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Subject: Just me or are the Cats by far the weakest faction? rss

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Lord Loki
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I've played four games now, some with very experienced players and it feels to me that the Cats are very weak.

Just some observations:

Without any birds they only get 3 actions per turn, which is on average less than any other faction. Eyrie gets exponentially more turns, WA gets to spend influence, revolt, and then lots of actions based on number of officers. Vagabond steadily gets more and more items. But the cats are stuck on 3 actions (plus birds) unless they manage to craft some helpful cards (but they aren't the best crafters early game, see below).

They have an exposed and dispersed military, so have to waste actions or cards to keep the military alive.

Their buildings make for juicy targets for the alliance. So they often have to spend one of their few starting actions dealing with sympathy and giving cards to the WA.

Crafting is actually hard for them early on,they need work shops, but those cost wood and come at the expense of saw mills and recruiters. And they of course need slots to build them. Compare this to the Eyrie that can both recruit and craft using roots and WA that can craft with just sympathy.

What am I missing here? Do the cats have any noteworthy advantages? Can they really do much if the WA decide to pick on their early buildings (I know martial law helps and keeping control over the clearing helps too). It seems they need to invest a lot more into card draw (build a lot of buildings) though most cards aren't that useful for them (compared to WA that really benefit from a strong supporters deck).

Really keen to hear your experiences. There's another thread where people suggest building first turn and moving your troops out, but that leaves you extremely vulnerable to a turn 2 WA rebellion.

Any examples of winning strategies at high level play?
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Ken Brown
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I think you’re mistaking the cats’ steady progress for a lack of momentum. The Eyrie gets more actions, but several of their actions are worse than Cats (a recruit only gives one bird vs possibly several cats, each move grants two moves).

They are not as good at crafting as the WA, but are far superior compared to the Eyrie who have to control several of the same kind of clearing to craft higher end cards or the vagabond who might reasonably never get a hammer for crafting at all. The WA are powerful, but it takes several turns for them to build up, even if they revolt on the second turn - and honestly, you have a warrior on every space save one, unless you build your first buildings right next to the Eyrie starting space, you’ll certainly have a warrior who can easily squash any sympathy that threatens your buildings early.

I think the biggest criticism you could have is that the cats are a little boring compared to the other factions, which have a much different end game state. But they’re not weak.
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Konrad P
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They've won the last 2 games in our group so I guess not.
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Geoff Watson
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They're better than the Lizards.
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Lord Loki
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Good point about the recruitment being across all recruiters.

But I disagree on the Eyrie being worse crafters. It's easier to get 3 roosts out than 3 workshops IMO.

Are there any videos of someone playing the cats well on youtube that you are aware of?
 
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Ken Brown
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MCLondon wrote:
Good point about the recruitment being across all recruiters.

But I disagree on the Eyrie being worse crafters. It's easier to get 3 roosts out than 3 workshops IMO.


Roosts may come out faster due to the decree, but you can only have one in a clearing. The cats split their resources between several types of buildings, but they can put multiple workshops in a single clearing.

So in order to craft a Favor of... card, the Eyrie must have gotten rule of three out of four clearings of the matching type, built a roost in each and held them long enough to do so. Cats can play the same card while only ruling two (and occasionally even just one!) clearing, which is even easier for them to hold because they both begin with more warriors on the board and have more warriors in reserve.
 
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Lord Loki
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Is this a viable strat? Aiming for crafting favors?

I was more thinking that Eyrie is more likely to have the required roosts to craft things, where as Cats may not have any work shops in say a rabbit clearing.

Is it fair to say the cats need to focus on saw mills and recruiting early game, and once they've stabilised they can start thinking about crafting cards that require more than one work shop?
 
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Zack Stackurski
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The cats have been super close to winning 3 of the 4 games I've played of Root so far. In all of them they used their strong recruitment and most flexible movement to threaten a dominance victory in the end game. In two of those games they would have won but someone else pulled out 30 points before the turn got back around to them.

