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Let's Talk About Root
The second game, the Cat player swapped for Lizards, and then started crying about it (he's my brother, so I'm allowed to make fun of him). So I swapped him Woodland for Lizards, and I started crying. That hand full of birds that was going to be awesome for Woodland was a positive detriment for Lizards. The birds kept on coming, and by the time they stopped I was out of contention. Eyrie was going to win, but Woodland took one for the team and forced Eyrie into a late-game turmoil. Vagabond then just walked in with the win.
I do really like the game, though. I suck at it, but I like it.
quozl wrote: Wait. Root has depth?
I think it does. I think it's more of an experiment in what a DoaM can be, as opposed to a solid representation of one, but I think there are a lot of layers to be explored in Root. I think the big difference between Cthulhu Wars and Root is that the latter is sometimes frustrating to play until you've figured out how everyone operates and what's happening on the board, while the former is still fun to play even if you don't really know what's going on or what important spellbooks have been gained, etc.
quozl wrote: Wait. Root has depth?
Very much so! It's all about sharp maneuvering, negotiation, and cardplay. None of the factions can go in with a set plan and just operate because the game is way too interactive and reliant on obscuring how well you're doing. It doesn't offer the same transparent roadmap like CW's achievements do but there's still a fair range of ways to get points.
Gary Sax wrote: I haven't played it a million times, but my main beef with Root is that I think the Vagabond role is a bit flaccid.
Which is interesting because I often considered it the most dynamic of the four until I played the Riverfolk. I think the idea behind the Vagabond was to provide an X element to the game that wasn't following a pre-determined path. That's not to say that the strategies for the Cats, Aerie, and WA are locked in with each game, but the Vagabond stirs the pot to some degree, since he's operating outside of the tug of war and the other factions MUST pay attention to him or he'll just win the game by doing his own thing.
I wish this game got more play in my group; I fear I will never really get to see it shine, with everyone experienced and knowing what is going on. It's finicky as hell with new players.
The difference is that the Vagabond generally isn't adversarial to any of the factions until the late game, so it's easy to just ignore him and forget he's there until you realize he's about to win.
hotseatgames wrote: Agreed, in my meager experience, a Vagabond left to its own devices will win the game as a general rule. I suppose you could say that about a lot of the factions, but particularly Vagabond.
A massive part of Root is identifying who's winning. Every faction gains points at different rates in different ways, which is why the Cats always get off to a rocket start and the Lizards don't bother scoring points for the first half of the game. But the Vagabond is uniquely positioned in that regard because, moreso than every other faction, they -can- be played as a solo RPG protag and explode up the track at the end of the game as a direct result.
New players always have this experience because it's hard to perceive when a defensive Vagabond is actually doing anything of consequence. They don't track what quests they're doing where even though that information is entirely open because they're too busy handling their own problems, only to get blown out. This is why people thought the Tinker was the strongest ID for the Vagabond - she's the best at this playstyle that new players die to.
Players who know what they're doing don't let this happen. It's incredibly easy to effectively take turns away from the Vagabond at very little cost. If players share the load and take turns punching the raccoon they'll never win by quests alone. Smart Vagabond players know this and play like fuzzy Rambo, taking shots at weakened clearings and making an early enemy so they can farm them for VPs. This is more stable point gen when supplemented with questing and brings the Vagabond in line with everyone else in terms of interaction.
TL;DR, the Vagabond solo thing goes away with more plays. Root's good, y'all.
I do think that a game with the Vagabond really needs him to actually get engaged with shooting and bashing people for VP... it's interesting to think that that really only happens with experienced players, so from my perspective he'd only be interesting if everyone is reasonably knowledgable at the table.
Weirdly, the woodland alliance has exploding sudden wins with new players but that one doesn't bother me much.