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River Wild Board Game Review

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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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21 Aug 2021 03:35 #325903 by sornars
Replied by sornars on topic Let's Talk About... Root

Gary Sax wrote: 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.

… because the clockwork machine of your faction is doing part of the work for you by guiding your strategy.

This is an excellent summary of how I feel. My favourite faction was the Eyrie as at least they made the fact that this was a partially scripted programming game an explicit part of the faction mechanics.

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21 Aug 2021 12:40 #325906 by dysjunct
Replied by dysjunct on topic Let's Talk About Root

Jackwraith wrote: 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.
[...]
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.


Could be!

Something else that put me off trying it for so long is that, every time I take a look at it, it seems like the rules have gone through several iterations since the last time I took a look. Apparently it's up to six "printings" for the English version, which aren't quite like new editions? But the rules are tweaked? Plus there's expansions that have gone through their own iterative process? It makes me want to pass on the whole thing, rather than pick up some outdated version that is probably fine but might not be the best version, or represent the designer's truest vision. I dunno.

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21 Aug 2021 13:17 #325907 by Gary Sax
Replied by Gary Sax on topic Let's Talk About Root
Rules have been extremely stable over I think all of those printings. They add the new factions to the rules when a new expansion comes out, which explains the different number of page numbers and the like with some later printings. But the rules have basically not changed.

There were two small balance changes I think in the 2nd printing to the woodland alliance and the lizard cult, you could get stickers to update your copy and there were other ways to update it. I doubt those problems are in the retail pipeline at this point though after so many years.
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21 Aug 2021 14:01 #325908 by Not Sure
Replied by Not Sure on topic Let's Talk About Root
The game has gone through six printing because it keeps selling, but Sax is right, the only actual rules change I can recall was a slight nerf to the Alliance and the bump to the Lizards in the second printing.

Both Cole and Leder Games tend to be extremely open about their process, so your head might spin if you go looking at in-development stuff or BGG chatter. Things oscillate wildly there, but it's all just typical bullshit. Once the game is locked down for printing, it stays really stable.

Root isn't like High Frontier with endlessly shifting "Living Rules" in that regard. It doesn't really matter what edition you have (aside from first Kickstarter, basically), and the expansions are mix-n-match. Use the rulebook from the newest expansion you have, and nothing else matters in your copy.

Root might be a top twenty game for me, but still can't crack my top three of Wehrle designs.
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29 Sep 2021 23:52 #326856 by Gary Sax
Replied by Gary Sax on topic Let's Talk About Root
www.twitch.tv/videos/1148703058

Here's a video of samples of all the production pieces if you want to see what's in the most recent KS content.
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30 Sep 2021 02:52 #326861 by mc
Replied by mc on topic Let's Talk About Root
Yeah, I backed it. I told me kid about some of the small expansions and said if he wanted them he could save up. Unbenownst to him I have already bought them so when he is finally ready he can hand over his money and I can just produce one from the cupboard.

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14 Dec 2021 16:07 #328787 by Gary Sax
Replied by Gary Sax on topic Let's Talk About Root
www.twitch.tv/videos/1226942297

Final box stuff from their december stream. I tend to find their early game discussion kind of interesting too fwiw, I almost always watch these even if there's no big kickstarter I'm watching about or anything.

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17 Mar 2022 09:08 #331671 by mads b.
Replied by mads b. on topic Let's Talk About Root
Played three games of Root this weekend. The game is great, but I had a frustrating experience with the corvids. It seemed like they had very little action agency, and at the same time were very prone to getting their game destroyed by the other players. This is especially the case since the payment for guessing plots and guessing wrong is cards to the corvids, but they have very little use for those cards apart from crafting. Yes, you need a card to get troops one the map, but you only need one each turn.

Also, we decided we didn't want a vagabond in our third game because it feels like if no players attack the vagabond, they'll win, but at the same time nothing is gained from attacking them. In other words you don't get to improve your own game by impeding theirs as you do with all other factions, and that's somewhat frustrating. But without the vagabond to remove ruins and lizards, moles, cats, otters, and woodland alliance in play, the board quickly became too crowded for especially the cats and lizards.

Have any of you tried simply playing without the ruins in games without the vagabond? Or maybe a rule that says you can spend a card or an action to remove one? We discussed that it might help all the builder factions spread out a bit more which in turn would have helped the alliance a bit, but we weren't sure it would work.
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17 Mar 2022 10:43 #331673 by Jackwraith
Replied by Jackwraith on topic Let's Talk About Root
That's interesting. The Corvids and the Lizards are probably my favorite factions and I think the key with both of them is to spread your options and react to where the emphases of the other players happen to be. I understand the feeling that they lack agency, but I've always found that the (thematically-appropriate) lurking threat of the crows is enough to find people playing around them just because they don't want to risk cards on messing with plots until they become too obvious of a threat (like having both Extortions face up or something like that.) But that might just be my local meta, where people play very tight. Of course, we also very rarely play with 5, which it sounds like you had in those three games. The more crowded the board is, the higher the risk/reward scenario runs for that faction.

