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How To Play Damask


Welcome Weavers

If you’re here, then you’re think about making some divine damasks present in Damask. And that’s great because this game plays silky smooth! Haha

But as with all games, the first turn can be a little tuffty! So let’s get cracking!

Set Up

Bags, bits, and boards! There looks to be a lot but there isn’t really. Taking it from the top:

1. Firstly, decide if you’re playing a short (2 round) or regular length (3 round) game. Then make sure you have the correct side of the board facing up based on player count (NB: my copy has a misprint – the solo side should have a refresh 2 cards symbol but both sides have an icon for 3 – just remember to only refresh two in a solo game!)

2. Shuffle and place the damask cards in a bag. Draw 6 and place them in 2 columns of 3 cards next to the main board with the Damask board at the bottom of both columns.

3. Place the cubes in the other bag. Give it a shake and then fill the slot in the main board’s spinning wheel with 26 cubes – squeeze them in. They will all fit! Pop the bag in easy reach.

4. Depending on player count, place the red hand round token on spot A (2 players can use either side) on the main board – turn the wheel to point to A

5. Shuffle the Fashion tiles and randomly select three colours and three patterns – place these in easy viewing of all players either side of the Fashion Board

6. Shuffle the Guild Tokens and pop them next to the Fashion Board

7. Give each player a stand, a player aid card, 3 coins, and an overstock board.

8. Finally each player from last to first picks a Damask card from the pool (don’t replenish until everyone has selected one!) and puts it in front of their stand (this will be the first damask in your sequence)

Wily Weaving

So, on your turn, you must either (a) take sliks or (b) take a Damask card – this is the “compulsory” action.

First Action

(a) If you take silks, you can take as many as you like from the spinning wheel board until you are holding two of the same colour (ignore any existing gaps and the board arm when counting). You can choose to take cubes in a clockwise or anti-clockwise direction. But, once taken, the wheel then moves the corresponding number of spaces in a clockwise direction. These can be immediately placed on any Damask you are in the process of completing, and any you don’t need can go into your overstock. Once placed on a Damask though, the silk cubes cannot be moved to another card or put back into overstock.

Note that If spinning the wheel makes the arm pass the first ornate spindle (space marked “A”):

In a 2 player game, the spaces left by cube picking are restocked from the bag.

In a 3-4 player game, you do the action on the randomly selected token.

(b) If you have 2 ore fewer Damask cards in your area, you can take a Damask card. Generally you pick from a pool of six available patterned cards (which are replaced by drawing blind from the bag. Although this can be manipulated by Guild favours – more on that later! Remember you can only have two Damasks in the process of being completed (i.e. in front of your stand) at any one time.

Then you get a second optional action where you may either (a) take cubes from another player’s overstock or (b) mount a Damask. – these are the “optional” actions

Second Action

(a) If you choose to take another player’s cubes from their overstock, you only get to pick one colour. These can go onto any Damask you are in the process of completing or into your own overstock for later use (unless someone else steals them first!). The player giving up their cubes bets a Guild favour from the stack next to the fashion board where the seasons’ hot colour and pattern choices are on show.

(b) If you have all 5 necessary cubes on a Damask in front of you, you can choose to mount it. This means placing it vertically against your stand. The first one will only earn you one coin as there is nothing to match it to. But as you start to mount more Damasks, the synergies between the colours and patterns will up your income considerably (+1 for matching colour and +1 for matching pattern). And you’ll earn some useful Guild favours if you can co-ordinate with the colour and pattern currently in play on the Fashion board for the season!

Guild Favours

These are super helpful- they are basically your currency in the game. When you collect them, you can trade them for other things:

1 Guild Favour can be used

  • as a pattern/colour cube for mounting a Damask (the backs of the favours show the qualifying match;
  • to discard one column of 3 Damask cards from the pool and fill with replacements; or
  • mount an additional Damask after completing your second (optional) action

2 Guild Favours may be spent in place of taxation (saving you a coin!)

3 Guild Favours may be spent to gain 1 coin (even at end game scoring time!)

If the wheel passes an ornate spoke, refill the wheel with cubes from the bag. If there is a round marker on the spot the arm is pointing to, then that extra action shown on the top of the marker is also carried out by everyone!

When you have completed your actions, play passes to the next player. A season ends when the spinning wheel passes the taxation token. When that happens, the wheel is restocked and the next season’s colour and pattern kick into action. When the arm passes the tax token on the second/third round (short/regular game), nothing is collected and the game ends. The winner is the Weaver with the most coins!

And that’s how to play Damask in a nutshell……….. I’ll leave you silky smooth operators to check out the solo mode rules separately….although I love it solo so I might just have to let you know how that mode plays too sometime!