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Bugs: Recent Topics Paging, Uploading Images & Preview (11 Dec 2020)

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Let's Talk About Root

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06 Aug 2020 11:41 #312841 by mezike
Replied by mezike on topic Let's Talk About... Root
From further down in the reddit, Cole says: "For Root, I've got an insurgent faction, a conquering army, and a nation in civil war right now. They are all pretty different and fit the world nicely. I'm excited to draw them up properly and get them into testing."

...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.
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06 Aug 2020 11:55 #312843 by Jackwraith
Replied by Jackwraith on topic Let's Talk About... Root

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.
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06 Aug 2020 12:08 - 06 Aug 2020 12:09 #312844 by Gary Sax
Replied by Gary Sax on topic Let's Talk About... Root
Yes, Patrick is pretty honest about revenue being an important consideration for the company. I respect it, honestly, it is what it is.

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.
Last edit: 06 Aug 2020 12:09 by Gary Sax.

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06 Aug 2020 13:45 #312850 by hotseatgames

Gary Sax wrote: Do you mean because of reach or because of balance, hotseat?


Reach. Having X factions isn't really all that useful when you only get to drag out half of them in particular setups.
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06 Aug 2020 13:52 #312851 by Jackwraith
Replied by Jackwraith on topic Let's Talk About... Root
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.

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.)
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06 Aug 2020 14:09 #312853 by Shellhead
Replied by Shellhead on topic Let's Talk About... Root
That raises an interesting issue for gaming in general. Should a game offer enough balance that every player has a reasonable chance to win? And if so, should an asymmetrical game be balanced by the designer or the players? I used to play wargames, and it was common for a scenario to feature asymmetrical forces that were balanced by the victory conditions. By contrast, Root offers asymmetrical vp conditions for asymmetrical factions, and yet it seems that the balance is still left entirely to the players.

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06 Aug 2020 14:13 #312854 by OhBollox
Replied by OhBollox on topic Let's Talk About... Root
The Lizard nerf was an outright mistake. We were playing the PnP at the time, and had only had a few games with the latest changes when the game went off to print. I understand they had a timetable, but the big mistake they made with Root was having to rush the end of the development (as base game and expansion factions needed to be changed post-release, it wasn't just the expansion).

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.

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06 Aug 2020 14:15 #312855 by hotseatgames
I think asymmetrical factions are awesome, in theory. I also support said factions being of varying difficulty levels to play well. BUT... I think you get into murky territory when some factions require very nuanced conditions in order to have a shot at winning. I don't think most people are on board playing a game when they know their role is to "support" other players' attempt at victory.

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."
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07 Aug 2020 12:46 - 07 Aug 2020 12:53 #312875 by Jexik
Replied by Jexik on topic Let's Talk About... Root

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.
Last edit: 07 Aug 2020 12:53 by Jexik.

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07 Aug 2020 13:12 #312876 by Count Orlok
So - I'm tentatively interested in trying Root on TTS. How have you all been going about it? Has teaching and playing gone alright? How long does a game take?

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07 Aug 2020 13:17 #312878 by Gary Sax
Replied by Gary Sax on topic Let's Talk About... Root
Our games have been running about an hour and a half to two hours. We've all played a fair amount at this point so the teaching is negligible. Friend one or more of us up thread on Discord and I'll give you the invite to the Discord we've been using, but of course we could use any Discord channel (I think there's an official root channel on tabletopsimulator's channel or something).

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.

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07 Aug 2020 13:28 #312879 by Count Orlok
Hell, I'd try either one I think. I'm just a little gun shy about online gaming with freaks I met on the internet.

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07 Aug 2020 13:33 #312880 by Jexik
Replied by Jexik on topic Let's Talk About... Root
Have you played anything else on TTS yet? First couple games getting used to how it feels might make things take a little longer.

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.
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07 Aug 2020 13:37 #312881 by Gary Sax
Replied by Gary Sax on topic Let's Talk About... Root
I get you. I've only been gaming with this crowd which is very low on the freak quotient.

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.
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07 Aug 2020 15:45 #312883 by Count Orlok
Yes, I've played a little TTS. I think I'd be onboard for next Wednesday. I'm East Coast so probably can't go super long (more than three hours or so).
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