Root Log for Feb. 27, 2021. Second game.

Overview

I am trying to document our Root games in a more regular, nerdy fashion so I can tighten up my thinking around the game itself and fine-tune my own strategies in general. We try to play at least once a week.

Root is my favorite board game in the world at the moment. It is hideously complex, and I've played more incorrect games than I have correct games, but we're getting there.

Game Setup

  • Factions
    • Me: Woodland Alliance
    • Terra: Vagabond
    • Alex: Underground Duchy
    • Gabe: Corvid Conspiracy
  • Map: Starter
  • Deck: Normal

Final State

  • Woodland won with 30 VP.
  • Duchy went Bunny Dominance.
  • The others were in the low 20s? It was late and I forgot to write things down during the game.

General Thoughts

Eyrie at one corner, Duchy at the other. In the early game, Corvids grouped kinda near the Duchy, Woodland grouped kinda near the Eyrie.

Gabe's first try with the Corvids and he did well. We did an okay job smooshing his conspiracies, but his point total continued to increase throughout the game.

Terra killed it in early- and mid-games, the almost-unstoppable juggernaut that we barely managed to stop at around somewhere around 24-26 VP. Her growth was driven by her choice of leader (extra point when removing tokens) and my insistence on being ground under her advance as the Woodland.

At one point, Terra was one turn away from winning the game. She had a fox recruit in her decree, so killing her three (three!) fox roosts in a single turn kept us from getting completely killed. I killed a single warrior, leaving one roost undefended. Alex killed one roost. Gabe killed two, continuing the theme of Gabe saving our butts. That made her lose something like six points in turmoil and arrested her momentum.

Alex went Bunny Dominance. Gabe and Terra worked really well to stop that from happening. I had a bunny base out at this point but didn't have enough officers to recruit to maintain rule there.

The Woodland Alliance (me!) won at the end with an 11 VP gain through sympathy spread via supporters and Evening moves and organizes.

My Faction Performance

I love the Woodland Alliance so much. It was nice to return to them and play what I felt was a pretty good game.

I had a slowdown right around when Terra was rushing toward victory. I knew I needed to stop granting her those 2 VP snacks on my sympathy, but couldn't spread away from her forces fast enough. When the effort came to stop her completely, I had a bunny base with three officers in the officers box. That let me do a move, a move, then an attack to remove a warrior and leave one fox roost defenseless. Gabe's Corvid came and cleaned that up, sending her into turmoil on her turn during recruit.

At one point I had no sympathy on the board but a good supporters deck, something like two birds, two bunnies, and a couple of mice and/or foxes (can't remember). This was right around when Alex's Duchy was trying for bunny dominance.

That let me put an initial sympathy in a different bunny clearing than my bunny base, spread out along the Eyrie's path to stop Alex's dominance run, and generate more supporters draw.

The outrage drained Alex's bunny cards through Duchy movement, which was my contribution to stopping the Duchy win.

Toward the end, I used Terra and Gabe's efforts to stop Alex's bunny dominance from ending the game to generate lots of supporters draw through outrage. The last 11 point push was (again) a pretty good supporters deck with around eight cards in it, and a final move and organize to put me over the top.

I took too long to realize that Terra's Eyrie was pushing quickly toward the win on the back of removing my sympathy, even as I was in the second place for a long period in the early game because of the repeated sympathy placement. It almost cost the game.

I think I re-organized well in the mid-game to recover from the total sympathy loss to get the win.

I'm starting to think that nearly every faction in Root benefits or should plan on a cull in the mid-game to herald the start of end-game: Eyrie turmoils, Duchy swayed noble losses, Woodland Alliance sympathy and base losses, Marquise infrastructure stomping... It's going to happen, don't be afraid of it, just plan around it when it's looking likely.

Conclusions

I wasn't watching the other players enough. I didn't learn much about how Alex plays the Duchy or how Gabe plays the Corvids because I was so wrapped up in watching what Terra was doing with the Eyrie.

In Alex's words, the Duchy might be out of his league. I know what he means. The last time I played them I played them like Marquise 2.0, which does them a disservice. I think he had some warrior overcommitment and lost his bunny cards from his hand, so no advantageous digging during dominance. That, plus some noble loss cost him his action economy late game.

I didn't get to see what Gabe was doing, which stinks because he was keeping pace with everyone -- on his first time with the faction, no less. So... drat.

I started closer to Terra and Gabe started closer to Alex, if those two space-warping factions could be said to be "close" to anyone. At the end of the game I had this idea that Gabe was more successful stopping Terra, while I was more successful stopping Alex. I don't think this is true now, after sleeping on it. I don't think I did much to the Duchy other than drain bunny cards -- it helped, sure, but wasn't a head-to-head confrontation. Which is the Woodland's style, in my experience, so, maybe, win? Hmm.

Next Time

Might be time to revisit the Cats so I can make them really distinct in my mind from the Moles. Could be time to try the Partisans deck. I could take another run at the Moles; if I do that, I need to emphasize their spatial weirdness instead of playing them like Cats++.