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Root: Battle Report


Last night I got in a 3P game of #Root for the first time in a while.  It was basically a teaching game (one guy had played it once a long time ago).

The faction break down was Marquise, Duchy, and Riverfolk (my faction).

Now that I'm so familiar with the game, teaching is a breeze.

The biggest challenge in the game was that because we play a lot of Imperial Assault and I'm the Empire there was a natural distrust of me and a strong feeling (at first) that they had to work against me.  This also hurt me as the Riverfolk faction as people didn't buy enough of my goods (at first).

Once we got into the game though it moved steadily along with each faction playing leap frog on their turn with the VP tracker.  One thing that was hard for my game is neither the Duchy or the Marquise would go after each other (which had consequences as we got toward the end of the game).  They also had trouble making temporary alliances with me because of other gaming experience (although I do think it'll be different on future plays).

We got to a point where the Marquise saw they had a chance to win with a Fox dominance card and went for it (this was because there weren't enough battles early on in the game).  This was the first time I've played with a dominance card in play and I did not really love it.  Although, it did create a good story for after the game (which unfortunately we ran out of time to finish, but I think the Marquise would have one in another 2 - 3 rounds on dominance).  

I didn't love Dominance because it made stopping the Marquie the only goal in the game.  While it created an alliance between me and the Duchy, it also meant we couldn't use any of our turns to score any points so we were basically stuck.  This had another major negative impact on my Riverfolk gameplay because I had to take a lot of actions that caused me to spend funds instead of commiting them, which meant I couldn't keep my coffers full of money to spend on my next turn.  So basically it turned into, spend to put warriors on the board, commit to move, commit to battle, repeat next turn.

I think in the future I'd consider only using Dominance cards in 4+P games, but we will see.  I also didn't think of looking at the map from a Dominance standpoint so maybe I'll just make sure we work against potential Dominance even before it gets played.

Can't wait to get it out again.

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3 months ago

"I didn't love Dominance because it made stopping the Marquie the only goal in the game.  While it created an alliance between me and the Duchy, it also meant we couldn't use any of our turns to score any points so we were basically stuck."

How do you feel this scenario differs from other games of Root? In my four plays of the game, which is not a significant level of experience due to this game's depth, I have always found that there comes a point in the game where a portion of my turn, or all of my turn, is focused on stopping another player while attempting to score points for myself. The game seems to exist in this delicate balance.

Supporter3 months ago

So for sure, one of the things I love about the game is the balance of trying to do both.  However, the way last nights game played out, it swung the balance to only being able to focus on the Marquise.

Basically, the Marquise had three fox locations (2 with 5+ warriors) and the third contested location that he could generally shore up with 5 - 6 warriors.  In addition he had recruiting stations in 2 non fox clearnings.  So each round I had to try to wipe out the Marquise and then the Duchy would do the same (but that would basically take all of our actions) for various reasons.  Then it came to the Marquise turn and he would just recruits and move to keep all fox clearings at 5 - 6 warriors, repeating the process.

The Marquise had no reason to purchase services from me and the Duchy had a lot of warriors on the board to keep attaking the Marquise each turn which meant they didn't have many funds.  So I basically was too poor to do anything besides spend funds to put warriors on the board and then attack the Marquise.  Then I had to repeat the process each turn and never had funds spend on building outposts or crafting cards because I needed everything to go after the Marquise.

In a normal game where there is no dominance I may need to use half of my actions to make a military move or threat of a military move and then I could use my other actions to work toward scoring points.  In the scenario last night all actions had to be military actions all the time.  No building, no selling, no crafting.  And, there were always so many Marquise that there weren't enough attacks to really take out buildings to score points.

3 months ago

Ah, I see. The balance was definitely thrown off there.

That said, from my time playing and watching gameplay online, it seems dominance victories are incredibly difficult to pull off. The position your friend was able to work the Marquise into is actually quite impressive. I would personally always keep them in the game as a way to add tension and the ability to attempt a hail mary win for someone lagging behind on the VP track.

Supporter3 months ago

Oh for sure.  In hindsight my Battle Report actually shows what I love so much about the game.  We essentially had a World War I (fighting over 3 miles of land) back and forth situation.

I love that #Root always has a story to tell.  It doesn't have to be my favorite story, but there is a story and it's what makes it so compelling.  I will defnitely keep Dominance in mind in the future.

3 months ago

That's how I feel about #Dune, so you're in for a treat. I remember the basic arc of every game I've played so far, because the story it weaves feels so rich.

Supporter3 months ago

Yeah.  I'm really excited.  Plus having such a strong connection to the IP is going to make the story really good on each play I'm sure.

3 months ago

Dang, sounds like it wasn't the best game you've played. I've played Root 3 times now and not once have I even thought about the Dominance cards, haha. Maybe next time I'll have to read up on those beforehand so I'm prepared in case someone goes for it...maybe it will be me

Supporter3 months ago

It wasn't the best, but it wasn't the worst.  For a teaching game it went pretty well.  I just don't know if I love the Dominance card because then the game just ends up turning into fighting over one spot and you can't really strategize outside of, stop the faction from winning with Dominance.

I do know that there are some people who always play without Dominance cards.

3 months ago

So far in my games it seems like we're playing with that, just unofficially. I don't know if anyone has ever really looked at the Dominance cards, haha.

Supporter3 months ago

Yeah.  I think the biggest problem that made that a viable option is the lack of aggression in the first few rounds between both the Marquise and Duchy.  This allowed them to amass a huge army, and the Marquise was able to spread that huge army out.

There was a point early in the game that the Marquise had one warrior in a clearing with two buildings and I was trying to signal to the Duchy to tunnel over there and blow it all up but they didn't want to.  They wanted to try and turtle into three clearings.

I probably should have picked a faction with more military options than the Riverfolk to balance out any possibilties of lower combat between the two newbies.

3 months ago

I can see that. I was definitely combat-averse the first time I played.

Supporter3 months ago

Yeah, you gotta be able to take risks to win.  I think a lot of people are.  I'm never combat averse, which I'm sure isn't too surprising.

I'm hoping the fact that this game went well means after everyone reads Dune and we see the movie we might be able to get that out.

3 months ago

That would be great! So I take it this is the same group that would be playing Dune. Combat aversion not necessarily a bad thing in that game, but you do need to take calculated risks and move in if you see an opportunity.

Supporter3 months ago

I've found at least in the first third of peoples first game of #Root there can be a bit of combat aversion... I'm feeling like the next time through people will be more willing to combat.  The thing is, we do tend to see a decent amount of combat in #Scythe so I'm hoping that it won't take long to get into more combat in #Dune and Root the next time we play.

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