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Subject: Is Woodland at three players severely hindered? rss

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We've played a three-people game of Root last night. I was Eyrie (E), the other players were Marquise (M) and Woodland (W).

During the game the main tension was between E and M. The game in that sense was pretty balanced and fun: M trying to keep control of the territory, E trying to conquer territories little by little while keeping a good decree balance, all that jazz.

W was however left out the entire game. Knowing about the constant threat of revolt, every time the W player placed a sympathy token in one of our territories we simply attacked the token to destroy it. It was an easy task and a free victory point. W couldn't place a token and revolt on the spot, since he had to wait a turn (1st action revolt, then 2nd action spread sympathy)

It was only 5 turns in that he managed to do a revolt in an empty clearing, where nobody could attack his sympathy tokens. He started "playing" from turn 6 or so, while the others were already at 20+ VP.

It felt unrewarding to him to say the least. But I'm not sure if we missed a rule somewhere, or if W was meant to be played differently.

I feel like W has to be played in strict alliacne with vagabond in a 4P game, but in a 3P game it is severely hindered.

What are your thoughts in this regard? Is anyone with more experience with W able to give us some insight?
 
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Fabian
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Did you make sure that the player who killed the WA's token always gave him a matching card into his supporters?
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Chris Pearson
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The woodland alliance gets a matching card each time you move into an area with its sympathy, or destroy a sympathy. Combined with them mobilizing to get extra supporters, they should be able to place down more sympathy than you can deal with.

They should pay attention to the Eyries Decree and if possible try and avoid placing sympathy where the Eyrie can deal with them with just an attack, force them to move if they want to. Meanwhile the Marquise has to dedicate a whole turn to deal with the 3 sympathy they can put down on the first turn, thus having to decide if its worth their full turn, especially as it either drains their hand too, or provides a random supporter from the deck.

Plus the Alliance scores points as it places sympathy too.
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Ren
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Pearscw wrote:
The woodland alliance gets a matching card each time you move into an area with its sympathy, or destroy a sympathy. Combined with them mobilizing to get extra supporters, they should be able to place down more sympathy than you can deal with.
This. The first few sympathy tokens are pretty cheap to place so if they destroy all of them you should be able to plop down 3-4 on the next turn. They might destroy them again but in that case they'd be spending their entire turns doing that and you get VP for placing down sympathy. WA is strong, the newest edition even nerfs the amount of VP that they get from sympathy.

It's possible that the other two players beat down the WA so much that it was impossible for the WA to do anything, but that's a problem with the players, not with the game. Any faction is disadvantaged if the others gang up on it. If in 3p there are two factions with a large lead and the third is struggling, focusing on beating down the third is just helping your other opponent.
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Thanks for the replies! Yes, we made sure of giving out matching cards for every token removed and invasion. Still, it looked like it struggled behind us by a large margin.

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Plus the Alliance scores points as it places sympathy too
This was also hindered by the fact that with the tournament rules all points are shifted to the right. If you have 1-2 sympathy tokens on the map, this means you get very few VP.

You know what? I'll try WA next time to see how it turns out. Thanks for your insights!
 
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Jim Marshall
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I second what the previous posters have said. I find the WA is a slow-burning faction in that the other factions may score more points from the start of the game while the WA scores better points once it's established.

The Cat's biggest disadvantage is the small number of actions she has. If the WA starts away from the Marquise's keep (less of a direct threat) and avoids the Birds, the Cat will be faced with a dilemma: use most of her actions and cards to stamp out sympathy (at the cost of not advancing the Cat cause much at all - she'd rather be building) or allow the WA a toehold by getting a base or two down. And once the WA have a couple of bases down and a few officers, just watch them go!

Cole's recent 'tournament' rules (i.e. patch rules for balance) actually reduce the points gained by the WA for placing sympathy, reflecting that with the out-of-the-box rules the WA is actually one of the more favoured factions.
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Derek Bowen
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codinh wrote:
If you have 1-2 sympathy tokens on the map, this means you get very few VP.

This sounds like you were only scoring sympathy vp for them at end of turn. They do score less under the updated rules but they score the underlying vp each time they place sympathy.

Also it's pretty critical for the WA to start by placing 3 sympathy. Depending on their starting supporter stack this takes some planning on where they place that first sympathy. Only getting 2 sympathy out on turn 1 hurts them quite a bit.
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Steinar Furuli
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Hello. laugh

Like Jim Marshall says, try having the Woodland Alliance focus on one player instead of spreading Sympathy between two. Two players' combined actions might be enough to take out all the Sympathy, but one player's actions alone can't deal with it all if he hopes to have any kind of progress himself.

