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Subject: How to win with the Marquis? rss

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Jonas Egel
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Solingen
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Hi,

we played the latest (april) version of the pnp about ten times in a group of 4-5 player.
We love the game and had a lot of fun, but the latest games felt like the factions where not so well balanced at all.
Vagabond, Lizard and Eyrie worked very well (although the Eyrie seem to lose if they have the wrong handcards at the beginning).
We couldnt pull anything good off with the riverfolk since they get hardly any support in our round from other player.
The Woodlands won every game when they were chosen and they seem way over the top with their very easy way to get victorypoints.
Most problematic in our eyes seems the Marquis. We tested him every game and he is doing very bad no matter who of us tries. Vicotorypoints are to hard to get, Crafting is to hard to do and with his very limited actions every turn he is mostly to busy using his actions to prevent revolts to do anything proactive himselph.
Until we dont see a way to play the cats completely different no one of us does want to play them anymore. Maybe they could be balanced better if they could use their "battle"-action to fight as often as they please instead of once (or at least in any clearings or multipletimes in one clearing). 3 actions per turn seem to be to few.
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Cole Wehrle
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For a game as interactive as Root, a perfect balance between the factions is mostly a fool's errand. The key is to even give the more dominant factions consistently interesting choices and make sure that all the factions have viable paths to victory. But, so much more depends on the decisions that the players make.

The key thing is that it usually does not make sense to damage a struggling player. The Alliance can often mess this up by using their revolts in ways that don't create distance between the itself and its rivals.

Still, the Marquise has been strong on our end, with a solid card economy that can allow for crafting/replenishing troops/bonus actions. The placement of their workshops is critical.(I'm a big fan of Rabbit/Rabbit/Fox for the first three, but there are advantages to other approaches depending on your opening hand).

When dealing with the Alliance, containment is usually a better strategy than aggression. When the bases do pop up, swat them down and make sure you can kill them all the way in a single turn!. But, a lot of players don't realize that unless you are breaking the Alliance down to their +1 Sympathy tokens, they are better left undisturbed until they get to those higher values on the right side of their chart. Having 3 warriors in border clearings is critical to dragging them down. In games with experienced players, it's common to see the Alliance explode early and then get beat into a pulp. For a long time playtesters regarded them as the weakest faction in the game.

In terms of my internal numbers, current Eyrie is probably the lowest performing. The balance levels out as players get more play experience, but the Eyrie is probably the easiest to cripple. Until they get sizeable numbers, their Roosts are easy targets and they are dangerously card poor. In games with the Vagabond, he'll often start by trading with the Eyrie, but a good Cat player should reward this behavior by slapping that Vagabond and attempting to force a hostile shift in the early part of the game to punish him.


Anyway, I'll leave the particulars of good Marquise play to the others. They are one of my favorite factions to play, mostly because I find that, despite their simplicity, they are incredibly demanding. It's hard being the forest policewoman!
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Jonas Egel
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Ok first thanks for your elaborate response.

Of course we allways try to keep in mind that it is never good to fight just one player only because you can or when hes already struggling.
But in case of Woodland against Marquis it seems just so easy to use that "move+organize"-operation to get the revolt-thread in clearing full of orange pieces to ensure that the Marquis will waste one of his 3 moves per turn to atack this token. And (if we got that right) having 3 or more warriors there does not help to prevent this way of spreading sympatethy. whistle

I can beleave that the Eyrie are the faction the easiest to cripple. But (as explained) for Woodlands it seems to be way to easy to cripple Marquis as well. ninja

The Woodlands on the other hand are very hard to hinder getting their victorypoints on the fly. Even if you avoid playing into their hands like you discribed.
You said that WA used to be regarded as the weakest faction?! We didnt play root back in the days of older pnp but didnt the design of the WA change a lot in the pnp-version in march/april? Maybe people are still playing the older versions of WA and falsify the balance-feedback.