I've become adjusted to the idea that the Vagabond is the clock on the game. If you leave it alone, the game will end and not in your favor. The problem you describe (someone has to hit him, despite no reward for doing so) is an essential aspect of that clock and is, I think, one of the more interesting design aspects of the game, since it compels negotiation at the table, as everyone has to be involved in dealing with the opportunist at some point. But it's certainly viable to play without the Vagabond and many people do it for exactly the reasons you describe. We haven't tried playing without Ruins, though. IIRC correctly, Cole mentioned that they'd found that restricting those spaces was a restraint on the more militant factions that they found to be necessary to slow them down, but it's certainly open to question as to what the game is like with them in play for the whole session.

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17 Mar 2022 12:21 - 17 Mar 2022 12:24 #331681 by Gary Sax
Replied by Gary Sax on topic Let's Talk About Root
The Vagabond thing is as very common feeling among experienced players in the tournament meta, mads, so you're right on there.

The corvids, also, are considered a lower tier factions because it is always viable to winslay them. They have no hidden/difficult to block point scoring mechanisms, so no matter how well they do they can always be guessed out and/or just wiped off the board because they usually have scattered thin stacks.

On the crowded board thing, it is sometimes advantageous for especially the cats to consider their buildings totally expendable and put them in risky places you know someone will gobble the point from them, because it allows you to rebuild them for the point spike with your limited actions if you come back through with a stack and fight back. I tend to get way too precious about cat buildings in my play. It beats trying to go and take some other player's stronghold to find the slim building slots on the board.
Last edit: 17 Mar 2022 12:24 by Gary Sax.

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17 Mar 2022 14:40 #331689 by Sagrilarus
Replied by Sagrilarus on topic Let's Talk About Root

mads b. wrote: Played three games of Root this weekend. The game is great, but . . .


Dude you got a big but.

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18 Mar 2022 03:51 #331703 by mads b.
Replied by mads b. on topic Let's Talk About Root
Yes, there was a lot of caveats. I liked my first game as corvids even though I saw quite early that I wasn't a contender. But learning the new faction, seeing the otters in play and just playing the game was still fun. Then, when I tried the corvids again because I figured I'd know what to do, the game was frustrating. Destroying my plots was far to easy for the other players whether by guessing or just battling.

On the other hand I was the lizards in the final game it it was a lot of fun. I figured I was out of contention early on precisely because the moles, a mass of otters, and ruins meant I couldn't really expand. But nonetheless I had fun with a weird faction and ended up being one round from winning.

I get the idea of the vagabond as a game clock, but I still don't like it. Almost everything else in the game you can do - regardless of faction - are things that help you win. Attacking the trash panda does nothing except hindering another player, and it also risk painting a big fat target on you because a hostile vagabond will attack you and give other players cards. I love the vagabond as a faction. But I hate that you can almost only beat it by leaving the story of the game in favor of the meta.
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18 Mar 2022 08:48 #331708 by Jexik
Replied by Jexik on topic Let's Talk About Root
The Lord of the Board recently did a faction ranking on his youtube channel, and (spoilers) Vagabond was strongest and his least favorite. While Corvids were considered weak. So this matches others experience. Now you might enter the “let the corvids have fun so they can blow up other people” phase.
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18 Mar 2022 10:02 #331714 by mads b.
Replied by mads b. on topic Let's Talk About Root

Jexik wrote: The Lord of the Board recently did a faction ranking on his youtube channel, and (spoilers) Vagabond was strongest and his least favorite. While Corvids were considered weak. So this matches others experience. Now you might enter the “let the corvids have fun so they can blow up other people” phase.


I don't particularly mind a faction being strong or weak. The problem for me with the corvids was that I had very little room to actually play the game I wanted. It was far too easy for other players to remove my plots because giving me a card to guess wrong was no big deal since I couldn't really use it for much. That is very much unlike the alliance where giving them cards for moving into their clearings or removing sympathy directly impacts the likelyhood of them making a revolt in their next turn.

I like the feel of the corvids, but I think they should have some extra stuff to use cards for. Maybe being able to spend a matching card to recruit an extra warrior would be enough to allow them to sacrifice plots for board presence.

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18 Mar 2022 10:26 - 18 Mar 2022 10:35 #331715 by Jexik
Replied by Jexik on topic Let's Talk About Root
I’ve admittedly got just a few games with Corvids involved, and I haven’t been them yet. I’m just suggesting that maybe their mechanical shortcomings can be fixed above the table. Awhile back Gary Sax linked to a tournament game where the Lizard Cult won (and I think Vagabond lost) largely because of cooperation and collusion.

Then again, some moderate house ruling is probably okay if your group is on board; some of the earlier factions had rules changes already.
Last edit: 18 Mar 2022 10:35 by Jexik.

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