Welcome! To the world of tomorrow! And also yesterday, sort of… This review is for something I’ve been excited for since it was announced, the third and final expansion for Tapestry. Futures & Fantasies introduces something new to the Tapestry world, taking inspiration from the sci-fi and fantasy worlds to add even more replayability to the game. Following on from the Arts and Architecture expansion, but taking more from the Plans and Ploys expansion, there’s a lot to explore here, including the abandoning of the box. Let’s see what’s in the… envelope?
If you already know how to play Tapestry, then you already know how to include this expansion. This is a classic “more” expansion. More cards, more civilisations, more capital boards. But less box. This expansion, unlike those before it, only included the above mentioned cards, both regular and big for the capital boards and civilisations. In an eco-push, Stonemaier put all of these components into a thick card envelope, making it a lot easier to ship through the postal system and easy to recycle after combining everything into the original box. I should point out that the expansion was announced with a new Folded Space insert, compatible with fitting everything in one, but I think with the amount of cards in this expansion, you can probably get away without it.
As can be expected from a “more” expansion, there’s a lot more cards included here which can be shuffled in with the original and any of the other two expansions. There is also a few replacement cards for some of the past expansions that had an error, such as three of the landmark cards having the building the wrong way around. I suppose a quick inventory is needed. In the envelope, you can find:
- 10 new civilisations; 6 advanced capital city mats; 38 new tapestry cards; 12 new tech cards; the replacements I’ve already mentioned and; a handy rulebook which condenses all the rules into one convenient, if a bit thick, place.
- The biggest change here is the inclusion of charms on the tapestry cards. This is the biggest change to the game, giving a small box on the left or right of certain tapestry cards. When the other side of the box is closed off, either by another charm or another card placed down, you get an instant benefit, usually points or a resource of some kind.
- There are also some cards which refer to the fifth income phase, letting you get other benefits at the end of the game, which is a welcome change from having everything just sort of… stop.
I am a big fan of Tapestry, and fantasy is one of my favourite themes in games. I also love an expansion which doesn’t involve too much additional overhead to explain and just gives more variety to a game, rather than completely flipping it on its head. Stonemaier have a great history in this regard, with the expansions for Wingspan being, broadly, more birds, with a few little tweaks that need about an extra 30 seconds to explain. This is very much the same here. You shuffle all the cards in and away you go.
If there is a flaw here, it’s that there are now a lot of cards to mix in which makes drawing the one you want more difficult. Is it a big problem? No, not really. You can easily add a house rule of drawing one more than you need and discarding the excess. There is a good chunk for you to get through and see in the different games you play.
I really rate this expansion. I think more of the same, but small tweaks is an excellent approach, and the eco-friendly envelope is a nice touch, especially when no new mini’s are being introduced to this set. I think it gets the balance right, correcting a few issues in the game and making some tapestry cards are lot more worthwhile, and adding something to the end game. I think I like it more than the Plans and Ploys expansion, which is probably the one I’d compare it to the most. The Arts and Architecture expansion added a whole other track, which I’m yet to really master, so it’s harder to compare these two. I also like that the rulebook is now condensed to include everything we have for the game, including the official errata for the original civilisations. A wonderful job all round here.
Just to close things off, although this (Fantasies & Futures) is the final expansion, this isn’t the last of the content we can expect from Stonemaier for Tapestry. There were some concerns from the early civilisations around balance, and Jamey Stegmaier has taken those concerns away to make some changes. Later this year, we can expect a pack of rebalanced civilisations with the modifications made over the years made permanent.