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Digital Subscriptions > Tabletop Gaming > October 2019 (#35) > Remaking History

Remaking History

Scythe and Charterstone creator Jamey Stegmaier’s Tapestry is reinventing a tabletop epic: the civilisation game. Will the designer’s modern vision advance the classic genre into a new age?

To take on one of gaming’s biggest genres – the civilisation game – Jamey Stegmaier decided to start small. “I’ve wanted to design my own take on a civ game for a while, but it wasn’t until I stumbled upon some photos of buildings by sculptor Rom Brown before things started to click with me,” the Scythe and Charterstone designer says.

As a hobby, Brown had been creating miniature models for some of his favourite board games using polymer clay, replacing cubes and tokens in the likes of Robinson Crusoe, Stronghold and Mice and Mystics with finely-detailed facsimiles of food, terrain and more. After happening upon some images of Brown’s work, Stegmaier contacted the sculptor to see if he was interested in creating some buildings for his project, which would later be dubbed Codename Clay before ultimately becoming Tapestry.

“At that point the only things I knew about the game were (a) I wanted it to have some memorably distinct components that would make people feel a sense of pride in their civilisation and (b) I wanted the game to be grounded in reality but not in real-world history: no historical events, people or places,” Stegmaier recalls. “I took those foundational elements and ran with the design from there.”


When it came to building Tapestry’s gameplay on top of Brown’s miniatures, Stegmaier turned to the modern classics of the civilisation genre. This included card games such as Through the Ages and 7 Wonders (Stegmaier’s own favourite civ game), as well as Sid Meier’s Civilization V, the 2010 instalment in the long-running computer game series. “Among a number of tabletop civilisation games, Sid Meier’s Civilization certainly had an impact as well, largely because I think so many think of it when they think of civ games,” the designer explains. “thge primary elements from it that I wanted to evoke were a sense of progression through expansion, technology and increasing income, and the desire to take ‘one more turn’.”

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About Tabletop Gaming

Magic: The Gathering – Throne of Eldraine: Fairytales and fantasy collide in the card game’s epic next set, a decade in the making. Head designer Mark Rosewater tells us what to expect – and why the wait has been worth it. Tapestry: Scythe and Charterstone creator Jamey Stegmaier is rewriting history in his innovative civilisation game. The designer takes us inside his modern vision for the classic genre. 10 of the Best: The must-play releases at this year’s Essen Spiel game fair. Horror Games Special: We delve into the darkness of Dungeons & Dragons’ deadliest campaigns, take a look at how Call of Cthulhu’s Lovecraftian nightmares changed roleplaying forever and venture back into the House on the Hill to explore the making of Betrayal’s terrifying haunts. How We Made: Citadels: Bruno Faidutti looks back on how Marxism, Magic: The Gathering and being ‘too lazy to write a book’ helped inspire his brilliant city-building bluffing hit. Elder Scrolls: Call to Arms: The world of Skyrim is coming to the tabletop. We go hands-on with the upcoming RPG-turned-skirmish miniatures game. Ishtar: Gardens of Babylon: Kingdomino designer Bruno Cathala is reinventing the classic game of Go in his next game Reviews: Deep Blue Aeronautica Imperialis: Wings of Vengeance Band of Blades RPG Dune Zombicide: Invader Bosk Dead Man’s Cabal Lifeform Ragusa + more!