Root - First Gameplay with My Wife

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Gameplay

It's finally happened. I got to play my favorite game with Anna (my wife) using @trentellingsen's copy!

First, it's been forever since I've played #Root. My last play was around 9-10 months ago so I had to brush up on the rules leading up to our game time. And while Root can be a monster to explain to a group of 4-6, it's quite straightforward if you're just explaining it to one person.

Here's how it went:

  • Anna played as the Marquise (the Cats). I played as the Eyrie (the Birds) for the first time. I've played as the Marquise two times and as the Woodland Alliance two times in the past.
  • Anna's first comment looking at the game was, "this is cute!".
  • Good thing I was only explaining the game to Anna. I hadn't expected us to play at the time we did so I wasn't fully prepared to explain the game in the most methodical way. It wasn't too bad though haha.
  • It's helpful that I introduced Anna to heavier games since playing Catan during Thanksgiving (#Viticulture: Essential Edition and #The Voyages of Marco Polo). Root's mechanics are simple once you've played through a few turns so she picked that up relatively quickly. She's also gotten used to engine-building elements in games like Viticulture so it's always helpful to play games that build up on previous experiences. For those who haven't played Root yet, the Marquise faction is centered around engine-building elements.
  • Anna prioritized building sawmills first (which builds up the growth rate of resources/wood to build more structures), recruiters second (which builds up the growth rate of your army), and workshops last (which builds up your capability to craft for bonus actions or VP's). That's similar to the direction I took in my first play as the Cats because first time players aren't aware of the importance of crafting. The Cats typically only get three main actions to perform per turn so I've personally found that developing your workshops earlier tends to help drastically so that you can craft one of the cards that allow a bonus action.
  • The Eyrie is a "programming" faction, where you continue to build a tableau of cards that represent the actions you need to commit to in each turn (e.g. I will recruit 2 times in a rabbit clearing, move once into a fox clearing, move once to mouse clearing, battle two times in a fox clearing, and build once in a mouse clearing). Each turn, you need to add more cards to this tableau of actions and then execute them. So the Eyrie has the potential to execute way more actions compared to the Marquise, but it gets more and more difficult to guarantee executing each of those actions. And failure to do any one of them will result in a "turmoil" where you need to build up your tableau from scratch. I ended up making a mistake and went into turmoil on my own during my 7-8th turn or so and that gave Anna a good laugh xD
  • After around the 1.5 hour mark, we had to call the game earlier after our son woke up from his nap (we typically play at nighttime but we were playing during his nap because my wife wanted to play when she's not running low on battery!)
  • If the game had continued, I have no idea who would've won. My guess is that Anna would've won by a few VP's, but who knows! We'll have to wait till our next full game to see.
  • Oh boy, while Anna's biggest weakness in gaming is her forgetfulness (I constantly have to watch out for her to pick up her bonus VP's or resources in whatever games we play), she's a pretty quick learner when it comes to picking up on strategies. I have a feeling that the next game will be highly competitive.

Lastly, here are some final comments:

  • This is Anna's first asymmetric game and she was very impressed by the idea. She's been enjoying variable player powers in Marco Polo, and she likes that Root takes it to a whole another level by providing players with highly unique factions to try out and identify with based on their play style/personality. Hence, she currently places Root above Marco Polo.
  • She likes that there are many more factions to play with. Based on her personality, my guess is that her favorite faction in the base game will be the Marquise (mine is the Woodland Alliance).
  • Viticulture was the first to dethrone Catan as her favorite game. Looks like Root will likely become her new favorite after we get in our second game!
  • I pre-ordered Root! :D
  • Hmmm now I will have to look up the bots mentioned by @sdirrane so that we can try out adding in a bot for a 3p game in the future or try out a co-op against two bots (I wonder if it'll be worth purchasing #Root: The Clockwork Expansion?)

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4 months ago

This is very helpful.  I've been pondering trying to teach this game to Becky and maybe the kids as well.  It just feels like it could be hard to teach but this makes it sound easier.  Very nice!

Supporter4 months ago

My 7 year old plays with a bit of coaching.

Supporter9 months ago

Also, I'm hoping once my daughter wants to play more that I can wrangle my wife into a game as well.  I actually think she'd enjoy it since she's a big fan of negative player interaction in the two games she has ever played with me.

Supporter9 months ago

This is my plan to eventually get my wife involved also. 

Supporter9 months ago

I think it'll be a long process since we have 3 young ones still who can't really play, but maybe once the baby is a little older and can play other things on her own I can wrangle her in.