Just out of curiosity, did Woodland Alliance spread Sympathy between both players?
 
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Quote:
This sounds like you were only scoring sympathy vp for them at end of turn

No, we were scoring as we were placing tokens, but he did never have more than 1 or 2 tokens on the map, I think he only got to 3 at the end of the game.

By reading on this thread and others on the forum, I think the WA player might have not played aggressively enough, preferring to keep his support cards rather than spreading as much as possible. This is very penalizing if the others are focusing on developing their armies and engaging in a more direct way.

Thank you all for your advices!
 
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SFuruli wrote:
Hello. laugh

Like Jim Marshall says, try having the Woodland Alliance focus on one player instead of spreading Sympathy between two. Two players' combined actions might be enough to take out all the Sympathy, but one player's actions alone can't deal with it all if he hopes to have any kind of progress himself.

Just out of curiosity, did Woodland Alliance spread Sympathy between both players?

On the first turns he spreaded just once with the Marquise, causing him to counterattack to instantly remove his tokens. Which also helped me to win, because every turn M was wasting actions attacking sympathy and not Eyrie. After a while, the WA player got frustrated and spread sympathy on an empty clearing. From that point on he was able to develop, but it was already too late in the game to have a substantial weight on the game.
 
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Derek Bowen
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Yeah, if it took 5 turns to do a revolt, either a rule was played wrong or the WA just played poorly.

As others have pointed out spreading sympathy in one faction's area to start makes it harder to squash. For this reason alone, a 3 player game should help the WA (less players to possibly destroy sympathy tokens). They should also take any opportunity early game to spread sympathy in an empty clearing (which in a 3 player game should be more likely to find). I try to emphasize to new players who choose the WA that their hand is not important, but their supporter stack is, and that it might not be the best move, but it is never the wrong move to dump their entire hand into their supporter stack at the end of Daylight.
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Mathis Lurtz
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codinh wrote:
Which also helped me to win, because every turn M was wasting actions attacking sympathy and not Eyrie.

seems to me the issue was not bad woodland play but rather bad cat play. The cat player focused on removing sympathy and gave the eyrie an easy lead/win.

Also, the eyrie is not that effective in removing WA-sympathy as the decree can be easily outmaneuvered by a skilled WA-player, forcing the Birds into suboptimal play or even forcing them into turmoil early and often.
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Ren
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codinh wrote:

By reading on this thread and others on the forum, I think the WA player might have not played aggressively enough, preferring to keep his support cards rather than spreading as much as possible.
Yes, that would be a bad strategy. WA starts with 3 supporters and it's best to use them to put down 3 sympathy on the first turn. Remember that WA doesn't have to put sympathy tokens adjacent to each other if it's not possible, so there's never a situation where they can't spread sympathy because of a bad initial draw.

Additionally, it might be worth it to dump the entire hand (minus maybe Ambushes) into supporters for an early boost.

Do try to play different factions next time, I find that I play better against a faction after having played as that faction.
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Will Fergus
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Wait, you can dump your whole hand into supporters? I thought you could only do that once per turn!
 
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dragonlordged wrote:
Wait, you can dump your whole hand into supporters? I thought you could only do that once per turn!

Nope, dump away.
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Ren3 wrote:
codinh wrote:

By reading on this thread and others on the forum, I think the WA player might have not played aggressively enough, preferring to keep his support cards rather than spreading as much as possible.
Yes, that would be a bad strategy. WA starts with 3 supporters and it's best to use them to put down 3 sympathy on the first turn. Remember that WA doesn't have to put sympathy tokens adjacent to each other if it's not possible, so there's never a situation where they can't spread sympathy because of a bad initial draw.

Additionally, it might be worth it to dump the entire hand (minus maybe Ambushes) into supporters for an early boost.

Do try to play different factions next time, I find that I play better against a faction after having played as that faction.

That's a really interesting insight, thanks! I somehow believed that if you couldn't spread sympathy next to an already sympathetic clearing you simply couldn't to anything, but that was just a bad interpretation of the ruleset. Thanks! I cannot wait to play as WA then devil
 
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Andre Oliveira
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If anything WA is hard to stop with 3 players.
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desocupado wrote:
If anything WA is hard to stop with 3 players.

