Tapestry Strategy Notes


Tapestry is a civilisation-building board game for 1-5 players by Jamey Stegmaier. Each player Advances on any of four (or five with expansions) Tracks to earn Benefits and Victory Points. I got the game from my partner for Christmas and we have since been frequently playing it together. It is a game that has sufficiently simple rules (base game manual is only four pages) that everybody can enjoy it without going too deep into the mechanics. At the same time it has plenty of complexity due to the interplay of these rules that it can also be a lot of fun for those who want to dig into strategies and maximise their scores.

In this post I expand on my own thoughts and experience with different strategies in the game of Tapestry. The goal is go over the highest-scoring mechanisms and how to use synergies between the different Advancement Tracks to score as many Victory Points (VPs) as possible.


The following strategy notes are based entirely on my own experience and observations of the game. I do not play competitively and all but one of my games were two-player games against my partner with and without the expansion. I played only one five-player game without any expansions.


  • I capitalise words that refer to gameplay items and actions, such as: Track, Advance, Tapestry Card, etc.
  • I refer to spaces on individual Tracks using their name from the game board and a letter-number where the letter refers to the Track (E-xploration, T-echnology, S-cience, M-ilitary, A-rts) and the number refers to the space on that Track. E.g., M7 refers to the seventh space on the Military Track so Tanks.

Basic strategy tips

I won’t go much into basic strategy tips for beginners. Instead I will refer you to “TAPESTRY Strategy Guide Tips for Beginners” by Lord of the Board. Below, I summarise a few main points that helped me in my first few games.

  • The basic rules of the game are very simple. The complexity of the game lies in the interactions of the many different unique elements in the game and how to leverage that to score Victory Points. You first need to play it a few times to get a basic feel for the game.
  • Tapestry Cards can be very powerful, but there is a lot of randomness associated with your Tapestry Card draw. However, you can counteract the random element by obtaining more Tapestry Cards. You can do this by either advancing onto spaces that get you Tapestry Cards as a Benefit or Bonus, through Exploration, or Technology Upgrades.
  • Resources determine how many moves you can make and thus how many Victory Points you can ultimately obtain. It generally pays off to focus on obtaining resources and increasing their production in the earlier turns.
  • The best way to get a steady stream of resources is to get Income Buildings as early as possible. The earlier you get them, the more Income Turns you will have to benefit from them. You can get Income Buildings by advancing on the different Tracks, through certain Technology Cards, or through Exploration of certain Tiles.
  • Do not focus on one Track only. Most high-scoring opportunities come from synergising two or more Tracks. In general, you will have the resources to complete one Track, complete or almost complete another Track, and Advance a fair amount on a third Track or spread out over the remaining Tracks.
  • Fill your Capital City by filling in Districts that are in a row or in a column. That way you can benefit from the resource bonus for completing a District and at the same time preparing yourself for scoring your Capital City by having complete rows and columns.

Capital City

The Capital City has the highest-scoring potential in the game. A Capital City mat has nine rows and nine columns (except for certain advanced mats from the expansions). A filled-out city will thus gain you 18 VPs for every icon that has you score your Capital City. A fully-exposed House Income Track has 3 such icons. Therefore, a complete Capital City can gain you 54 VPs towards the end of the game.

To achieve this high-scoring potential you need:

  1. A well filled-out Capital City. Achieve this by:
    • Getting as many Landmarks as possible. You can get them by racing to new Tiers on the Advancement Tracks before your opponents, Upgrading certain Technologies, and through Landmark Cards (if you have the Plans and Ploys expansion).
    • Playing to gain as many Income Buildings as possible to fill in the small gaps on your Capital City Map between Impassable Terrain and the Landmarks.
    • Doing some forward planning of your Capital City based on the Landmarks you expect to get and where you would place them.
  2. Two, but ideally three, exposed Capital City scoring icons on your House Income Track. Achieve this by a combination of one or more of:
    • Advancing on the Science Track. Tier I alone is enough to unlock the second Capital City scoring icon.
    • Advancing on the Technology Track. Upon reaching Glass (T5) choose to gain a House.
    • Inventing and Upgrading Air Conditioning, Paper, and/or The Nail.
    • Exploring a Territory Tile that provides a House as the Benefit.
    • Advancing on the Arts Track and picking Houses as the Income Building.


  • If you have a choice between a normal and and Advanced Capital City mat, pick the one that will be easier to fill.
  • Some Civilisations can further enhance your Capital City score (e.g., Architects and Urban Planners). Keep this in mind when choosing your Civilisation out of the two random ones you draw at the beginning of the game.

