Upcoming Root Expansion: "Militants" Will Complete Your 2 Player Experience

On a recent Designer Chat with Patrick and Cole, Leder Games shared more information on an upcoming expansion for Root that's currently set for Q1 2021 Kickstarter. The primary focus is to improve the 2 player gameplay experience.

Background

Root is one of my favorite games, but let's face it. It's not the ideal experience with 2 players. Unless you get your hands on the expansions like Root: The Riverfolk Expansion, Root: The Underworld Expansion, or Root: The Clockwork Expansion, you're missing out on several things that make Root great for me:

  • No "politicking", tabletalk, or tug of war - Root is an interactive game filled with moments of temporary alliances, betrayals, and a constant tug of war. These aspects are mostly all missing from a 2 player game
  • Exploring different factions - Highly asymmetric faction powers are available across different animal factions, but around half of them can't be used when it's at 2 player count
  • Simplicity - The core gameplay of Root is quite simple. The shared movement and combat rules are straightforward and the faction specific rules are clearly written on the player boards. The complexity mostly comes from learning the dynamic between the factions. While adding Root: The Clockwork Expansion will drastically improve the 2 player and solo experience, you need to run AI's that are more complex to run than the average AI's out there

Looks like the expansion will tackle at least the latter two of the issues I have.

Summary of Info from Patrick and Cole

The following is a quote from a user on BGG (@Hartwell) who summarized the news:

  • Everything is subject to change. Currently, the expansion focus is on improving the two player game. The two new factions are intended to police the board and each are expected to have 20 or more warrior meeples available. They will also have high "reach" scores to allow more faction combinations for small player counts.
  • One faction is the Turtles, which will have an ability to improve the infrastructure like adding roads. They will not simply "turtle" in place but that will be an element of what they do. Leder himself has been working on them for about a week, but has drawn elements and inspiration from unreleased factions he's worked on.
  • Leder contrasted the defensive turtles with the aggressive Rats, which will be lead by a charismatic "warlord" leader. Players select a leader at the beginning and they may use the Vagabond unique meeples and reuse the art. It was not clear and the faction is still being worked on.
  • Another expansion element is changing the set up, which Wehrle sees as an underappreciated priority. Advanced set up will add more to the game overall.
  • Wehrle is experimenting with mini NPC factions, which can not win (unlike the automatons) and have simple rules and players can work to influence them. He gave the example of an aggressive cat faction that has 2 rules - if it doesn't rule its clearing it attacks, if it does rule it moves and then attacks - and an influential player can choose where they attack.
  • I did not understand why, but the mini factions would have their own meeples but share a color and species with an existing faction. Perhaps I missed something here. Regardless, a 2 player game would use 3 mini factions, a 3-4 player game would use 2, and 5+ would use just 1.
  • Leder and Wehrle declared they they do not plan to create a "big box" storage for Root.
  • Leder said they are risky from a business perspective, and Wehrle said they become "tombs" for games and lower the odds they will be played.

In addition, there was a mention of a map that will cover more than the typical 12 clearings. This is for the purpose of accommodating higher player counts.

Final Thoughts

If you know me, you'll know I'm pumped for this! This expansion gives off the feel of having minions in a MOBA game, and it seems like a brilliant way to round out the 2 player experience. This may be the very first Kickstarter I'll back, folks. Cole seems to have my heart because I'm also considering backing the upcoming second edition of John Company.



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7 days ago

Oh man, this is so exciting. I didn't like #Root the first time I played but then I found a community that got me into it, and oh man is it so much fun once you learn it!

Supporter7 days ago

Glad it worked out in the end! How many plays have you gotten in so far? Do you have a favorite faction?

5 days ago

I have played about 10 times, mostly on TTS. Only physically 3 times. I really like the Woodland Alliance.

Supporter7 days ago

I have one buddy who I haven't been able to get to play it a 2nd time and I really wish he would.  We were all learning (and I didn't know it super well) the first time so it was really clunky.  But now that I know it like the back of my hand I wish he would try again.  I've been very lucky to have my main gaming group really like it and we've gotten in out the past three game nights.