If the only way to win the game was to score points I might agree with you as its hard to score consistently when you are the faction that seems to be everybody's punching bag all game long, but I think the Cats are the strongest faction to consistently pursue a dominance victory so that balances them out pretty nicely.
 
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Lord Loki
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ZackStack wrote:
The cats have been super close to winning 3 of the 4 games I've played of Root so far. In all of them they used their strong recruitment and most flexible movement to threaten a dominance victory in the end game. In two of those games they would have won but someone else pulled out 30 points before the turn got back around to them.

If the only way to win the game was to score points I might agree with you as its hard to score consistently when you are the faction that seems to be everybody's punching bag all game long, but I think the Cats are the strongest faction to consistently pursue a dominance victory so that balances them out pretty nicely.


So are you suggesting completely ignoring VPs and set yourself up for a pure dominance victory? No more crafting items, no building of workshops?
 
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Zack Stackurski
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MCLondon wrote:

So are you suggesting completely ignoring VPs and set yourself up for a pure dominance victory? No more crafting items, no building of workshops?


Its situational. You still need 10 points to claim a dominance card and crafting early is a great way to help you do that. You also might not end up drawing or being able to claim a good dominance card so its better to stay in the points game early if you can. But if a solid dominance strategy presents itself, especially if you draw dominance in your opening hand, I think putting all your resources toward achieving it is a strong path to victory for the Marquis.
 
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Lord Loki
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ZackStack wrote:
MCLondon wrote:

So are you suggesting completely ignoring VPs and set yourself up for a pure dominance victory? No more crafting items, no building of workshops?


Its situational. You still need 10 points to claim a dominance card and crafting early is a great way to help you do that. You also might not end up drawing or being able to claim a good dominance card so its better to stay in the points game early if you can. But if a solid dominance strategy presents itself, especially if you draw dominance in your opening hand, I think putting all your resources toward achieving it is a strong path to victory for the Marquis.


I still think the biggest fundamental issue is what to do when WE goes before the cats in turn 1. If he gets influence in two of your clearings with the starting buildings, you pretty much have to spend your fist two actions removing them, which only leaves you with one action. Which he can rinse and repeat.

At least if cats go first they get to build something and recruit before whack a mole game starts.

Is there anything in the rule book about turn order I may have missed?
 
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Doug DeMoss
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MCLondon wrote:
ZackStack wrote:
MCLondon wrote:

So are you suggesting completely ignoring VPs and set yourself up for a pure dominance victory? No more crafting items, no building of workshops?


Its situational. You still need 10 points to claim a dominance card and crafting early is a great way to help you do that. You also might not end up drawing or being able to claim a good dominance card so its better to stay in the points game early if you can. But if a solid dominance strategy presents itself, especially if you draw dominance in your opening hand, I think putting all your resources toward achieving it is a strong path to victory for the Marquis.


I still think the biggest fundamental issue is what to do when WE goes before the cats in turn 1. If he gets influence in two of your clearings with the starting buildings, you pretty much have to spend your fist two actions removing them, which only leaves you with one action. Which he can rinse and repeat.

At least if cats go first they get to build something and recruit before whack a mole game starts.

Is there anything in the rule book about turn order I may have missed?


One of the two will probably be your workshop, in which case you can let it go (and if it's not, why the heck didn't you put your starting sawmill at the keep?). I don't think early crafting is a big deal for the Marquise. If the WA wants to go after you and you alone right away, well, let him plant a base right next to the keep if he has the cards (which he probably won't). Then crush it.

IMO, the WA is better suited to working on the borders rather than deep in cat territory. It tends to give them more Supporter cards as multiple factions need to march in, and it gives them more options later.
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J Ruble
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The link below is a podcast with the designer of ROOT discussing strategy for the cats (40 minute mark):

http://tableforone.libsyn.com/engn-106-root-deep-dive-and-im...

