Root Log for Mar. 14, 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.

I wanted to try out this new Lizard Cult strategy. It worked better this time.

Game Setup

  • Factions
    • Me: Lizard Cult
    • Terra: Underground Duchy
    • Alex: Eyrie Dynasty
  • Map: Winter
  • Deck: Exiles and Partisans

Final State

  • Terra won!
  • This time she really had to work for it.
  • Before going Dominance I'd barely cracked 11 VP. I almost won!

General Thoughts

Winter map! The RNG of the clearing suits gave us three adjacent fox clearings (ugh) which Alex grabbed (UGH).

Terra did a great job again. I think we interfered with her stuff more often this time, but not nearly enough again. Letting her have buildings wherever makes it much, much harder to stop her... I mean, of course it does. But we didn't go after her enough. More on that later.

Alex played the birds again, and was more aggressive about going after Terra's stuff in the beginning. After that she played the avoidance game pretty well and he had fewer opportunities to messs with her.

I played... better, but not where I wanted to be with the lizards. I had a better starting hand, and the clearing suit RNG gave me two clearings matching my starting hand in that narrow spot in the winter map, kind of in the middle? That was great. Both those clearings have two building spots and I got four gardens up quicker than the last game. Not quick enough, but still.

My Faction Performance

Okay.

Still running the 2x2 strategy from Space Cats Peace Turtles.

I improved this game while still using the same strategy with some slack in a couple of places: I let myself build two gardens while only having six warriors in each clearing, I may have actually crafted at least one item (ugh). I branched out a bit into other clearings, but too late.

One thing I really like about this strategy is how much it dismisses acolytes. I think our play group focuses on acolytes too much as the fearsome thing about the Lizards, especially because too many acolytes means a quick sanctify of your building and now I rule the clearing.

I only did that a couple of times to prevent Terra's moles from kicking too much ass (good-bye, top-level Noble mole that generates VP per turn) and to interfere with Alex's decree (where you gonna recruit now?).

I don't think either of my "main" two clearings were attacked once. Terra said "too intimidating", because they were swarming with lizards. I felt better about my scoring production this game, but it still wasn't good enough against the moles and birds, who were in a dead heat to 20 most of the game.

And another thing: not sure how to stop another faction without losing my focus on my own point generation. Random recruits across the board to sow seeds for later? Actively look for opportunities to convert other warriors in other clearings to mess up the others?

I wonder if the Lizards would work better in a five person game. There's a reason their reach is 2, after all. Or, maybe I work better in a five person game. I dunno.

No one attacked my main clearings again this game... until I went Dominance! Even then it was my third, not nearly defended enough clearing, not my "main" two clearings I had throughout the early- and mid-game. I should use that more somehow.

I got close with Dominance, but Terra pulled it off. Two in a row with a new faction! Good stuff.

Next Time

I need to craft more. I want to write it on my hand for the next time we play.

I think I might have moved Lizards once. That probably should happen more.

How do the Lizards stop other factions who are racing to 20? It felt hard to score any single, decisive blow against the lead faction that was more than a stumbling block on their way to 20. Is that enough? I mean, too many stumbling blocks and they can't do it -- but the opportunity cost is my faction not recruiting or scoring or something, right? Is that worth it? If it costs the game, yes. But it's hard to look at a single incremental move and say "this is going to cost me the game" against the (more real, more immediate) "my garden isn't defended enough" threat.

I think this is Root's main moral lesson coming back to haunt me: don't focus on one achievement that you've picked, always keep a tactical head on your shoulders and be on the lookout for good opportunities. That's one of the reasons I like the Lizards in the first place, because they exemplify it!

I'm not done with the Lizards, not at all. I need to figure out this strategy's expansion story.