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Subject: Asymmetrical Strategy Feels Scripted rss

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Brian Masat
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Just to preface, I have played Root 3 times (all as the Vagabond) and have greatly enjoyed this game.

Every time I hear someone talk about Root, there's praise for Root's asymmetry, and I would agree. It is pretty fascinating how all factions work together in a glorious forest opera.

As a Vagabond, I prioritize the runes, always ally with the Cat because they're everywhere, and build up my satchel engine and complete quests in my free time. However, I started noticing that I do this every game. I have tried to spice it up by being different vagabond characters but most of my optimal plays and position is determined by cards. I am never not going to initially ally with the cat or overlook exploring the runes which build my engine and help with quests. Then, I started noticing that other factions have familiar agendas, every game as well.

So, as someone who is pretty familiar with the Vagabond faction and all of my games have included at least the Marquise de Cat and the Eyrie, I am curious if others have found the game to be kind of scripted and if this is a result of strong asymmetry?
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Nicholas Leeman
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Any game played perfectly with no (or very few) random elements is going to feel scripted. Root is no different. If the same players are playing the same roles every time, they won't discover new tactics. My experience is that Root plays very similarly with people who know their faction for the first couple turns, but then someone finally commits to a battle, and then it's retreat and advance, cover and blitz. The Eyrie is especially reactive because their Decree is so fragile and prone to disruption.
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David Fenton
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btasam wrote:
Just to preface, I have played Root 3 times (all as the Vagabond) and have greatly enjoyed this game.

Every time I hear someone talk about Root, there's praise for Root's asymmetry, and I would agree. It is pretty fascinating how all factions work together in a glorious forest opera.

As a Vagabond, I prioritize the runes, always ally with the Cat because they're everywhere, and build up my satchel engine and complete quests in my free time. However, I started noticing that I do this every game. I have tried to spice it up by being different vagabond characters but most of my optimal plays and position is determined by cards. I am never not going to initially ally with the cat or overlook exploring the runes which build my engine and help with quests. Then, I started noticing that other factions have familiar agendas, every game as well.

So, as someone who is pretty familiar with the Vagabond faction and all of my games have included at least the Marquise de Cat and the Eyrie, I am curious if others have found the game to be kind of scripted and if this is a result of strong asymmetry?

Of course each faction has certain primary techniques, since they each have established strengths and weaknesses.

For the Vagabond, ruins are the main way to get gear (like hammers), especially if others aren't crafting for you. Since gear = actions, of course they'll be priority for the Vagabond. You might as well suggest the Marquise don't bother building Sawmills or the Eyrie leave their Roosts completely undefended.

You'll see the same strategies the most if you play with the same factions all the time. Change up the factions (leave out the Marquise) and you'll have to adapt.

Also, using the same "script" lets the other players use it to your advantage. If you're winning all the time and the Marquise got tired of being an ally they could simply attack you (if you kill a warrior in defense you go hostile...I'm not sure what that does to your strategy when you don't get points for Aiding). The Eyrie might craft a bunch of good items to give you incentive to ally with them instead.
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Joshua Yearsley
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I always thought that exploring was the no-brainer Vagabond move, but then I started seeing Tinkers forgoing it completely and instead aggressively digging in the discard for juicy items to craft and ambushes to use as barter/negotiation fodder with other players. I think you'll find there's a lot of room for interesting Vagabond play as you play with more faction combos and player personalities.
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Fabian
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Since the Cats are uniquely positioned to have the easiest time of hurting the Vagabond early, getting into their territory early seems like it might be a bad idea once players figure out hitting him is neccessary.
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Matt Albritton
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btasam wrote:
always ally with the Cat because they're everywhere,


Why isn't the Cat winning with all this aid?

If you are always winning with this script, why isn't everyone else attacking you?
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Corey Chaves
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I'm really curious how it is you're always allying with the cats when you can't ally with anyone but the person with the lowest score. Do you mean working with them unofficially? Then they should immediately backstab you the moment you start getting ahead if they don't want you to win.
 
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Nevermoar wrote:
I'm really curious how it is you're always allying with the cats when you can't ally with anyone but the person with the lowest score. Do you mean working with them unofficially? Then they should immediately backstab you the moment you start getting ahead if they don't want you to win.


Ally != Coalition

Allied is the final spot on the relationship track. It's not shared victory, you just get to lead their soldiers around and get tons of vp for aiding.

Coalition is the alternate win condition via a domination card.
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Brian Masat
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dsdhornet wrote:
You'll see the same strategies the most if you play with the same factions all the time. Change up the factions (leave out the Marquise) and you'll have to adapt.