Supporter7 days ago

Glad to see them working on something to make it more accessible to more types of players since it's such a strong game.  I'd be lying if I didn't say I was hoping that there would be some kind of campaign feature or something new besides just new factions.  Hopefully that'll still be in the works.  I'd love to see something that works similarly to how I've heard #Scythe: The Rise of Fenris works...

Also, if John Company looks like it's gonna blow me away I may be forced to consider breaking my 1 game purchase by backing both.  It seems unlikely that I wouldn't back a #Root expansion, but maybe...

Supporter7 days ago

Oh for sure, I would love to see a campaign of some sort. In regards to this, the app does offer some unique challenges. And if you zoom way out, it actually stops all mid animations except for when combat happens, and gives a pretty good visual of the board state in that fixed view. I really do like the sound of minion-like factions. Makes me think of LoL all over again!

I have a feeling John Company will sway me quite a bit. And that's saying a lot about how I think about Cole since I don't know a thing about that game.

7 days ago

Adding dummy players to solve the 2 player issue seems short sighted. There's already many ways to add an automated faction. Make it as simple as you want, but it's the same solution that's been there for since launch.

I'll keep my eye on it,but every KS I've done with Leder has had some sort if issue with the first version that required some band aid to make up for. I'll wait for the second printing.

Supporter7 days ago

Running bots is definitely outside of my preference. If it's much lower maintenance than the Clockwork ones (which aren't too bad and is great for mimicking real players), than I'd prefer doing that and having that added dynamic/interaction with the minions vs. trying something like 2p + Clockwork bots. As it is, I don't like the idea of having stand in players with the potential to win or lose, makes it feel awkward for me.

7 days ago

I'm sure it's not this simple, but in the age of COVID, if they have ideas for factions that are small, why not a 2 player themed expansion and make 4+ (for variety) factions that are used for a two player game only. Tune them for that player count. Then you can turn Root into this Swiss Army Game of:

  1. Good solo play with Clockwork
  2. Good at 2 players with the 2 Player Expansion
  3. Good at 3+ with the base game plus all current expansions

Or heck, just make it an "expandalone" like Villianous and Funkoverse has.

Supporter7 days ago

Yeah, I'm curious to see where this all goes. If it's super low maintenance, where it feels more like battling mobs from time to time for some benefits, I'm sold. I agree with you on that Swiss Army potential hahaha, that would be awesome if they can reach that point.

I keep thinking about minions in LoL, where it'll give you money/resources/buffs by killing them.

7 days ago

Ok, this is cool! I like but don't yet love Root, but I have a couple of friends who both own it and would definitely be interested in this!

Supporter7 days ago

I may be interested in this. I am anxious to see what it looks like.

New User39 hours ago

I just recently got the #Root: The Underworld Expansion, still figuring it out and trying to get it to the table. But an expansion to make 2 players better, count me in! I love #Root and anything that gets me to play more is welcome.

7 days ago

The potential flexibility that they are hoping to create here sounds fantastic. I love Root and mostly play it at 3 or 4 players but I have always wished that 2 was a little more interesting and that 5+ players was feasible. This could solve both of those problems. 

This will be an instant back for me as I love ROOT and most everything that Leder Games has been doing. I'm not a huge fan of Kickstarter, but this is one of the rare times that I am okay with it. 

7 days ago

Isn't 5+ feasible with any of the other expansions? Or are those only meant to swap in for base factions, and you're still limited to 4 players?

6 days ago

As philryuh said, 5+ players is doable now, but it can get wonky with downtime and power balance. 

Supporter7 days ago

What I've heard of before is that while 6 player is possible using the expansions, it's not ideal for those who don't like long downtimes. The new expansion will be trying to solve that issue as well.

6 days ago

Ah that makes sense. There definitely can be a fair amount of downtime in Root. I've only played at 4 but I can see how that would be an issue.

Linked Games
Root: The Clockwork Expansion
Root: The Riverfolk Expansion
Root
Root: The Underworld Expansion
Linked Topic