In the boardgame i am devoloping for example, i often tend to make the mistake to overpower options/actions wich used to be underpowered in older versions...
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Matt Foshee
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Hi Cole (anyone else who may know the answer ). I wanted to ask a quick question regarding set up order. Do you get your starting hand before or after you choose your starting locations? As the cats for example, can I see my hand, and thus see that I have a Fox crafting card for example, before I choose to place my workshop in a fox clearning?
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Joshua Yearsley
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DuritoBurito wrote:
Hi Cole (anyone else who may know the answer ). I wanted to ask a quick question regarding set up order. Do you get your starting hand before or after you choose your starting locations? As the cats for example, can I see my hand, and thus see that I have a Fox crafting card for example, before I choose to place my workshop in a fox clearning?


Before. Faction setup happens dead last.
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Brad Johnson
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Came here looking for some tips here. I have all of 2 games under my belt, so I'm a total novice.

In game 1, the Vagabond completely ran away with it because everyone was so busy crafting for points, giving him all the items he could want. The Cats tried to go for a dominance card victory early, and everyone (including the Vagabond) panicked, pounded on him, and that was all she wrote.

In game 2 (different players but for me), Eyrie focused almost exclusively on pounding the Cats, the Alliance threatened Cats primarily but hit the Birds a a bit, and the Vagabond again had pretty much total free reign, despite warnings to keep an eye on him. But this time, the Alliance, the Vagabond, and the Eyrie were all within just couple points of 30, with the Alliance just pulling out the win due to turn order. Cats (me), being unable to stop or even fend off 3 factions clearly vectoring past me, were about 10 points back.

My question as an admitted novice is: The Cats' position seems to naturally erode over the game, while the other 3 powers seem to generally monotonically improve over the game, so as the Cats, how do you prevent yourself from just being overrun? Is there something specific that should be focused on, short of trying to just use diplomacy to get people to lay off? I was focusing fairly heavily on Recuiters, knowing it would be tough to hold a core with enough room to build in, but then I regretted not being able to build up buildings faster, and rarely being able to craft anything useful. And with the big advantage attacking has, you can only defend the buildings you've already built for so long...
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Anon Y. Mous
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Your starting position is an illusion. You don't truly have control over 11/12 clearings at the start, so be realistic about it and fall back and hold a more modest amount of territory that you actually can defend. Maybe keep a few towards the front lines to give the Eyrie a hard time, but focus on defending the Keep and clearings near it. You can always expand naturally later.

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Patrick Leder
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Ethereality wrote:
Your starting position is an illusion. You don't truly have control over 11/12 clearings at the start, so be realistic about it and fall back and hold a more modest amount of territory that you actually can defend. Maybe keep a few towards the front lines to give the Eyrie a hard time, but focus on defending the Keep and clearings near it. You can always expand naturally later.



What it does give you is a choice of what you are going to attempt to hold.
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wodan wodan
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Overall I think a lot depends on your starting hand and what options there are. Several of the passives you can craft are game-changers for the Cats:

*Command Warren (2 Bunny) gives an optional free battle at start of Daylight. Cats already have efficient Recruit and Move actions but not Battling, this fixes that, and lets them play much more aggressively against factions like Lizards and Birds.

*Brutal Tactics (2 Fox) gives an optional bonus hit in return for giving opponent a VP. This allows allows your scattered single troop garrisons to get 2 for 1 trades 94% of the time vs other factions, and makes it easier to forces trades with Woodland Alliance.

*Taxes (1 of Each) allows you to expend trapped useless doomed troops in return for cards which you can use to play recover other casualties, including the casualty you just took, and accumulate Ambushes.

