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.
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.
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.