Full review available here
Root is the brand new asymmetric fuzzy critters on a map game from Minnesotan publisher Leder Games. After their success with similarly asymmetrical game Vast: The Crystal Caverns, Cole Wehrle has taken the concept a step further and here we have Root! The game was brought to Kickstarter in October 2017, and after a successful campaign was delivered just 10 months later in August 2018. Its Kickstarter release and presence at Gencon has brought a lot of attention to the game, and most comments so far have been very positive.
2-4 Players | 60-90 Minutes | Designed by Cole Wehrle
Root is illustrated by Kyle Ferrin, who does an amazing job of bringing the whole world alive in a rich and creative way.
The box for Root is simply beautiful. For someone who loves the art style, I find the combination of fantasy themes and cute animal characters adorable. The whole box cover is visually stunning, and the vibrant colour highlights in the otherwise muted artwork draw the eye to each character in turn.
The box has a nice linen finish which I find tends to be more durable to the scuffing and damage that comes from taking games off your shelf and transporting them around. The inside edges of the box feature more beautiful artwork. The back of the box has a useful and succinct description of the game, which plainly explains the asymmetric nature of the gameplay and shows a nice view of the game in action.
The game comes with a lot of material to help you through learning your first game, which is a fantastic thing.
Root‘s Learning to Play booklet runs through game setup and each faction’s abilities and gameplay. The book describes to each player what they can do and when, and offers recommendations for your first game. Included also is a ‘walkthrough card’ that has steps for players to follow for the first two rounds of the game, if they want to ‘learn by doing’ rather than reading through the whole rulebook first. I think this is a great thing, but the way the rules are structured you aren’t forced into playing this way if you prefer to read the rules first and play from there. There are also a bunch of reference cards for each player included.
Root also includes a rules reference book, which lays out all the game rules, including section numbering!
Finally, each player’s large faction mat has a bunch of information on it for how to play that faction, including when and how to do actions.
The insert for Root is serviceable, but nothing spectacular. It has places for all the components, and the board and and faction mats fit snugly on top of the insert. Unfortunately, the card slot is quite snug and wouldn’t fit the cards sleeved. There is also a weird non-feature – the large square depression you can see above (containing the smaller ones) was designed to fit the punch boards during shipping. Without the punch boards in place, there is nothing to stop the cards from slipping out of their slot if the box is turned sideways.
Root‘s board is a beautiful aerial depiction of The Woodland. It manages to remain fully functional without having jarring graphic design elements detracting from the overall look of the board – everything is consistent with the artist’s style. The board has the same linen finish as the box.
The tokens included are cardboard, with crisp edges and a durable glossy finish. The game also includes two custom d12s, with a mix of faces from 0 to 3 on each.
The cards in Root are stunning. Each card very prominently features a piece of art, but not at the expense of usability. The card’s suit and craft item/ability are all prominently displayed, with the art enriching the game by providing a vision of the card’s function.
Last but not least, the critters! Root features 4 types of custom forest critter meeples in various quantities. The quality of the wood isn’t the best, but the paint job is good and screen printing add so much character to each meeple.
Overall, the quality of Root’s components is superb, and I can’t wait to play around with them!
Root was available in limited release at Gen Con 2018, with Kickstarter backers receiving copies in early August as well. Leder Games’ website has pre-orders open now for shipping in late August (with a promise not to ship until all Kickstarter orders are fulfilled) and you can expect to see the game in your local stores soon after that! There is also an expansion, Root: The Riverfolk Expansion, which adds two new factions and allows for up to 6 players. It will be available in 2019.
The copy of Root used for this unboxing was provided to The Boardgame Detective by Leder Games.