If you don't have any of them, nor are there any Otter can sell you, then instead of spending an action getting an early Blacksmith or two down, your focus should instead be on using your efficient Move action to retreat your forces to more defensible lines. Something like:

Turn 1: Build Saw, Move*2
Turn 2: Build Recruiter, Move*2
Turn 3: Build Recruiter, Recruit, Move
This retreats up to 6 troops, musters 3, and gets 1 extra draw

Alternatively if you want to go pure economy, you can go:
Turn 1: Build Saw, Overwork either Saw, Build Recruiter
Turn 2: Build Recruiter, Recruit, Move
Turn 3: Overwork Either Saw, Build Recruiter, Recruit
This retreats 2 troops, musters 7, and gets 2 extra draws
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Brad Johnson
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Thanks for the good tips everyone.

wodan46 wrote:
*The one which gives an optional bonus hit in return for giving opponent a VP. This allows a single troop an assured kill on undefended Sympathy for the Alliance (rather than a mere 56% chance), and allows your scattered single troop garrisons to get 2 for 1 trades 94% of the time vs other factions.


One point here -- don't you auto-kill undefended sympathy tokens anyway (with +1 hit since they're undefended?) The hard part about removing sympathy (for me) is the giving up a card to do it (which also just makes it easier for the sympathy to be immediately re-built.)
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Nathan West
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tempus42 wrote:
Thanks for the good tips everyone.

wodan46 wrote:
*The one which gives an optional bonus hit in return for giving opponent a VP. This allows a single troop an assured kill on undefended Sympathy for the Alliance (rather than a mere 56% chance), and allows your scattered single troop garrisons to get 2 for 1 trades 94% of the time vs other factions.


One point here -- don't you auto-kill undefended sympathy tokens anyway (with +1 hit since they're undefended?) The hard part about removing sympathy (for me) is the giving up a card to do it (which also just makes it easier for the sympathy to be immediately re-built.)

Martial Law is important here. Need to use overwhelming force and force them to spend extra supporters to re-spread the sympathy.
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Chris W
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If you have 3 warriors in your clearing it costs the Alliance an extra supporter to place sympathy there. Try using that to slow them down.
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wodan wodan
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tempus42 wrote:
Thanks for the good tips everyone.

wodan46 wrote:
*The one which gives an optional bonus hit in return for giving opponent a VP. This allows a single troop an assured kill on undefended Sympathy for the Alliance (rather than a mere 56% chance), and allows your scattered single troop garrisons to get 2 for 1 trades 94% of the time vs other factions.


One point here -- don't you auto-kill undefended sympathy tokens anyway (with +1 hit since they're undefended?) The hard part about removing sympathy (for me) is the giving up a card to do it (which also just makes it easier for the sympathy to be immediately re-built.)

Oops I forgot about that, no wonder it was so troublesome to manage them.

McChew wrote:
If you have 3 warriors in your clearing it costs the Alliance an extra supporter to place sympathy there. Try using that to slow them down.

Yeah, once you've got your forces concentrated, they have to spend 2 or more supporters but you only have to give them 1 when killing it.
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Lord Loki
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wodan46 wrote:
If you don't have any of them, nor are there any Otter can sell you, then instead of spending an action getting an early Blacksmith or two down, your focus should instead be on using your efficient Move action to retreat your forces to more defensible lines. Something like:

Turn 1: Build Saw, Move*2
Turn 2: Build Recruiter, Move*2
Turn 3: Build Recruiter, Recruit, Move
This retreats up to 6 troops, musters 3, and gets 1 extra draw

Alternatively if you want to go pure economy, you can go:
Turn 1: Build Saw, Overwork either Saw, Build Recruiter
Turn 2: Build Recruiter, Recruit, Move
Turn 3: Overwork Either Saw, Build Recruiter, Recruit
This retreats 2 troops, musters 7, and gets 2 extra draws


Doesn't this assume that there is no sympathy in any of your clearings with buildings in it? If there are, presumably you need to spend at least 1, sometimes 2 actions removing this sympathy, which leaves you with just 1 move. And of course toy also lose 2 cards.
 
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Lord Loki
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Cole Wehrle wrote:
For a game as interactive as Root, a perfect balance between the factions is mostly a fool's errand. The key is to even give the more dominant factions consistently interesting choices and make sure that all the factions have viable paths to victory. But, so much more depends on the decisions that the players make.