Highlights:
+ The cats are the hardest to play.
+ Recruiters are your main building because you must use warriors to maintain control of the board and contain the other factions.

--Basically resist the temptation to build out sawmills and crafting buildings and focus on producing forces.

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Joshua Yearsley
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Counterpoint: If I draw into a nice persistent crafting effect that I can get on turn 2 (Cobbler, Command Warren, etc.), I often build a workshop on turn 1. Having extra action efficiency is great for the cats.
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Mark Watson
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MCLondon wrote:
I've played four games now, some with very experienced players and it feels to me that the Cats are very weak.


I wouldn't say she's weak. The main trick to Cat is learning how to control the game; she's got one of the slowest scoring engines in the game but it's consistent and comparatively difficult for the other factions to mess with.
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Without any birds they only get 3 actions per turn, which is on average less than any other faction.

You only get to choose 3 actions. However your march is a two move action and your recruit can put multiple warriors onto the board in a single turn. Those actions are also 'free' - Eyrie and WA are usually paying cards for those actions, Vagabond has to pay items. Cat gets three actions, then the option of buying more.
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Eyrie gets exponentially more turns, WA gets to spend influence, revolt, and then lots of actions based on number of officers.

Eyrie can also collapse and be back to two actions, and WA only has ten warriors with which to both recruit officers and hold a board presence. Vagabond has to find items, or rely on other factions being kind enough to produce them for him.
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They have an exposed and dispersed military, so have to waste actions or cards to keep the military alive.

You don't need to keep it alive. Cat has a large pool of warriors and the most generous recruitment action in the game; she can afford to throw away warriors. In fact given your initial deployment it's often more efficient to ignore your initial warriors in favour of recruitment than it is burning the actions on march to get them into a useful position.
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Their buildings make for juicy targets for the alliance. So they often have to spend one of their few starting actions dealing with sympathy and giving cards to the WA.

If the WA claim a point for burning down a building, and you get two points for rebuilding that same building elsewhere, you're winning.
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Crafting is actually hard for them early on,they need work shops, but those cost wood and come at the expense of saw mills and recruiters.

They convert wood to points, and their presence lets you convert cards to points.
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What am I missing here? Do the cats have any noteworthy advantages?

Judging by your criticisms I suspect you're trying to do a bit of everything rather than a lot of something. Cat is probably one of the more open factions in terms of strategy - she can put out a whole lot of troops and dominate the military game, or she can chuck out a lot of workshops and craft her way to victory. She usually doesn't have the actions to do both however. If you're going to spend cards on your field hospital then you should focus on military and ignore crafting; if you're going to craft, pull your warriors back to defend your holdings and craft. Try to do both and you'll run out of cards or actions and do neither particularly well. That's not to say you need to be locked in to one or the other, indeed if your bid for military dominance goes wrong you'll probably want to pull back and pursue crafting or building, but you shouldn't be trying to do everything at once.
Quote:

There's another thread where people suggest building first turn and moving your troops out, but that leaves you extremely vulnerable to a turn 2 WA rebellion.

The Keep clearing is immune, so provided you put anything you care about in there it shouldn't be a concern. To be honest this would be a risky play from the WA player - in all likelihood at that point in the game they're likely looking at a single warrior guarding that base. You shouldn't have any problems wiping it out in your next turn, most likely gaining two points in the process (sympathy token + base) and divesting the WA player of the cards they'd need to repeat the process alongside any bird cards in the supporter deck. If the WA were to do this I'd assume they're gambling on Eyrie putting enough pressure on you that you can't simply march in and burn it all down next round.
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Anon Y. Mous
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Early sawmill spam is a trap. Building a lot of sawmills is certainly a good way to win the game if you can defend them, but if you're building sawmills you can't defend, you're just feeding your opponents free points.
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Felipe Bulhões
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My usual opening is build(sawmill)+overwork+build(recruiter). If I have a bird card, I also burn it to recruit.

Second round I can already usually place another recruiter and so on.