The number of players matters

The number of players will affect your Capital City strategy in Tapestry because the number of Landmarks does not scale with the number of players. There will be the same number of Landmarks to obtain by all players in a two-player game as there will be in a five-player game. Therefore, in games with more players, each player will on average obtain fewer landmarks than in a games with fewer players. Landmark Cards introduced in the Plans and Ploys expansion change this slightly because their number depends on the number of players, but they only add one Landmark per player.

In a game with fewer players there is less competition for Landmarks making it easier for one or more players to fill their Capital City with them. In a two-player game it is even likely that both players fully (or almost fully) fill their Capital City. Therefore, any player with an exposed House Income Track will be getting a lot of VPs. Usually enough to win the game. This is not so much the case in many-player games, because it is much harder for the players to collect enough Landmarks to score so highly.

Therefore, in few-player games, it is pretty much required that you make sure you score well on your Capital City regardless of your overall strategy. You will likely get plenty of Landmarks so make sure to do some forward planning on their positioning. Also, make sure to have at least two Capital City scoring icons exposed on your House Income Track. You can achieve this by Advancing on the first three spaces of the Science Track alone which should still leave you with enough resources to pursue other strategies. In many-player games you can still score well on your Capital City but due to increased competition for Landmarks, you will need to be much more conscious of the race for them.

Technology Cards

Technology Cards are another good high-scoring strategy in Tapestry. A fully-exposed Market Income Track has three Technology Card scoring icons. Each Technology Card scoring icon gives you 1 VP per Technology Card. Advancing on the Technology Track alone can give you up to six Technology Cards within the first seven spaces alone. If combined with the Science Track and you use Academic Science and Neuroscience to repeat Rubber on the Technology Track two times this goes up to 10 Technology Cards giving you 30 points per Income Turn. You can have even more Technology Cards, but that will depend on your Technology Upgrades, Tapestry Cards, and Civilisation (e.g., Inventors).

Whilst this does not appear as high-scoring as the Capital City it does not require you to race against anybody for Landmarks and so it is not sensitive to the number of players. Furthermore, since you only need to Advance seven spaces to get most of your Technology Cards and only eight spaces for enough Markets to expose all three Technology Card scoring icons you are likely to be scoring these VPs earlier than with your Capital City.

To achieve this high-scoring potential you need:

  1. As many Technology Cards as possible. Achieve this by:
    • Advancing on the Technology Track.
    • Exploring a Territory or Space Tile that allows you to Invent a Technology.
    • Playing certain Tapestry Cards that allow you to Invent Technologies.
    • Playing the ability of certain Civilisations that gain you more Technology Cards (e.g., Inventors).
  2. Two, but ideally three, exposed Technology Card scoring icons on your Market Income Track. Achieve this by a combination of one or more of:
    • Advancing on the Technology Track. Tier I alone is enough to unlock the second Technology scoring icon.
    • Inventing and Upgrading Concrete, Light Bulb, and/or The Nail.
    • Exploring a Territory Tile that provides a Market as the Benefit.
    • Advancing on the Arts Track and picking Markets as the Income Building.

Victory points for Advancement Track

Do not underestimate VPs you can gain from icons that give you 1 VP for every space you have Advanced on a specific Advancement Track. When timed well it can give you 10+ VPs every time you gain such a Benefit. You can gain these by:

  • Advancing onto certain spaces: Space Shuttle (E10), Computers (T10), Nuclear Bomb (M10).
  • Upgrading certain Technology Cards: Clocks, Opera, Siegecraft, Vaccines, Zeppelins. This is particularly powerful when combined with Nanotechnology which potentially allows you to gain this Benefit twice.
  • Masterpiece Cards: Krav Maga, Mapmaking, Motion Picture, Stained Glass. This is also very powerful as Masterpiece Cards are activated at every Income Turn.


There are three Achievements in Tapestry which gain you VPs if you achieve them before other players. If you get all three of them first this can be as much as 40 VPs in a 4-5 player game or 30 VPs in a 1-3 player game. This is about 10+% of the final VP score in most games and can be decisive. These Achievements can be achieved the fastest via a combination of Advancement on the Exploration and Military Tracks. Indeed, only one of them (Complete Any Advancement Track) is achievable without any Exploration or Conquest. With some strategy and good Tapestry Cards you can even prevent other players from gaining the Achievements which require Conquest.

Final space on Income Tracks

The final space on each of the Income Tracks yields 10 VPs (15 VPs with Inspiration Tiles from Arts and Architecture) every Income Turn which is a significant boost, especially if you manage to uncover multiple of these fields.

Track synergies

To win at Tapestry you will have to combine two or more Tracks to maximise your scoring potential. It is generally unlikely that you can win against a skilled opponent by pursuing only one Track to the exclusion of all others.

