I just go a big old box of Root in the mail today with the Hireling boxes, the Landmark box and most importantly, the Marauder expansion that includes the Lord of the Hundreds (mice) and the Keepers in Iron (badgers). I gave it a read over the last couple hours and I’m impressed (again). This one I did not follow along with development compared to the Underworld where I print and played the early moles design quite a bit before it came out, so this is all new to me.
While the Underworld expansion was great, it just had what really amounted to a different takes on the base factions. Moles are an excellent area control faction with a strange point generation engine, but I haven’t seen much enthusiasm for the Corvids (yet), most people just pick the Alliance. The big deal out of the Underworld expansion was the co-release of the Partisan deck (which I have not had a chance to play with yet) that replaces the core suit card deck in the game. Otherwise, it wasn’t too crazy. Marauders expansion plus the addons gets crazy.
The the two new factions are really something. Both of them are “Reach” factions in that they take up space on the board with warriors in order to score (like Cats, Moles, Birds). I’m going to say more after I’ve played with or against them, but I will say the Lord of the Hundreds is a real fucker from reading the rules. People will absolutely love to hate this faction.
The big addition that changes the game quite a bit are the hirelings and the ‘Advanced Set up’ which really mix up the game. Advanced set up is probably derived from people trying to come up with a tournament ruleset on how to choose factions. This is better than what we came up with for the Gamehole Con Tournament. You basically set up a seating order, draw 5 cards from the deck, then one of the “Reach” factions is randomly selected and put on the table, then all the rest of the factions are mixed up and X are drawn and placed on the table (X = number of players). Then players in reverse seating order select a faction and set up via an advanced set up card. Lastly they discard 2 cards to the deck and keep 3 of their original 5. Can’t wait to try this out.
Hirelings are strange, but this is where the real variety in games will stem to make them all sorts of crazy. Players can control these like mercenaries when they get to certain victory point levels, but if the game goes on too long, they have to give control of them to another player, who then also may lose control of them. Most of the time they give a certain power, but in their stronger form, they add units to the map.
I didn’t read them all but my favorite is the Riverfolk pirate ship that can sail up the river or lake and raid. Great stuff. The main thing that’s odd is if a faction is in the game, the hirelings for that faction cannot be, so if you are playing a large player game, you will only get access to the neutral hirelings.
Landmarks are the last new thing and they remind me of Oath a bit. They add rules to certain clearings that can be used if you control that clearing. Cool stuff to add without having to build new maps to include it all.
Really looking forward to getting Root to the table. I’ve started a long post on ruminations after 50 face to face plays, but that may need to be delayed while I get 10 or so plays with all this new STUFF.