If WA starts before me and plants sympathies on my territories, I know I already lost the game.
 
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John Hathorn
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Archonsod wrote:
Quote:
They have an exposed and dispersed military, so have to waste actions or cards to keep the military alive.

You don't need to keep it alive. Cat has a large pool of warriors and the most generous recruitment action in the game; she can afford to throw away warriors. In fact given your initial deployment it's often more efficient to ignore your initial warriors in favour of recruitment than it is burning the actions on march to get them into a useful position.
You can also save the military you've already built with your field hospitals.
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Lord Loki
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Coiote wrote:
My usual opening is build(sawmill)+overwork+build(recruiter). If I have a bird card, I also burn it to recruit.

Second round I can already usually place another recruiter and so on.

If WA starts before me and plants sympathies on my territories, I know I already lost the game.


Isn't this the case in pretty much any game were WA goes before Cat.
 
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Jay M
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Coiote wrote:

If WA starts before me and plants sympathies on my territories, I know I already lost the game.


Just battle the Sympathy tokens and auto-win. Remove them.
 
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I feel WA going for sympathy in clearings with cat buildings has a high potential to be a losing move overall.

If it's of any importance to cat, she will remove them. While this cripples her, it also cripples WA. No sympathy turn 2 = no base turn 2 = no extra card draw. The one exception would probably be when WA holds a ambush card.

I'd think Eyrie has the most to gain from that in the end.
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Lord Loki
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Race Bannon wrote:
Coiote wrote:

If WA starts before me and plants sympathies on my territories, I know I already lost the game.


Just battle the Sympathy tokens and auto-win. Remove them.


The issue with this is that it only leaves you with say one move each turn. In the meantime the Eyrie has built it's 4th roost by now, maybe did some crafting, etc.
 
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Lord Loki
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csynt wrote:
I feel WA going for sympathy in clearings with cat buildings has a high potential to be a losing move overall.

If it's of any importance to cat, she will remove them. While this cripples her, it also cripples WA. No sympathy turn 2 = no base turn 2 = no extra card draw. The one exception would probably be when WA holds a ambush card.

I'd think Eyrie has the most to gain from that in the end.


I don't see how this cripples WA. They just add back the sympathy with the card you've given them. In the meantime the Cats have lost at least one of their three turns Which they'd rather spend on building saw mills, recruiting, marching and crafting. The WA is the big winner from this exchange IMO.

WA is in no rush to get that base up, It's not like board presence matters to them, and they get a.steady amount amount cards from people entering their clearings. Eventually they will be able to get a base somewhere, but literally no reason not to keep harassing the cats.
 
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Mark Watson
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JohnnyOffice wrote:
You can also save the military you've already built with your field hospitals.

You need to be careful doing that. Common mistake I see new Cat players make is to burn cards on field hospitals and end up with a massive horde of doom sat in the corner opposite to where all of the action is. In that situation you're usually better off either crafting the card or using it for extra wood (and turning that into an extra recruiting station closer to the front, letting you replace that warrior and probably more while earning a couple of points in the process).

MCLondon wrote:

I don't see how this cripples WA. They just add back the sympathy with the card you've given them. On the meantime the Cats have lost at least one of their three turns Which they'd rather spend on building saw mills, recruiting, marching and crafting. The WA is the big dinner from this exchange IMO.

The point for removing the sympathy token is unlikely to be significantly less than what Cat would get for building in turn 2 to begin with. Particularly if she's wanting to focus on a single type of building - more than likely WA have just fed her a point she'd otherwise have missed out on while stockpiling wood for the next round.

Oh, and if Eyrie are in the game my favourite opening is to march three times. First two to collect as many cats as practical in the two clearings adjacent to the Eyrie's home roost, third march to move them into that clearing. Much hilarity usually ensues.
 
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Doug DeMoss
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You need to be careful about crippling the Eyrie too early - they won't be able to help when the Alliance takes off.
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