Root is an 60-90 minute asymmetrical wargame from Leder Games where adorable factions of critters battle to conquer the forest. It is a bitch
to learn and teach in real life, because each faction is very
asymmetrical. Each faction plays differently, from how they make decisions, to how they score points. But once that hurdle is cleared, players found it to be a hit.
And Dire Wolf Digital just cleared that hurdle via their digital edtion, released on Early Access.
The four original factions are the only ones available at this time.
- Marquis de Cat (orange felines)- The current rulers of the forest, they are playing a classic Euro/Wargame Hybrid. The best 4x anology is that they play dangerously wide. They start off with one unit in almost every clearing. They gain points by spreading out and creating buildings. These buildings recruit units, grow their economy, and craft items for points. These items are either tools they can use, or that can be sold to the Vagabond, as they are trade friendly. Their glaring weakness is being stretched thin by nature. Creating doomstacks is time consuming.
- The Eryie Dynasties (blue birds) - The old rulers, they are playing a tall 4X / Programming game, because of their crippling bureaucracy. Their singular building type, the Roost, is their point factory, and they must build as many as they can. They "program" their moves on their turn, laying cards on a track and must obey the resulting command pattern (called the Decree) to the letter or lose points. Unlike the cats, they can easily make doomstacks, but that doesn't mean they cannot move them willy nilly, because of their rigid programming. If they bust their decree, it shatters, they lose points, the player chooses a replacement leader (one of four) and they must rebuild their Decree from scratch. Note: If you see the AI doing something "dumb" its probably because they'd rather do that dumb thing than take the Turmoil penalty.
- The Woodland Alliance (green foxes and mice) - The guerillas. They can only have three bases, one for each different suit available on the cards and board. They gain points by spreading Sympathy, represented by protesters on the board. These protestors, when paid enough cards, evolve into a Revolt that destroys all other units and buildings in the area, being replaced with one of their three bases. Their decisions are complex. They have a tiny army building capacity but they always get the higher die roll in combat. They can divide their unit reserve between Warriors and Officers. Their Officers let them make moves at night. Why the tiny army? Because they are highly sympathetic! Other armies pay them in cards just to stand in the same spot as them (its called the Outrage penalty.) And these cards are used to turn around and spread more Sympathy and Revolts.
- The Vagabond (variable) - A lone mercenary playing all sides, they are based on a game called Mage Knight. There are many/i] to choose from, but for now, only the Thief, Tinker and Ranger are available. They have their own automatic allegiance system. They gather items by finding them on the board, trading for them with other players, or crafting them themselves. They gain points by committing feats that help other players or spending cards completing quests. They must find and trade for items that upgrade their ability to make moves at night.
For all the players who like Root, or want to learn Root but could not get it to the table on Fancy Game Night, this one is creating a lot of smiling faces.
As you are playing the tutorial, a few things you should know about to make your learning experience easier.
There are four suits: Fox, Rabbit, Mouse, and Bird (the "wild" suit.) If you look on the board, the clearings match these spaces. Players will often have to have the right card to take actions on those spaces.
If a card has no words on it, that's because its loot you can trade to Vagabond players if you craft it.
EDIT - Need strategies for the newcomers please (and because the AI is kicking my ass)