Supporter9 months ago

Remember how I said that if we ever have a BGA Con, we'll treat your wife like a VIP to get her excited about boardgaming? Even before a con happens, I'd love to be able to give BGA users' families/the spouses a way to experience why we like board games haha

Supporter9 months ago

Totally.  Can't wait for BGA Con.  Some of us will have to be VIP's.  We'll be BGA Rockstars.  Haha.

Supporter9 months ago

Oh yeah, and @Skurvy5 is a legend in the making. He'll either be loved or hated xD

Supporter9 months ago

Haha, jealousy can be ugly.  Maybe if he gets bored (pun intended) of any of his games or winnings he can donate some.  Or we can just make him play with the Lizard Cult every time at the Root table since they are the hardest to win with.

Supporter9 months ago

Hopefully not hated!

Supporter10 months ago

Great read as always.  Thanks for sharing.  And I'm glad she liked it enough that you did a pre-order.  That's awesome.  I didn't end up going for the Clockwork Expansion just because I wanted to save a bit.  Printing the player boards on Card Stock I felt made them strong enough to use when I used a bot.  The new PNP is a full 8.5 x 11 which made it easier to skip paying for the expansion.  While there may be some little things that are different (although I don't know if there are), you can still print the rules and the players boards and I think that'll be good for me.

Supporter9 months ago

Hahaha thanks, I was especially looking forward to reporting back and seeing your reply. A few months ago, as I started to understand Anna's preferences for games and how she wanted games with more interaction (plus her enjoyment with engine building), I had a suspicion that she might like Root. So I'm glad it worked out! Looks like my favorite game will finally get more than 4 players in a year.

I'm definitely going to look into the bots before I think about getting Clockwork. Does it seem viable to use just about any faction combinations? Do you think you'll try a co-op game with you and your daughter vs. two bots?

Supporter9 months ago

I'm not 100% sure but I think the PNP is pretty close if not the same as the current Clockwork Expansion.  You know, I hadn't even considered that with my daughter but that's a great idea.  In fact now that you say it I think I'll try that after one more play with her.  But I think I'd play a faction with her (like both of us as the WA) that way she can learn how the factions work with some coaching and we are still working towards winning the game.

Supporter9 months ago

I could imagine it being a cool way to bond with your daughter while working together to defeat the boss :D

Supporter9 months ago

While simultaneously secretly training her to be my most difficult enemy. Muahahah.

10 months ago

Dude you got it! It’s always a great feeling once you play a game and you know you want it. Glad you guys had a good time!

Supporter9 months ago

Thanks, board games in general has been a great addition in our relationship. We know how to have fun together besides just watching movies or going out for food now xD

9 months ago

Haha dude I totally get that. It’s a unique way to bond when we are trying to beat each other! Lol

10 months ago

That is awesome! I love reading a "wife success story", lol

Supporter9 months ago

Yesss, and it definitely helps that with each game I introduce, I've been getting a better and better feel for what sort of games she might like. I'm quite sure she'll like Architects of the West Kingdom (I'm eyeing on that one for our next potential "success" haha)

9 months ago

That's awesome! I'd love to get one of the games in this line. #Raiders of the North Sea seems to be a sensible place to start but I'm not sure which we would end up enjoying the most.

Supporter9 months ago

Are you mostly trying to decide between Raiders and Architects?

9 months ago

Well, dreaming between them, as I probably won't be getting another big game for a while, but yeah, it'd be between those two. I'm probably leaning towards Raiders at the moment, as on BGG, a higher percentage of voters recommended that at 2 players than they did for Architects.

Supporter10 months ago

Glad ya'll liked it. Hope the bots work for ya'll. 

Supporter9 months ago

I was looking forward to reporting back everyone. Thanks!

I hope it won't be too complicated to add the bot. And I'm sure you'll be interested in how the experience is too :)

Supporter9 months ago

I'm hoping to get the bots out again as soon as possible.  I think I have a decent grasp on how the Marquise work as bots based on watching Quakalope.  But I think I'll read through the PNP rule book as well.

Supporter9 months ago

Yes I am. 

Supporter10 months ago

This is amazing! I’m so happy you guys had fun. Root seems amazing and I wish I could get a copy too. 

Hopefully the next time you get the game out you’ll be able to finish!

Supporter9 months ago

Thanks! I had a feeling she might like it so I was glad it went well. I'm looking forward to getting our second game in.

I really hope adding a bot in the future will be seamless--I mean I still love it, but the experience is so much better when there are more than two players. That will also make it more viable to try out other factions too.

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