Yeah, it's funny that there's a thread before mine asking whether WA is OP at 3P. It really shows how each play group develops its local minimum where the same strategies tend to get repeated and one gets stuck. It's refreshing to read the BGG forums to always have another point of view on an issue, and it really shows the struggle for balance that goes into such a game - that one might erroneously think as unbalanced after a few plays.
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Derek Bowen
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In my experience new groups tend to find the WA OP because the strategies to counter them aren't intuitive (they also can have huge explosive scoring turns other factions can't). More experienced players know it's easier to shut down the WA's rule of clearings and hinder their troop movement than to attack them head on. Also, that they're a threat to end the game from 18 points. Of course new WA players don't tend to realize the power behind certain officer actions until near the end of their first game.

 
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Doug DeMoss
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Ren3 wrote:
codinh wrote:

By reading on this thread and others on the forum, I think the WA player might have not played aggressively enough, preferring to keep his support cards rather than spreading as much as possible.
Yes, that would be a bad strategy. WA starts with 3 supporters and it's best to use them to put down 3 sympathy on the first turn. Remember that WA doesn't have to put sympathy tokens adjacent to each other if it's not possible, so there's never a situation where they can't spread sympathy because of a bad initial draw.


I believe this is an incorrect summary of the relevant rule. The Law, 8.4.2.i, says "Choose Clearing. An unsympathetic clearing adjacent to a sympathetic clearing. If there are no sympathetic clearings, you may choose any clearing."

This fairly clearly states that you MUST place new sympathy adjacent to an already existing sympathy, unless there are NO sympathy on the board.
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Stephen Owen
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Yes, you are correct

The problem is in the Learn to Play which implies you can place non adjacent sympathy tokens which is contradicted by the Law of Root. Pity Leder Games have not yet sorted this out - presumably by clarifying the Learn to Play section.
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Ren
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demoss1 wrote:
Ren3 wrote:
codinh wrote:

By reading on this thread and others on the forum, I think the WA player might have not played aggressively enough, preferring to keep his support cards rather than spreading as much as possible.
Yes, that would be a bad strategy. WA starts with 3 supporters and it's best to use them to put down 3 sympathy on the first turn. Remember that WA doesn't have to put sympathy tokens adjacent to each other if it's not possible, so there's never a situation where they can't spread sympathy because of a bad initial draw.


I believe this is an incorrect summary of the relevant rule. The Law, 8.4.2.i, says "Choose Clearing. An unsympathetic clearing adjacent to a sympathetic clearing. If there are no sympathetic clearings, you may choose any clearing."

This fairly clearly states that you MUST place new sympathy adjacent to an already existing sympathy, unless there are NO sympathy on the board.

WHAT. I never checked the Law of Root because both Learn to Play & WA board seemed pretty clear in that regard.
"Place a sympathy token in an unsympathetic clearing, adjacent to a sympathetic clearing if possible."
That's a pretty big logic fail!
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Doug DeMoss
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I can see it, because you can read "if possible" as meaning the same thing the Law says. It isn't intended to mean "if it's possible to use the particular cards you have," it's intended to mean "if it's possible AT ALL."
 
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Jeff Thompson
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I find the wording in the rules sometimes strange. Another example is the Lizard Cult where "you must complete the conspiracy if you choose..."

Anyway, this kind of rule is better written:
You must place a Sympathy Token in a Clearing adjacent to a Sympathetic Clearing. Exception: If there are no Sympathatic Clearings, then the Sympathy Token can be placed in any Clearing.

That's just IMHO of course.
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Lex Zypher
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You have to set yourself up to Revolt on turn 2, turn 3 at the latest if you got a bad initial supporter draw. This may require revolting in a clearing with no enemy presence...this is fine! Your goal isn't to win by gaining a point or two from killing buildings, your goal is to set up a quick base and begin spreading out with 3 or 4 officers to get your sympathy spread out.

Woodland should get two or three warriors to defend each base, then spread sympathy. If their base gets ruled by opposing factions to prevent troop spreading, just revolt somewhere else and spread from the new base. Revolting adjacent to a ruled base means that the troops can abandon the old base and rapidly spread out through the new base.

Of course, birds and cats should always have a truce to ensure that they bounce sympathy and rule bases as appropriate, and they should always be poised to smack the vagabond every turn if possible (if he ends up in the game.) Just because it's a war game doesn't mean the armies have to let everyone else profit on their graves.
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