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Let's Talk About Root
...and later on, from Patrick: "Root we will expand one or two more times and then call it done. Testing it getting challenging."
I think the future of the game will continue to be more divergence in factions and coping with balancing the asymmetry remaining incumbent on players. I think that's fine if you have a regular group and can find your way through it together, but in general will only exacerbate the "faction X is broken/useless" outcries.
mezike wrote: I think the future of the game will continue to be more divergence in factions and coping with balancing the asymmetry remaining incumbent on players. I think that's fine if you have a regular group and can find your way through it together, but in general will only exacerbate the "faction X is broken/useless" outcries.
Yep. Totally this. That's what I was writing about a few months ago. Root is a brilliant game, but it really shines when you have an experienced group that knows not only what their faction does, but also what everyone else's does.
I think the impetus to produce more is pretty obvious: the demand is there and it's the cash cow of the moment. In that AMA, Patrick said that they had pretty much decided that Vast was done, so they have Root still running, Fort just released, and Oath in the pipeline. That's not a ton of revenue outside of Root, so it makes business sense to lean on that for a while longer until other things can become established streams.
I agree on the playing a lot thing. I mean, we've been playing weekly for a bit here and I feel like I've barely gotten any better. We do tend to see wins where one other player will win next turn if the one doesn't, which suggests our meta table balancing isn't totally off. But we aren't seeing the 3-4 factions are close to winning meta balance you'd ideally want if everyone really locked down their roles.
I think what people are really missing (in addition to not recognizing that their local meta is not the defining one, but simply an expression of their group's playstyle) is the role that each faction was intended to take in the game. They're thinking that everyone should just be able to sit down and have an equal chance of winning, but that belies the interaction of the various factions that can weight individual decisions with enormous import. Yes, the Vagabond is a clock on the game. You have to move along or he'll beat you. The alternative is to take time out to perform the "lesser" action of actually beating on him. But that's part of the game's nuance (as it is with the interaction of every other faction in the game) that both makes it brilliant and likely makes it seem less so for people who don't have much experience with it.
The "role" aspect is why Cole argued against buffing the Lizard Cult. From his perspective, the Cult was serving its role by being underpowered but a constant lurking threat that could become something. It was a story. The lurking cultists shouldn't be an obvious threat from the start. That's a different story. But people wanted to be able to sit down and actually win with the Lizards (i.e. play a game, rather than just tell a story), so they changed them. As I recall, Cole's statements were at least mildly reproachful and suggested that they were making said changes for "tournament rules" purposes. No organized tournament scene has developed, TMK, but people are much happier playing the Lizards these days (including me.)
I was properly pissed off when the post-release Lizard changes were, IIRC, simply rolling back those nerfs that were made right before the game was finalised.
My preferred game over Root is Cthulhu Wars. Its assymetry is not as pronounced, but to a much larger degree, each faction has a good chance at the outset. No one ever says "oh, we don't have Cthulhu, so you may as well not bother playing Yellow Sign."
Jackwraith wrote: It's interesting to see some of the meta discussions on BGG, as well. The Duchy is the bully of the moment, with a certain segment convinced that they need to be nerfed, despite repeated opinions to the contrary citing underwhelming experiences with them. It's kind of like the "Vagabond must be nerfed" threads from last year.
We had one game on TTS with the 'smol mol' (no building moles) and it seemed pretty good. We had Lizards in the game which sort of pushed Scott (I think) into that territory. Ideally both the cats and birds would have policed his troop count, but I went ahead and turmoil'd the birds with a sanctify, perhaps unnecessarily. By then it was too late and Moles had their engine running. He beat everyone by at least 10 points.
It definitely felt a little broken, simply because the typical way to interact with the moles is to destroy their buildings, yet this strategy gives them no buildings to mess with. I compared it in my head to the starvation strategy in Stone Age, although I'm not sure how accurate that is overall... I need more reps in against no-build moles to really know I think. People are pointing out on BGG that you have to take some time to kill solitary moles to prevent them from swaying ministers, which, much like whacking the vagabond, is at least a little counter-intuitive from a scoring perspective.
We've been playing almost every Wednesday night 7pm pacific using Discord and TTS. I'm breaking tradition this week by doing a TTS learning game of Empyreal: Spells and Steam this coming Wednesday instead with Scott which everyone is of course invited to as well. But there may be enough folks around to put together a Root game too if you want, depends on attendance.
As Gary Sax said our games are typically about 2 hours for 3-4 players but it depends on player count.
A 2p learning game of Cats v. Birds can be done in an hour or less if you'd like to get a feel for it before jumping into a larger game.
Yeah, so Scott and I are playing Empyreal Wednesday night at 7pm pacific if you want to join. I've never played so it's a teaching game but Scott has. Jexik and Digustipater, sometimes Not Sure or hotseat may show up @7pm depending on what's going on. It's pretty informal.