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Let's Talk About Root

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20 Aug 2021 16:17 #325880 by Sagrilarus
Replied by Sagrilarus on topic Let's Talk About Root

dysjunct wrote: So I finally got around to playing Root last weekend. After all the hype I was left mostly nonplussed. It was okay, I guess, but seemed to invest a lot of energy into being mechanically clever for clever’s sake. I’d play it again but probably won’t seek it out.


This was my take-away as well. It's a very clever design and I can respect that, but I felt like all of us were playing separate games at the same table. The theme is bolted on, because its fit was so bad the paste wouldn't hold. I've played twice now, though the second time was because it was set up when I got to game night. I was a little disappointed.

Not meaning to poop on the thread, but it's curious the notoriety the game gets, particularly in light of Wehrle's other titles which are much more unified and intellectually engaging. None of the creatures represented have the slightest thing to do with how they interact with the game. Just an odd play.
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20 Aug 2021 16:27 - 20 Aug 2021 16:32 #325882 by sornars
Replied by sornars on topic Let's Talk About Root
That has been the experience of my plays as well. I think I would prefer to play almost any other of Cole’s designs over Root but the game is undeniably clever and I see why others might like it.

I haven’t played enough to fully appreciate it but I also found the thematic explanation of each faction representing a different system of governance to not be particularly compelling. Perhaps I’m missing the broader argument being made.
Last edit: 20 Aug 2021 16:32 by sornars.
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20 Aug 2021 17:26 - 20 Aug 2021 17:26 #325883 by Shellhead
Replied by Shellhead on topic Let's Talk About... Root
You're supposed to gulp the Cole-Aid, not sip it.
Last edit: 20 Aug 2021 17:26 by Shellhead.

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20 Aug 2021 17:41 - 20 Aug 2021 17:48 #325884 by Jexik
Replied by Jexik on topic Let's Talk About... Root
Game is cute and fun. I have no regrets.

Let me know if any of you bagging on Root enjoy Lords of Waterdeep. I’ll know that we have divergent ideas about fun and what counts as a bolted on theme then.
Last edit: 20 Aug 2021 17:48 by Jexik.
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20 Aug 2021 17:56 #325885 by dysjunct
Replied by dysjunct on topic Let's Talk About... Root
I don’t care for Waterdeep either.

I’m not saying Root was bad, or that people are wrong to like it. Like I said, I’d try it again.
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20 Aug 2021 18:06 - 20 Aug 2021 18:07 #325887 by charlest
Replied by charlest on topic Let's Talk About... Root
I still very much enjoy this game.

The fun, for me, comes from collision of asymmetry. You're trying to figure out the strategic approach to your own faction while deciphering a complicated board state (which includes other players personal boards) and then you get all of this interesting fallout from trying to stop each other.

There's quite a bit of negotiation when we play as it's difficult to assess who is in the best position.

I get a strong sense of exploration from this game (not in a physical geospatial sense), that's similar to Cole's other games.
Last edit: 20 Aug 2021 18:07 by charlest.
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20 Aug 2021 18:19 #325889 by mc
Replied by mc on topic Let's Talk About Root

Gary Sax wrote: Oh, overall don't bother with the bots, though they aren't a bad choice to add to 2p to add some chaos. You can get better ones by the same designer pnp using the better bots project.



Yes I figured that out, I think those are the ones we used.


As for the thematicness of Root, yeah, I'm totally on board myself. If that's helped by swallowing truckloads of Cole-Aid ( :lol: ) before playing, so be it, but I like this power vacuum and the different approaches engendered by the factions. The animals.... eh, whatever, although that is a massive attraction for my kid. But I get a stack of theme from mechanisms myself in general and that really comes through for me in Root. The characteristics and goals of players in an unstable state are nicely represented through that. I also don't find it particularly heads down or any of it too complex enough to obfuscate interaction or whatever. I can think of plenty of complex euros that might not be asymmetric but still require a much bigger mental load and have any interaction much more buried in a mire of tracks and subsystems or whatever.
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20 Aug 2021 18:47 #325890 by Jackwraith
Replied by Jackwraith on topic Let's Talk About Root
dysjunct, I've known a lot of people that were unimpressed with their first play but got talked into a second one and discovered some of the brilliance in the design. I'm one of them. Our teacher was subpar and only he and one other person had played before. The two newbs ended up with the Eyrie and the Alliance, which are probably the most unusual among the initial four factions when it comes to how they function in a typical game. The guy playing the Vagabond just did his own thing, with no one really the wiser to slow him down (the teacher was, like many, trying to make sure everything was flowing smoothly, rather than strategizing) and won. I came away from that first game definitely non-plussed. But I decided to give it another try now that I'd had some experience and with a better teacher to point out some not-so-obvious things and I realized it was a great game and remains one of my favorites to this day.