Science/Technology, Science/Military, Science/Exploration

The Science Track has one of the strongest synergies with the other non-Arts Tracks. This comes from three aspects of the Science Track:

  • Physics (S9) followed by Quantum Physics (S11) allows you to Advance through the entirety of Tier III on one of these other Tracks for 5 resources instead of 9 while simultaneously advancing on the Science Track gaining all its other Benefits.
  • Academic Research (S7) and Neuroscience (S10) (for Military and Technology Tracks only) allows you to re-activate a good space on the other Track (e.g., Rubber (T7) to gain two additional Technology Cards).
  • Advancing on the Science Track gains you Houses thus exposing the Capital City scoring icons on the House Income Track.
  • (Technology Track only) When you reach Computers (T10) on the Technology Track you score VPs for the number of spaces you have Advanced on the Science Track.

This synergy can be further enhanced with the Arts Track. However, it is costly so it may be difficult to play out. The additional synergy results from the general benefits of the Arts Track outlined in a later section and:

  • Flash Mob (A9) and Infinite Spectrum Photography (A11) can be combined with Physics (S9) and Quantum Physics (S11) on the Science Track to Advance on three Tracks for the cost of one. This may be beneficial if racing for Landmarks or trying to maximise the Benefits of the three Tracks within the limited amount of resources available.


The Exploration and Military Tracks are a natural pairing given that you need to Explore to Conquer and you need to Conquer to Explore.

Unlike Capital City and Technology Card scoring these two Tracks yield a stream of VPs throughout the game through multiple sources: Conquest Die rolls, Controlled Territory icons, Exploration, Territory Tile icons, Space Tile Benefits, and Achievements. Many of these sources yield little VPs individually, but when combined they can add up.

This combination benefits from:

  • Both Exploration and Conquest can get you a lot of resources in the early stages of the game allowing you to advance faster than others and opens you up to having two Income Buildings by the end of the first Era.
  • It is the best (and only) combination that allows you to get all of the Achievements.
  • It does not require you to race other players for Landmarks. While it does require you to race other players for the Achievements, not all players choose to race for them whereas everybody is always in the race for Landmarks.
  • You can still score well with your Capital City reducing other players’ advantage as you can uncover the second Capital City scoring icon with only three spaces on the Science Track (4 resources). It is more expensive for others to compete for the Achievements (6 resources are required for two Explore and two Conquest Benefits).
  • You can support your strategy with some investment in Tier I of the Technology Track to Invent Technologies which will benefit you during your Income Turns. The first Technology Card costs only 1 resource.
  • With good management of resources, this synergy can be further enhanced with further Advancement on the Technology Track. These three Tracks all have a space on Tier IV which scores the Advancement on one of the other three Tracks. Furthermore, since the Military Track can gain all 5 Armories without any additional Benefits, the Technology Track’s Glass (T5) space can get you the 5th Farm resulting in at least two uncovered final spaces on the Income Tracks.

Technology/X and Arts/X synergies

The Technology and Arts Tracks do not have any other evident synergies with the other Tracks. However, they can support any other Track (or pair of Tracks) quite well for the following reasons:

  • The Technology Track provides you with Technology Cards which can be Upgraded during your Income Turns or with Landmarks (if you have the Arts and Architecture expansion). Depending on which cards are drawn these Upgrades can be used to support your strategy with little investment. The first Technology Card is obtained from the first space at the cost of only 1 resource. You need to pay only 2 more resources to advance two more spaces for the second card.
  • Reaching Glass (T5) on the Technology Track gets you an Income Building from any of the three other Tracks opening up the possibility of uncovering the final space on that Income Track.
  • The Arts Track provides you with Masterpiece Cards whose Benefit is activated with every Income Turn. These can also support your strategy. However, these cards are more costly - you need to Advance three spaces (3 resources) on the Arts Track for the first card.
  • The Arts Track also provides Inspiration Tiles which slightly increase your VP production during your Income Turns. Furthermore they create some small additional synergies between the following Tracks: Science/Military, Science/Exploration, Technology/Military, Technology/Exploration.
  • The Arts Track provides you with Income Buildings of any type giving you a lot of flexibility to support your other strategies. However, these Income Buildings are on average further along the Track than the corresponding Income Buildings on the other four Advancement Tracks.

Civilisation and strategy

Your Civilisation Ability can strongly influence what strategy will pay off the most for you. Maximising the Civilisation’s Ability can often yield many additional VPs and so it generally pays off to adopt a strategy which allows you to get these VPs. For example, Militants should pursue a strategy which synergises well with the Military Track and the Inventors a strategy which synergises with the Technology Track. However, not all Civilisation Abilities synergise with the different strategies outlined above and instead provide more general benefits.

Wojciech Kozlowski
Quantum Network Engineer

Quantum network researcher and developer.