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Masters of the Night Coming to Retail

NEW and Upcoming Games

Let's Talk About Root

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03 Apr 2019 14:09 #294918 by Jexik
Replied by Jexik on topic Let's Talk About Root
Picked it up this week, trading in some old Magic cards that I haven't touched in years. I looked up the prices ahead of time to know that I wasn't getting totally screwed.

Man this game is cute. But it looks like it could be surprisingly nasty with big swings when you lose control of spaces. I'll likely try a 2p cats v. birds with the wife or get a 4 player game going at the club some Thursday. Looking at the rules makes it pretty clear it'll be hard for the 8 1/2 year old, but he might enjoy being the Vagabond and teaming up against dad or something.
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03 Apr 2019 14:17 - 03 Apr 2019 14:19 #294919 by Gary Sax
Replied by Gary Sax on topic Let's Talk About Root
It's much shorter and lighter than you think. Just getting it on the table early is a good idea---the ways in which it's heavy are that players need to play multiple times to get how to prevent sudden wins from dynamics and mechanics they did not totally understand from the other players.

Vagabond as a kid's wild card is a good idea. The Vagabond has to be played really shrewdly to win early, but its main mechanics are not central to the progression of a normal game so erratic behavior works from the Vagabond player without messing too much with game progression.

But do note that a sworded up Vagabond that is randomly attacking a non-insurgent player ceaselessly is really going to hurt that player's chances to win.
Last edit: 03 Apr 2019 14:19 by Gary Sax.
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03 Apr 2019 14:19 - 03 Apr 2019 14:21 #294920 by Jexik
Replied by Jexik on topic Let's Talk About Root
Yeah, it seems like it's the kind of thing that you just have to play a few turns of and then it will click, at least with that faction.

What's confusing to me right now without playing it is how you actually score, since each faction does it differently, but there are a few ways that everyone can, like removing a building or token.

It seems like the best way to teach it would be to give a 1-2 minute spiel about what each faction represents and that little story about the Cats taking over the Eyrie's woods, and go from there.
Last edit: 03 Apr 2019 14:21 by Jexik.
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03 Apr 2019 14:24 - 03 Apr 2019 14:24 #294921 by Gary Sax
Replied by Gary Sax on topic Let's Talk About Root
Yeah, everyone has a different core scoring mechanic. But... the non-Vagabond factions are fundamentally playing a somewhat similar game of DoaM and area control. Cole has said he really focused on that for this design in interviews, so that most players feel they are playing the same games. I think it shows.
Last edit: 03 Apr 2019 14:24 by Gary Sax.
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03 Apr 2019 14:37 #294922 by Jexik
Replied by Jexik on topic Let's Talk About Root
Also, crafting seems kind of weird, and like the little side items you get from some of them only matter for a) preventing future players from crafting similar items and b) if there is a Vagabond in the game.
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03 Apr 2019 14:42 #294923 by Vysetron
Replied by Vysetron on topic Let's Talk About Root
The scoring is why teaching Root isn't a horrible nightmare. Everything stems from a core of scooting dudes around, burning down buildings, crafting items, and [INSERT UNIQUE FACTION SCORING HERE]. With that framework you can pretty easily explain each faction's eccentricities. It's great.
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05 Apr 2019 08:21 - 05 Apr 2019 08:23 #295013 by Jexik
Replied by Jexik on topic Let's Talk About Root
Root really cleaned up on BGG's Golden Geeks:

www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/2179643/13t...-awards-winners-2018

Won Game of the Year, Artwork and Presentation, Innovative, and Thematic Game, and was a runner up for Strategic Game and Best Expansion for Riverfolk.

When BGG and F:AT/TWBG agree on something I had to take notice.

My wife was too tired to learn something new last night, but sometime in the next week I expect to play it.

The Mind also won 3 awards. Card, Cooperative, and Party.
Last edit: 05 Apr 2019 08:23 by Jexik.

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05 Apr 2019 08:25 #295014 by Vysetron
Replied by Vysetron on topic Let's Talk About Root
I'm not joking when I say that Root is an "important" game. Decontextualising wargame factions and refitting them all to the new setting is brilliant and allowed for so many people to enjoy what they otherwise wouldn't have touched. I could see it being an incredibly valuable teaching tool for similar reasons.
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05 Apr 2019 08:46 #295016 by charlest
Replied by charlest on topic Let's Talk About Root
Both Root and The Mind were very deserving. Certainly two of the best games of 2018.

