Game Night: Root

We already have a nice review of Root, but it is important to note that Cally and I only played it in two-player mode before.  In order to experience the Woodland Alliance and the Vagabond, you have to have four players!

This game night occurred at my Father’s house and I was able to get in a 4-person game of Root with me, Dad, one of my sisters, and my brother-in-law.

Root set up with bowls of Angie’s BoomChickaPop!

Game Night: Root

What is Root?

For those who don’t know about Root, it is a fun woodland battle game with asymmetric characters.  In fact, they don’t just play differently.  They each move, craft, attack, and earn victory points differently!

The game is highly rated on Boardgamegeek.com with an overall rank of 30! (Out of ALL Board Games!) In the war category, they are currently number 12.  The game is rated at 3.8/5 for complexity, which tells you that there is little luck involved.

What was different about this session of Root?

It was the first game of Root for my family and probably the fourth for me.  The base game comes with a two-round setup and walkthrough, so we used that to get familiar with the characters.  I only knew the Marquise de Cat and the Eyrie, so it was helpful for me also to learn how to play the Woodland Alliance and the Vagabond.

Each character has different motivations and those are described on the back of their character boards.  Even though technically, each faction is battling for dominance of the woodland, they do it in different ways.  

  • Cats – build structures to dominate through industry!
  • Birds – build roosts to dominate through control of the forest from the air.
  • Woodland creatures – build sympathy among the other factions.
  • Vagabond – courts favor with other factions and forms alliances.
My Eyrie with a 10-part Decree

What is my Opinion about the Four Basic Characters in Root?

I played the Eyrie and really enjoyed the mechanic of having to fulfill the “Decree” to determine recruitment, movement, battle and building.  

The Marquise de Cat is fun because you start everywhere and the tactic is simple, build everywhere and dominate battles to prevent the spread of the other factions.  

The two “new” ones (for me) also have their charm.  I saw how my sister was able to lurk in points way behind the Birds and Cats, then jump up to a tie at the last minute with a tsunami of sympathy and lots of supporter cards, thanks to the Vagabond.

Which brings me to the Vagabond!  I would really like to try that raccoon next time.  He is a faction by himself; no armies.  He can fight, but doesn’t die.  He can even out the battlefield or pick winners and losers.  The Vagabond also is the only one who can use all of the items that are crafted.  Forming alliances can be his path to victory and the mechanic of tying your fate to another player is interesting, since it makes the game partially cooperative in that instance!

Raccoon meddling with a conflict between the Woodland Alliance and the Marquise de Cat

Which one is better?

I think I still prefer the Eyrie.  I don’t think one faction is better than the others for winning.  On the second-to-last turn, we were all at 29 points (30 equals instant victory).  I was next to play with the Eyrie and it was too late to prevent me from getting at least one victory point, even though I lost points to turmoil when I couldn’t fulfill my last Decree.

It’s a good idea to try them all! 

Share your thoughts in the comments below!

  1. Have you ever played Root?
  2. What is your favorite faction to play?
  3. Have you played any of the expansions?

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