion
Designer: Jamey Stegmaier
Artwork: Andrew Bosley, Rom Brown
Publisher: Stonemaier Games
Release Year: 2020
Purpose of Expansion
The first expansion released for Tapestry, Plans and Ploys, unleashes a torrent of additional materials upon the players in the form of new civs, tapestry cards, space tiles and a few new landmark miniatures. This expansion is almost entirely a MORE STUFF expansion to add to the core game experience. There is one new feature you can alter the game with but otherwise you will be shuffling all the cards tiles and civs together for play.
The Additions and Changes
Ok let’s get into the meat and potatoes here. I’m going to start talking about the one big change this expansion adds to the game and then delve into all the additions it adds. The biggest change are the new starting landmark cards with corresponding landmark minis. The game comes with seven new landmark minis, five for the new starting landmarks, one for a new space tile and one for a new tapestry card. The five starting landmarks have cards that are given to the last player in turn order who then selects one from the batch then passes them in reverse turn order so every player can select one. I love this, as it kind of balances out that starting player balance issue a bit since the last player gets first pick of the landmark that might benefit them the most based on their selected civ.
As far as changes go that’s pretty much it other than the new “Trap” tapestry cards. These are shuffled into the tapestry deck as normal and act like a typical trap card but each one is slightly different on how it’s used. From the core game a standard trap card basically allows a sort of protection for a player that gets attacked by giving them a resource and toppling the attacking players outpost instead of theirs. These new trap cards are much more diverse and each one is completely different. One allows the ATTACKER to cancel a trap card AND also snatch a random tapestry card from their hand, BRUTAL! Another allows you to roll both conquer dice and keep both results if an opponent does take your land. Even another allows you to retreat your outpost to an adjacent tile that you control and gain a resource. I like these even though there are very few (five new trap-style cards) as they offer some actual options for combat, ESPECIALLY the counter trap cards. I always had this fear when I was conquering that maybe, JUST MAYBE, my opponent might have had a trap card. Now I can at least breathe easier knowing that if they do I can counter it.
Ok now let’s dig into all the additional materials this expansion adds to the core game. First and foremost are the TEN new civs you can play. Yes, ten! Increasing the amount of playable civs from the core game from 16 to 26 and if I might say, adding some very interesting new abilities into the fray. Some of them are pretty similar to stuff we have already seen which give extra resources or bonuses every income phase but others have some really neat new ideas at play. The Aliens civ STARTS with four of the space tiles with which you can research during your income phases. This is huge as those space tiles have some hefty bonuses. A couple of my favorites are the Recyclers and Islanders. The Recyclers give players a reason and a strategy to work towards a particular track in the game, the Tech track. Their ability allows players to research technology cards that have reached the top level already basically “recycling” this tech over and over at a gain of 5 vp’s each time a tech is recycled. On another front, the Islanders have players start with four territories in their supply and actually use their player mat as a placement area for land tiles. At the beginning of their income phase they can place a tile down on their mat in a specific arrangement to gain the bonuses just like you would if you placed on the board. On top of that, you gain an extra 4 vp’s at games end for each tile that has just water on the outside edges.
I mentioned there were two other landmark minis apart from the starting ones. One of the two is tied to a tapestry card that allows the player to place that landmark, easy enough. The other is tied to a new Space Tile so if you draw that one you also get that landmark mini to place. I’m always down for new landmark minis as I just love these things. The new ones are painted up all nice like the core games landmarks BUT I do wish there were more colors at use here. The colors are all starting to blend together and at first I thought maybe there was a pattern like, all exploration minis had the same color scheme. But alas it seems to be random as far as I can tell. They still look great but at the same time, not all that unique.
The new Space tiles are also shuffled up into the rest and give players a reason to try and shoot up other tracks as they give bonuses of vp when you advance on other tracks. The expansion also comes with a linen bag to hold all the exploration tiles that you can draw from instead of having piles of them on the table. I liked this addition as it makes it much easier to pass this bag around although the bag is SUPER THIN. I feel like I have to be very careful with it so as not to rip it. Lastly, there are additional landmark tokens that are entirely optional. You can place these on the landmark spots on the board so when a player moves into/collects that landmark they remove that token to make it easier for others to see it was taken. Personally, I am not a fan of these as they increase setup time a bit for not much of a payoff. I never had an issue seeing which landmarks where taken based on the board state but also because I use the landmark board that came with the core game. However, I suppose these tokens would make it easier if you left the minis in the box and only pulled them out once gained.
There is also an additional solo “campaign” mode. This is a pretty cool addition for those solo players out there as it adds a 5-part scenario that challenges you with different rulesets for setup and play and you can carry over points based on the Automa difficulty level x scenario number. I played through some of these and found them to be an interesting take on the base game rules as they implement rules such as required civs and specific goals you must attain to win.
The Bottom Line
Overall, I like this expansion! My favorite thing is the new civs as I think they bring in some new and exciting ideas followed by the new trap cards. I also love the landmark cards as I think they do add a bit of counter balance to the first player issue and give players something to work towards at the onset. That said, I feel like this expansion is directly suited for those players who already love Tapestry as it doesn’t really add any game changing enhancements. For those that were not impressed with the core game, you won’t find anything here to change your mind. Personally, I love Tapestry and for the price of this expansion, it is well worth it for the extra civs alone.
The Fuzzy Llama Silver Seal of Distinction
PS. You can also store everything in the base game box if needed although the expansion does have a good insert to hold the minis.