The key thing is that it usually does not make sense to damage a struggling player. The Alliance can often mess this up by using their revolts in ways that don't create distance between the itself and its rivals.

Still, the Marquise has been strong on our end, with a solid card economy that can allow for crafting/replenishing troops/bonus actions. The placement of their workshops is critical.(I'm a big fan of Rabbit/Rabbit/Fox for the first three, but there are advantages to other approaches depending on your opening hand).

When dealing with the Alliance, containment is usually a better strategy than aggression. When the bases do pop up, swat them down and make sure you can kill them all the way in a single turn!. But, a lot of players don't realize that unless you are breaking the Alliance down to their +1 Sympathy tokens, they are better left undisturbed until they get to those higher values on the right side of their chart. Having 3 warriors in border clearings is critical to dragging them down. In games with experienced players, it's common to see the Alliance explode early and then get beat into a pulp. For a long time playtesters regarded them as the weakest faction in the game.

In terms of my internal numbers, current Eyrie is probably the lowest performing. The balance levels out as players get more play experience, but the Eyrie is probably the easiest to cripple. Until they get sizeable numbers, their Roosts are easy targets and they are dangerously card poor. In games with the Vagabond, he'll often start by trading with the Eyrie, but a good Cat player should reward this behavior by slapping that Vagabond and attempting to force a hostile shift in the early part of the game to punish him.


Anyway, I'll leave the particulars of good Marquise play to the others. They are one of my favorite factions to play, mostly because I find that, despite their simplicity, they are incredibly demanding. It's hard being the forest policewoman!


It's interesting you say this. I have played over twenty games now and the cats consistently come in last. They seem to be the worst crafters in the game (needing a specific building unlike other factions which creates a big opportunity cost issue), and only get 3 actions per turn.

In virtually all the games I've played, even if the cats are left alone they don't seem to have much impact. They have a large army but can only attack a very limited number of times, they are terrible at crafting, and are super dependent on empty building slots (and a good vagabond player probably wouldnt empty ruins for them). The vagabond has little incentive to become friends with cats (they're never going to give him good items), and the cats don't have enough actions to attack the vagabond and make him hostile.

There's also a big issue if the WA go before the Cats, assuming they placed 2 sympathy tokens in your starting buildings, you pretty much have to spend 2 of your 3 actions clearing sympathy and losing 2 cards for that privilege. Only for the influence to get added back next turn.

Would be interested in getting your thoughts on what the cats can do to have more impact.
 
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Doug DeMoss
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MCLondon wrote:

There's also a big issue if the WA go before the Cats, assuming they placed 2 sympathy tokens in your starting buildings, you pretty much have to spend 2 of your 3 actions clearing sympathy and losing 2 cards for that privilege. Only for the influence to get added back next turn.


It's highly unlikely the WA will even be able to do that, now that I think about it. Their sympathy markers have to be placed adjacent to each other until they get to the point of using warriors to place them, and the keep clearing is off limits. If the Marquise doesn't want that to happen, all she has to do is make sure there's no easy path other than the keep between those starting buildings (or just start the keep in the one corner clearing that allows two buildings).
 
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Lord Loki
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demoss1 wrote:
MCLondon wrote:

There's also a big issue if the WA go before the Cats, assuming they placed 2 sympathy tokens in your starting buildings, you pretty much have to spend 2 of your 3 actions clearing sympathy and losing 2 cards for that privilege. Only for the influence to get added back next turn.


It's highly unlikely the WA will even be able to do that, now that I think about it. Their sympathy markers have to be placed adjacent to each other until they get to the point of using warriors to place them, and the keep clearing is off limits. If the Marquise doesn't want that to happen, all she has to do is make sure there's no easy path other than the keep between those starting buildings (or just start the keep in the one corner clearing that allows two buildings).


I think it depends on set up, but I've seen this happen several times. Even one sympathy token makes you lose one of your three starting cards and of your three precious actions on turn 1. I feel that there is such a huge swing if Cats get to go before WA because it gives you a full turn 1 and gives you a decent platform.
 
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