I would have liked to have seen Nyctophobia win innovative though.
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05 Apr 2019 09:02 #295017 by Jexik
Replied by Jexik on topic Let's Talk About Root

charlest wrote: Both Root and The Mind were very deserving. Certainly two of the best games of 2018.

I would have liked to have seen Nyctophobia win innovative though.


Sometimes when something is really good, it will win almost every award it's nominated for. You see this in the Oscars too.

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05 Apr 2019 10:02 #295019 by Gary Sax
Replied by Gary Sax on topic Let's Talk About Root

Vysetron wrote: I'm not joking when I say that Root is an "important" game. Decontextualising wargame factions and refitting them all to the new setting is brilliant and allowed for so many people to enjoy what they otherwise wouldn't have touched. I could see it being an incredibly valuable teaching tool for similar reasons.


Good post. The one reason I find its success
mildly surprising is it takes a fair number of plays to reach table equilibrium and get past "SURPRISE!" wins. I haven't, for example, played it enough to get there. I'm being a bit unfair but I don't always associate BGG hotness with games that reveal themselves over multiple plays with experienced players.

That said, even the initial faction puzzle phase is pretty entertaining imo so that could be helping it.
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05 Apr 2019 10:44 #295024 by Jackwraith
Replied by Jackwraith on topic Let's Talk About Root

Gary Sax wrote: The one reason I find its success mildly surprising is it takes a fair number of plays to reach table equilibrium and get past "SURPRISE!" wins. I haven't, for example, played it enough to get there. I'm being a bit unfair but I don't always associate BGG hotness with games that reveal themselves over multiple plays with experienced players.


Same. Every time I introduce it, I have to contextualize it with: a) You're not really going to have any idea what you're doing for several turns. b) Someone will win "out of the blue" and you'll feel like that faction is OP. Several games later, you'll realize what to look for AND have a grasp of your own strategy. That's a sign of the game's depth, but it's also normally a game-killer for a lot of people.

Villainous is somewhat similar in that first-timers frequently just sit there shaking their heads as they try to figure out what their deck should be doing and have zero clue what's happening on the other side of the table, leading to a lot of random or ineffective Fate moves and, again, a feeling that one villain or another is OP. The first time we played with my regulars, they were highly unimpressed. Since then, I've played a couple times with new people at the FLGS and relayed the story of those games to my regulars so that they could get an idea that the game just takes some time to settle in. Then we played again and everyone was much happier with it. Root is markedly more complex in that respect, so it will take even longer. The fact that people have been willing to stick with it is kind of the mystery to penetrate.

What I'd like to see it do, both on my local level and in general, is what Vysetron was talking about: make DoaM games more interesting to people that kneejerk reject them as "wargames". I think games like Cyclades and Inis pushed in that direction, but Root may be the one to get people over the top.
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05 Apr 2019 11:17 #295027 by Jexik
Replied by Jexik on topic Let's Talk About Root

Jackwraith wrote: ]The fact that people have been willing to stick with it is kind of the mystery to penetrate.


The setting, art, and graphic design. No question about it.
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05 Apr 2019 11:47 #295029 by charlest
Replied by charlest on topic Let's Talk About Root

Jexik wrote:

Jackwraith wrote: ]The fact that people have been willing to stick with it is kind of the mystery to penetrate.


The setting, art, and graphic design. No question about it.


While that's some of it, I think it's geniunely fun exploring a new faction in the game. You get those nice "aha!" moments and everything coming together feels great.

The learning curve to Root is not a boundary to fun, it's merely a boundary to high level play.
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10 Apr 2019 08:52 - 10 Apr 2019 08:56 #295271 by Jexik
Replied by Jexik on topic Let's Talk About Root
Just watched the SU&SD review of it.



They posit that part of what makes people come back is the bursty scoring and feeling like you can do better or have a better experience "next game," and that the art is a big part of its undeniable appeal. I mentioned that my first game was a ridiculous blowout caused by a mistake on my early turn as the Eyrie, from which I never recovered. I REALLY wanted to go again, but there were errands to run.

Has anyone else tried 2p? It feels like it could be the most tenuous arrangement.
Last edit: 10 Apr 2019 08:56 by Jexik.

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