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Let's Talk About Root
The third game was awesome, and both guys were very enthusiastic about it. Sounds like they might get it, and they don't buy a lot of games. I really dig the Riverfolk- my undergrad was Economics. Next to Power Grid this is one of my favorite player-driven market simulations. They encourage a good deal of table talk and for me to not hold grudges. River attacks are something players have to learn to appreciate and account for- I got a few points by snagging surprise attacks on buildings that were left with just 1 or 2 defenders. Since it was a first game for them I also pointed out very clearly on the turn that I was sitting on funds to score points passively, and they returned the favor and ruined some of my trading posts.
I think it's kind of an amusing 'lesson' when the capitalists win the conflict.
Got the game out to refresh rules with a solo game---WA vs. Cats vs. Eyrie. What a fucking gorgeous game.
I flat out do not understand how the Eyrie score points. To be clear, not rules, just the strategy and how you would keep up with the other squads. My brain doesn't work this way. I think it's just going maximum and putting undefendable roosts, lone warriors, etc everywhere. Definitely a side where I'd need to deep dive on good strategy guides.
The cats are your main enemy, and you can provoke them into using their (very limited) actions to keep down your roost count. Birds out-action the cats by 2:1 or so most of the time, so rebuilding roosts and recruiting killed warriors isn't that big of a deal. Fighting is a "do-i-have-to", not a "want-to" for the cats. They'd much rather be building the wood economy and filling the forest with buildings.
A bird card or two in "Build", and you're off to go. Push the front, and put down roosts anywhere you can. Anyone burning them down is spending their actions to do so, and giving you more options to swarm and rebuild. Your action economy just snowballs (until it stalls and resets) while Cats and WA are pretty static, and using that to your advantage in midgame is hugely important.
On another note, I heard Cole say somewhere that ~40% of cat wins end up being domination victories. I guess this makes sense with their limited and very predictable action set but maximal board presence.
Since it was so popular and on so many game of the year lists, I've sort of forgotten how tightly designed Root is in a mini-too-cool-for-popular-stuff mental backlash.. Once you accept it's very much an exponential timer game, the faction design work here and limits on your actions create so much more angst than many DoaM games.
I loved my play of the moles, they are right up my alley as a faction. There are a few elements of a lower stakes Eyrie, which I like a lot since I am not good at the exploding Eyrie tableau puzzle but like the idea. Seems like you have to be very conservative about overreach with the moles, losing a noble is a devastating consequence since they're starved of actions.
Disgustipater wrote: I was able to fit the 8 factions, standard board, game components, and resin clearing markers in the main box. This will support the majority of my plays. All the expansion boxes go on the upstairs closet shelf with the rest of my empty expansion boxes.
I did something similar. I have the faction boards, both sets of cards, and most of the units and tokens (and dice) in the original box, the two game boards and the setup tokens (ruins, blocked paths, etc.) and clearing markers in the Underworld box, and then all the Clockwork stuff in its own box tossed to the back of the shelf. I don't mind the two boxes for the regular game, since they're pretty small and it's cool to pull out one of the new boards if I run into Root veterans.
I like the Duchy for its 'sudden impact' ability. It's kind of like the Troggs in Cry Havoc; suddenly, you're surrounded! But I feel like that huge location/movement advantage is undercut pretty seriously by the tenuousness of the Minister system. I think establishing it is relatively straightforward: with only 2 actions, you're going to be sitting on cards which you can then use to sway ministers. But the loss of any building means that Lord that you just schemed to bring out for a couple turns is suddenly cashiered. With as many dudes as you have, it should be a bit of a trial for opponents to kill off enough to remove your buildings. But you also have to spread out a lot in order to have the clearings that you need to sway the higher ministers in the first place. You can see me describing the faction's inherent balance in front of your eyes... But I'm getting a pretty strong Marquis vibe with the moles; in that, left undisturbed to do their thing, they can be dominant. But any amount of interference makes them look very fragile and unable to react to that interference (see: Field Hospitals fix.)
OTOH, the Corvids are totally up my alley. I'm officially forbidden in one of my groups from playing Slaanesh in CitOW (not that that's happened in a long time...) because the play style of that faction just works for me and I tend to romp to wins with it. The Corvids are just like that: a lot of deception and negotiation, just kind of hanging around, hanging around... and then the explosion for the win. The bursts that are capable with the crafting possibilities of Plot tokens and the aftereffects of things like Raid at the right time could be great. The Riverfolk are one of my favorite factions because of the subversive nature of their whole operation; the war profiteers who suddenly win the war, and because you really have to work the table to make them function properly. The Corvids are just like that: the lords of whispers who are really the lords of a lot more than you knew.
I'd like to try them again but I think I will prefer the birds for the same playstyle.
Which I think is the intentional design move? Make a faction that can drop 5 warriors in a backfield anywhere they want but that simultaneously has to hold territory and be super conservative about defending the buildings they have.
It's an odd feel though as in our game the cats built up a ton of units meaning they had two balls of 6+ warriors they could move about the board. They don't mind losing buildings nearly as much because they get points to rebuild them.
Defending against large cat armies felt very rough as I could not outpace him in troops when I needed to defend 2-3 clearings (which would take 12-18 troops to maintain identical numbers to his 6 troop group that attacks).
It looks like they altered them from the final PNP release just before going to print. The changes gave them more troops but required they spread out much more.