[Root] - The Forests of Dunshire. Digital Edition on Steam and Mobile

CantidoCantido Registered User regular
edited October 2020 in Critical Failures

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)

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  • HydroSqueegeeHydroSqueegee ULTRACAT!!!™®© Registered User regular
    so i picked this up because i missed the first kickstarter and couldnt bring myself to pledge for the second without having at least played it first. Man oh man has this really cured my want of the physical copy. Glad i spent $16 to find out it would never hit the table instead of a lot more.

  • CantidoCantido Registered User regular
    so i picked this up because i missed the first kickstarter and couldnt bring myself to pledge for the second without having at least played it first. Man oh man has this really cured my want of the physical copy. Glad i spent $16 to find out it would never hit the table instead of a lot more.

    Are you me from another dimension? I really regret Kickstarting Root. I mean I'm proud to have done it; its brilliant. But I would never get it to a table. I could in Washington DC. But where I'm at now? Ugh...

    3DS Friendcode 5413-1311-3767
  • StericaSterica Yes Registered User, Moderator mod

    Cats: Build workshops on rabbit clearings first as Rabbit cards give extra actions which are a godsend when playing a faction with so limited actions per turn. Get two Recruiters ASAP, as it increases your draw which means more birds and actions while also strengthening your holdings. Lumber destroyed nets points, so keep your mills safe. Be very, very careful when crafting items, lest the Vagabond hang you with the rope you sold him. Cats tend to win via domination, so try to plan around three clearings of a suit to prepare for the domination pivot when the card hits the table.

    Birds: You almost always want two orders added per turn. This minimizes points lost from turmoil (fewer birds) and gives you more actions which is always better. Recruit and Move are reliable orders to dump orders into, whereas you want to restrict your bird orders for battle and nest makin’. You want to keep these orders low anyways, especially nests which should always be one. The best starting leaders are the extra hit in battle or recruit two guy, but be extra aggressive with the latter or you’ll turmoil from too many soldiers. Pivot into the crafting one after you eventually turmoil to craft to victory. You WILL turmoil once per game. If not, your opponents are letting you run away with it.

    Alliance: You have a very high incentive to ally with the Vagabond, and he’s less harmful to you with your smaller military presence. However, make sure they’re not benefitting more from you out of it. Try to place your tokens in high-traffic areas to ensure outrage cards; even if your tokens are hunted down, the supporter intake will ensure something will eventually stick. The birds are a solid way to ensure this since you can better predict their movements and lay traps for them. Avoid high warrior areas in the early game, as it is too expensive supporter-wise, and a savvy player is not going to allow 3+ troops to die. Except maybe the cats. Use your limited troops defensively as possible, as losing bases hurts.

    Vagabond: Going to vary on your class, but if you wanna be a peaceful dork then seek out coins for more cards for more trading. Hunt down swords and especially crossbows if you wanna be a war dork. It is not uncommon to spend the early game trading with the Alliance for easy points and then pivot into a lategame win by hunting cats or birds. Just be try to avoid going hostile with cats early, as it hurts your movement a ton since they’re everywhere in the early game. Questing is nice for cards, but not a super viable point path until expansion classes are added.

    CantidoRhesus PositiveElvenshae
  • MrBodyMrBody Registered User regular
    Dear AI: please stop willy nilly crafting useful cards for the Vagabond.

  • BizazedoBizazedo Registered User regular
    A friend tried to play this with us (board game version). He absolutely adored it.

    The rest of us....maybe we didn't learn it properly, but it felt like after a far earlier point than we expected, that the outcome of the game was a foregone conclusion.

    XBL: Bizazedo
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  • MrBodyMrBody Registered User regular
    It feels like a foregone conclusion if one player is more experienced. To us, it felt like everyone just inched to one turn away from hitting 30, then the winner is just who was randomly smacked the least during that round because there's too many variables and flux to determine who needs to be smacked the most.

  • StericaSterica Yes Registered User, Moderator mod
    Different factions score at different speeds.

    Cats: Score fast at first, but tend to slow down as they lose their grip on the forest along with buildings. This is why domination is a common strategy for cats.

    Birds: Very consistent scoring, as they score based off the number of nests and they can only score 1 point per craft. See a lot nests? Or a pivot to the Trader leader? Time to go bird hunting.

    Woodland Alliance: Slow start, then explosive finish. You need to be managing them throughout the game, or they will go off and score like 10+ in a round.

    Vagabond: Depends on their strategy, but usually explosive. You need to be roughing up the vagabond every so often in order to waste their turns on repairs. If you put them in a situation where they have to go hostile, it can really screw up their plans by inhibiting movement (if you are a military faction like cats/birds/moles).

    Root is a game about balancing your own progress with inhibiting your opponents’. Getting other players to do this for you is all the better, but sometimes you need to dedicate a turn to oppressing the bunnies or slapping a raccoon.

  • Albino BunnyAlbino Bunny Jackie Registered User regular
    Root works first as a novelty and then as a careful balancing act shared between friends.

    I have to imagine that it would work far less well when one person is good enough to play the latter and everyone else is still enjoying the former.

  • CantidoCantido Registered User regular
    edited October 2020
    My friends are willing to play this. It looked cute to them (they all have cats) and one of them really hates Small World, so this might be a better alternative. I offered to help them through the tutorials. I might get to play it this weekend.

    Cantido on
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  • MrBodyMrBody Registered User regular
    Small World and Root are in the same boat as games where the visual presentation suggests a game that is the polar opposite of the actual game.

  • 38thDoe38thDoe lets never be stupid again wait lets always be stupid foreverRegistered User regular
    I guess it depends on why they hate small world.

  • GrifterGrifter BermudaModerator mod
    My game group played this for the first time on Steam last night and it was a good success. Everyone had fun and the Woodland Alliance won the game. It was a close match at the end with the end scores being 31, 28, 28, 21. I'm hoping that the expansion factions are added next year sometime.

  • DarkewolfeDarkewolfe Registered User regular
    edited November 2020
    We've gotten the physical game to the table a couple times and I agree with MrBody and Albino Bunny. The game LOOKS like a good game night game for whoever is around, but it actually asks that you have skill parity across players or else it's going to collapse. It'd be a good game for a competitive group that focused on it, maybe, but it doesn't offer enough randomization balance for a casual group where there are skill gaps.

    Honestly, though, co-op games have pretty much entirely consumed my family's casual play space for that reason.

    Darkewolfe on
    What is this I don't even.
  • MrBodyMrBody Registered User regular
    I've only played solo vs bots or against people who already knew the game inside or out (which was not fun at all). I can't imagine what an utter nightmare it would be to teach a group of new people, and constantly pointing out the 47 unique faction rules they're getting wrong. SU&SD put it best as "constantly picking players off the game's legal scaffolding".

    I'm not sure I'd call it a more casual alternative to COIN games, since the people who would stick through Root long enough to master the mechanics and interplay would also likely have the patience to just strap in and learn a COIN game.

  • PMAversPMAvers Registered User regular
    Huh, neat. The Clockwork Expansion's coming to Digital next week.

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  • MrBodyMrBody Registered User regular
    Do asynchronous games just not show the final turn? I checked in to an online game I was playing and it just went straight to the victory score screen and I didn't see any option to view the final round of turns.

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