Root By Leder Games
‘In Root, two to four intrepid players attempts to rule a fantastic forest kingdom in the ultimate asymmetric game of adventure and war’
Have to be honest, we received this game to review and whilst it looks beautiful, I read the rules and was thrown by the sheer amount of rules it seemed to have and to be honest it did put me off. I put it on the shelf to come back to it when I had more time to understand what was going on. Then I got to thinking, there must be something about this game as people rave about it - what was I missing? I decided to watch a walkthrough of the game and it seemed so straight forward, it was clearly obvious I was over complicating it. So I sat down, set it up and decided to give it a go. First of all, I’m not sure why I ever thought it was complicated now, as after set up I realised a great deal of the instructions for each faction are on the player card - it literally tells you what you need to do on each turn. Sure you might need to clarify what happens at certain points but it pretty much tells you and I feel a little a bit foolish now for thinking that it was ever as complicated as I told myself it was. Having played this game a few times now, I have to say I absolutely see why people rave about it. It has so much going for it (except maybe the instruction manual - or perhaps that’s just me), and it is such a beautiful game. Now from the get go, I have to admit I’ve only played it two player and I am eager to get the clockwork expansion so we can explore some more of the factions in a two player game as for a two player game the factions that work together are limited but this did not put us off. This is one of those games, where you learn as you play. The first game is pretty much a fact finding mission to explore what your faction does and how it relates to the other factions much like other war games. The first game, I think, will always be a learning curve and not a fair assessment of the game. We learnt so much in our first game about strategy and ways to prevent the other team from scoring but without playing through we would not have learnt the intricacies of our strengths and weaknesses. In subsequent games, you are armed with much more information that you can use to your advantage for a better experience during game play.
Gameplay: You are a faction of forest animals trying to show who is in charge in the woodland. Taking turns, you run through a sequence of actions (specific to your faction) which enable you to show your ‘might and right’ to be in certain clearings. Ultimately you are aiming to reach 30 points before the other team to be declared the winner and the mightiest woodland faction. Those points are awarded for various actions again specific to factions.
N.B Im always wary of games that pitch teams against each other because there is the chance that one will be stronger than the other and then the person lucky enough to play as that character almost certainly then always wins and it’s just no fun. However it seems to me that in Root, the factions are fairly equal in strength and weaknesses and because there are a number of ways of scoring points there isn’t one faction which is more suited to winning than others. It’s well balanced. I will say I haven’t played as all the factions but from what I’ve seen this certainly seems to be the case.
Components: Booklets - walkthrough, learning
to play, and the Law book
For a beginner, there is a lot to read and it can be overwhelming. The walkthrough book helps but I think watching a play though online is probably the easiest way I found to pick up the gist. Having now played a few games, I would go back to the rules and check certain things but can be overwhelming in my opinion in the beginning
Cardboard pieces - buildings, tokens, clearing markers, victory point markers, relationship markers, items Wooden pieces - warriors The wooden pieces feel nice to move around the board and I think he’s good that they distinguish between the cardboard tokens and wooden warrior tokens especially as some factions score victory points or additional actions for removing the cardboard tokens from the board. The wooden warrior meeples are so cute and it adds to you being immersed in the theme of the game. Cards and boards - shared and for factions Lovely artwork and really good quality. Very clear straight forward and easy to follow.
Overall thoughts: This game is a slow burn but it’s worth putting in the time to get to know it as it’s such a great game when you get into it. For two players, I definitely think that having the clockwork expansion will add more to your gameplay - although I haven’t actually tried it yet so I should say I can’t say this from my own experience but I have seen people play with the robotic factions and it looks fab! It’s going to be one of those games that you have to introduce your gaming friends to and then play again in short succession - your probably also want everyone to have a chance at playing as each faction. This initial games is suitable for 2-4 players and is a great starter game - watch out though because you probably will quite soon be wanting more. I look forward to adding to this review when I get the expansion and letting you know how it plays out. I’d love to know your thoughts on this beautiful game!
For a brilliant Walk through and introduction to root this video from Monique and Naveen (before you play) I found so valuable as a new player and is a great watch
And thank you Leder Games for kindly sending me this copy of Root for review.