While "asymmetric play" is a nice buzz phrase in modern board gaming, most of the time that's people assuming that "variable player powers" are the definition of "asymmetry." That's not really the case, because even with different abilities, people are usually still trying to win the game in the same two or three ways that most rulesets present. Root is not that way, since all of the factions function quite differently, but the binding element is that they're all still trying to score 30 VPs first, even if the methods employed are radically different. So, I get the criticism that it can feel like playing several different games on the same board. But that implies multi-player solitaire, which Root isn't and can't be if people expect to win. But knowing when to negotiate and what to negotiate for, as Charlie points out, as well as what to watch out for is something that will usually only come with repeated plays. I really think you'll enjoy it if you try it again; caveat being that there's no telling what games will appeal to whom and there's no wrong or right in it, either.
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20 Aug 2021 19:30 - 20 Aug 2021 19:33 #325892 by Sagrilarus
Replied by Sagrilarus on topic Let's Talk About... Root
I'd pay $50 to avoid a game of Lords of Waterdeep.

Root . . . $5 tops. And that's sober.

Talk to me about Bolide instead. That's a game worth playing.
Last edit: 20 Aug 2021 19:33 by Sagrilarus.

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20 Aug 2021 19:47 #325893 by Disgustipater
I’ve probably said this before, but whenever my friend makes us play Waterdeep, I read the generic, flavorless flavor text on every card I draw in a big dramatic voice. It irritates him so much, it’s great.

Also Root is one of my favorites.

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20 Aug 2021 19:48 #325894 by charlest
Replied by charlest on topic Let's Talk About... Root
You know what's awesome about Waterdeep? The mandatory quests.

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20 Aug 2021 20:39 #325895 by Jexik
Replied by Jexik on topic Let's Talk About... Root
Yeah. It's like the first thing that popped up in someone's head when someone complained that there wasn't enough interaction in the game.

(Don't mean to hate on it too much, but LoW has always been my go-to overrated game that I just don't understand the appeal of. I'd say 80% or more of the people at one of my game groups prefer it to Root, so I know what tables to avoid).

On the topic of first plays, I think I lost my first game something like 30-5. Losing to my wife's Cats as the Eyrie. I came on here describing it and people thought I probably had some rules wrong. I think I played the rules correctly but colossally misplayed. Despite that, the Eyrie eventually became one of my favorite factions, to the point that I felt confident writing an article about them here.

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20 Aug 2021 21:19 #325896 by Gary Sax
Replied by Gary Sax on topic Let's Talk About... Root
I find Root very thematic and I like it... but I don't find the play of it especially creative and that's what limits its top end for my gaming tastes. Putting it next to the absolute openness and creativity of a play of Oath really nails down what limits Root's appeal to me to "would play it almost any time someone suggests" but it not being a top tier pick for me.

I would like to play some more Root now that I've had a little break, and that speaks highly of it. I find it a very smooth and easy play, because the clockwork machine of your faction is doing part of the work for you by guiding your strategy.
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20 Aug 2021 22:28 #325901 by Sagrilarus
Replied by Sagrilarus on topic Let's Talk About... Root

Gary Sax wrote: . . . because the clockwork machine of your faction is doing part of the work for you by guiding your strategy.


There is a job in the diplomatic corps for you sir.

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20 Aug 2021 22:33 #325902 by Gary Sax
Replied by Gary Sax on topic Let's Talk About... Root
I mean, I think there's still a lot of important decisionmaking in terms of getting to the win in the more tactical decisions about how and where to go down the path.
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