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Let's Talk About Root

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05 Jul 2019 10:04 #299257 by RobertB
Replied by RobertB on topic Let's Talk About Root
Played two four-player games of Root yesterday. In the first game I had Woodland Alliance, and evidently didn't know how to play it. Cat won that one. Since we're all relatively new, I'm not convinced he played building costs right at first, and got a big boost before we found out he was playing it wrong. Maybe the commissioner will vacate his victory and give it to Eyrie.

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.
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05 Jul 2019 10:54 #299263 by RobertB
Replied by RobertB on topic Let's Talk About Root
Last night was our first play with an expansion, and I got the Lizards. It actually turns a lot of strengths into weaknesses, and vice-versa. Get warriors killed so they turn into Acolytes. Turn Acolytes into Gardens, rinse and repeat. But hands that every other player would kill for were useless to me. I had more than one hand last night that was 4/5 birds, but Lizards hate birds, and can't use them except to turn warriors into Acolytes.

I do really like the game, though. I suck at it, but I like it.
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07 Jul 2019 01:28 #299326 by Shellhead
Replied by Shellhead on topic Let's Talk About Root
Finally played my second game of Root. First time, I played the birds. This time, I was the vagabond. I played the Ranger vagabond, and marched steadily towards victory by pursuing quest and building up to an alliance with the cats. Then I betrayed the cats and started building an alliance with the birds. The birds played a tight game, and only suffered one regime change before taking the xp win.
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20 Nov 2019 15:55 #304395 by quozl
Replied by quozl on topic Let's Talk About Root
Wait. Root has depth?

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20 Nov 2019 16:03 #304396 by Jackwraith
Replied by Jackwraith on topic Let's Talk About Root

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.
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20 Nov 2019 16:15 #304397 by Vysetron
Replied by Vysetron on topic Let's Talk About Root

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.
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20 Nov 2019 17:56 #304399 by Gary Sax
Replied by Gary Sax on topic Let's Talk About Root
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.

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20 Nov 2019 19:50 #304404 by Jackwraith
Replied by Jackwraith on topic Let's Talk About Root

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.

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20 Nov 2019 20:49 #304406 by hotseatgames
Replied by hotseatgames on topic Let's Talk About Root
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.

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.
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21 Nov 2019 00:22 #304409 by Disgustipater
Replied by Disgustipater on topic Let's Talk About Root

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.

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.

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21 Nov 2019 08:49 #304417 by charlest
Replied by charlest on topic Let's Talk About Root
While many people play Vagabond that way, you can totally go crazed Rambo vagabond early on. It's very enjoyable to pick a faction early or even early mid game and start picking off their warriors left and right for points.
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21 Nov 2019 09:19 #304418 by Vysetron
Replied by Vysetron on topic Let's Talk About Root
Vagabond in Root is unique, and not just because they only have one piece. It has The First Game Problem.

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.

HOWEVER.

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.
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21 Nov 2019 18:20 - 21 Nov 2019 19:10 #304433 by Gary Sax
Replied by Gary Sax on topic Let's Talk About Root
I've been vacillating back and forth after reading all of your good posts. Maybe I'm mistaking him being a boring faction for them not representing something *I* like in the game?

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.
Last edit: 21 Nov 2019 19:10 by Gary Sax.
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21 Nov 2019 20:27 #304436 by Jackwraith
Replied by Jackwraith on topic Let's Talk About Root
Well, just to throw in a contrast, I've seen games with the Vagabond where he didn't touch a soul but simply ran around swiping items that others crafted and fulfilling his quests until he got enough points to win. Those games are almost always with new(er) players who don't really understand what's going on and almost inevitably leaves them with a feeling that the Vagabond is both playing a separate game (even from the already disparate factions) and basically unbeatable if someone doesn't take time out of their own plan to slow him down.
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21 Nov 2019 21:08 #304438 by Gary Sax
Replied by Gary Sax on topic Let's Talk About Root
I just haven't played enough times (5 maybe) to know, so I defer to you. My first game had the tinker win but I think you are right, all the info we needed that the dumpster diver needed to be smacked down was there, I just couldn't read it.

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