Caedar wrote:
I always thought that exploring was the no-brainer Vagabond move, but then I started seeing Tinkers forgoing it completely and instead aggressively digging in the discard for juicy items to craft and ambushes to use as barter/negotiation fodder with other players. I think you'll find there's a lot of room for interesting Vagabond play as you play with more faction combos and player personalities.


Thanks for the discussion. Yeah, I completely agree; part of it may be that our gaming group is learning the game and we have played with the same factions pretty regularly.

I haven't played with the Tinker yet, just the Ranger and Thief but you are totally right; that would be a viable strategy for bypassing the runes.

Just to clarify, I have only won one game so far but most of my success or even script can be credited to not being attacked by my opponents. I'm sure if they noticed me as a threat more regularly, I would have to adapt to that pressure as well. Hence, I haven't had to negotiate very much.
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Chris Somethingson
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Caedar wrote:
I always thought that exploring was the no-brainer Vagabond move, but then I started seeing Tinkers forgoing it completely and instead aggressively digging in the discard for juicy items to craft and ambushes to use as barter/negotiation fodder with other players. I think you'll find there's a lot of room for interesting Vagabond play as you play with more faction combos and player personalities.


I was thinking about this as well the other day. While searching the ruins SEEMS obvious, you are also opening up a spot on the map for another building. Suddenly you can start playing that to your advantage. The birds have it hard locked in their decree to build a roost in, say, a mouse clearing. There's a ruin in a mouse clearing, they beg you to explore that ruin and free the spot. You ask for a little something in return, like they craft an item or the like.

Simply exploring the ruins with no thought other than exploring seems to be a waste of a negotiating chip, and that's almost what the vagabond does... negotiate.
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Fabian
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Mozillo wrote:
Caedar wrote:
I always thought that exploring was the no-brainer Vagabond move, but then I started seeing Tinkers forgoing it completely and instead aggressively digging in the discard for juicy items to craft and ambushes to use as barter/negotiation fodder with other players. I think you'll find there's a lot of room for interesting Vagabond play as you play with more faction combos and player personalities.


I was thinking about this as well the other day. While searching the ruins SEEMS obvious, you are also opening up a spot on the map for another building. Suddenly you can start playing that to your advantage. The birds have it hard locked in their decree to build a roost in, say, a mouse clearing. There's a ruin in a mouse clearing, they beg you to explore that ruin and free the spot. You ask for a little something in return, like they craft an item or the like.

Simply exploring the ruins with no thought other than exploring seems to be a waste of a negotiating chip, and that's almost what the vagabond does... negotiate.


Nobody's gonna buy that. The Vagabond already gets a point and an item out of it for basically zero effort.

"Screw you if you want to bleed me more, I'll cut you."

Now that'd be my response.
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Joshua Yearsley
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Zlarp wrote:
Mozillo wrote:
Caedar wrote:
I always thought that exploring was the no-brainer Vagabond move, but then I started seeing Tinkers forgoing it completely and instead aggressively digging in the discard for juicy items to craft and ambushes to use as barter/negotiation fodder with other players. I think you'll find there's a lot of room for interesting Vagabond play as you play with more faction combos and player personalities.


I was thinking about this as well the other day. While searching the ruins SEEMS obvious, you are also opening up a spot on the map for another building. Suddenly you can start playing that to your advantage. The birds have it hard locked in their decree to build a roost in, say, a mouse clearing. There's a ruin in a mouse clearing, they beg you to explore that ruin and free the spot. You ask for a little something in return, like they craft an item or the like.

Simply exploring the ruins with no thought other than exploring seems to be a waste of a negotiating chip, and that's almost what the vagabond does... negotiate.


Nobody's gonna buy that. The Vagabond already gets a point and an item out of it for basically zero effort.

"Screw you if you want to bleed me more, I'll cut you."

Now that'd be my response.


Sounds like the start of a great friendship.
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JATL
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Cats attack vagabond first round and go hostile. Suddenly it’s much harder for the vagabond to move around a snag those ruins. Script is immediately altered. So long as someone else keeps those boots buried.
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Howard Massey
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Fun idea! angry
[If you can get the dice to 'remove' a warrior
on behalf of the vagabond. No defense zeros please.

Correct?
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David Fenton
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kskato wrote:
Fun idea! angry
[If you can get the dice to 'remove' a warrior
on behalf of the vagabond. No defense zeros please.

Correct?

Of course you can. He removed a warrior.
 
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adam wilson

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btasam wrote:
So, as someone who is pretty familiar with the Vagabond faction and all of my games have included at least the Marquise de Cat and the Eyrie, I am curious if others have found the game to be kind of scripted and if this is a result of strong asymmetry?


If the cats and birds attacked you as soon as possible the game would be very different. It would be harder to gain items and you would spend more time repairing them. You would score more combat points and less quest points.
 
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Howard Massey
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dsdhornet wrote:
kskato wrote:
Fun idea! angry
[If you can get the dice to 'remove' a warrior
on behalf of the vagabond. No defense zeros please.

Correct?

Of course you can. He removed a warrior.


But..but what if Marquise de Cat roles- one / zero ?
Wont they have to get a 1+ low roll to get a 'remove'?

Thats how I'd roll.. and cost me like two Battle actions to
get to 'Hostle' cry
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David Fenton
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kskato wrote:
But..but what if Marquise de Cat roles- one / zero ?
Wont they have to get a 1+ low roll to get a 'remove'?

Thats how I'd roll.. and cost me like two Battle actions to
get to 'Hostle' cry

Well. Then I guess you did some nice damage to the Vagabond and forced him to repair.
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Howard Massey
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OK, I'll go elsewhere for answers.

Do us both a favor and never address one of my posts again.
 
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David Fenton
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kskato wrote:
OK, I'll go elsewhere for answers.

Do us both a favor and never address one of my posts again.

I'm sorry. Your above question asked whether you went hostile if you removed a warrior (and even mentioned not rolling defense zeros). I said of course (i.e. you had it down).

So I'm not sure what your second question was asking. You asked about what if you rolled a zero, having already established that you don't remove a warrior in that case and wouldn't become hostile. So if you roll a zero then you damage the Vagabond (and nothing else). Were you just asking the same question in another way? With all the emoji's I though you were just being dramatic.

What answer did I not provide?
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Mark Watson
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btasam wrote:

So, as someone who is pretty familiar with the Vagabond faction and all of my games have included at least the Marquise de Cat and the Eyrie, I am curious if others have found the game to be kind of scripted and if this is a result of strong asymmetry?

Were you playing with the same players each time? It sounds more like the table dynamic than anything else. As a general rule if you leave any faction to do their thing there's a good chance they'll win.
Ruins are good for you since the items are what power your engine, but if you're just blindly exploring them you're opening up slots in clearings which also makes life easier for those factions that build them (and note you only get the one point for doing so; any faction which can use that spot is going to net a minimum of two).
Aiding the Cat can be a risky move too. It's relatively easy for them to turn that card into points and once they have points you don't have many levers to haul them back. Conversely the Eyrie have a much harder time converting a card into straight up points, and should they pull ahead it's a lot easier to force them into turmoil to pull them back, particularly if you can get allied with them.
Also note the Cat turning hostile early game isn't as big a problem as it appears. While it does control most of the clearings, at the same time most of those clearings will have a single cat which you now get victory points for removing. Not to mention you're the only player who can completely ignore inconvenient things like control when it comes to movement (slip) so if the kitty doesn't respond by immediately reinforcing every clearing it has buildings in she's in for a really bad day when you waltz through and put the torch to everything.
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Zi Ray
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In my last 3p game I played as Cats vs the Eerie and Vagabond. The Vagabond had been hanging out in the middle getting runes while the Eerie were gearing up for a big run at my borders. On my turn I recruited and sent most of my army into my borders to defend against the birds. I also smacked the Vagabond once so he doesn't get too crazy. Next Vagabond turn he refreshes boot, sword, crossbow and slips into a forest, moves into the clearing with my keep, strikes my lone warrior making us hostile. He then proceed to battle my empty clearing with the keep, sawmill and a wood token. I'm defenseless and he manages to roll at least a 2. 3 hits and all my cardboard is off the map and he gets 6 points because he "went off script" and became infamous.

I get crushed from this and the Vagabond continues to take pot shots here and there and took the win with the same combos of having many swords and a crossbow ready.
 
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David Fenton
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Serisu wrote:
I get crushed from this and the Vagabond continues to take pot shots here and there and took the win with the same combos of having many swords and a crossbow ready.

Yep. Experience shows you've got to keep the Vagabond in check early or they'll run the table at the end. Vagabond and Alliance both tend to win with big turns at the end, while Eyrie and Cats are more slow and steady.
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Brian Masat
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Serisu wrote:
Next Vagabond turn he refreshes boot, sword, crossbow and slips into a forest, moves into the clearing with my keep, strikes my lone warrior making us hostile.


Forest Legend!
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Anthony Heitzinger
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So far I've yet to see very different openers from all of the factions:

Cats build recruiters and then sawmills and eventually workshops for points.

Eyrie just slowly expand, placing 1 roost down a turn.

Alliance basically can only drop down sympathy tokens until they get their first base.

This is ok though, as the interactions become quite different once we get into the mid-game, especially depending on the turn order.
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