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Rating: 7.8 Very Good
Players: 2-4 players
Playing time: 60-90 minutes

Official Site: Root: Official Site

Created by: Cole Wehrle, Kyle Ferrin

Published by: Leder Games


Root is a game of adventure and war in which 2 to 4 (1 to 6 with the 'Riverfolk' expansion) players battle for control of a vast wilderness.

The nefarious Marquise de Cat has seized the great woodland, intent on harvesting its riches. Under her rule, the many creatures of the forest have banded together. This Alliance will seek to strengthen its resources and subvert the rule of Cats.

In this effort, the Alliance may enlist the help of the wandering Vagabonds who are able to move through the more dangerous woodland paths. Though some may sympathize with the Alliance's hopes and dreams, these wanderers are old enough to remember the great birds of prey who once controlled the woods.

Meanwhile, at the edge of the region, the proud, squabbling Eyrie have found a new commander who they hope will lead their faction to resume their ancient birthright. The stage is set for a contest that will decide the fate of the great woodland. It is up to the players to decide which group will ultimately take root.

Root represents the next step in our development of asymmetric design. Like Vast: The Crystal Caverns, each player in Root has unique capabilities and a different victory condition. Now, with the aid of gorgeous, multi-use cards, a truly asymmetric design has never been more accessible.

The Cats play a game of engine building and logistics while attempting to police the vast wilderness. By collecting Wood they are able to produce workshops, lumber mills, and barracks. They win by building new buildings and crafts.

The Eyrie musters their hawks to take back the Woods. They must capture as much territory as possible and build roosts before they collapse back into squabbling.

The Alliance hides in the shadows, recruiting forces and hatching conspiracies. They begin slowly and build towards a dramatic late-game presence--but only if they can manage to keep the other players in check.

Meanwhile, the Vagabond plays all sides of the conflict for their own gain, while hiding a mysterious quest. Explore the board, fight other factions, and work towards achieving your hidden goal.

In Root, players drive the narrative, and the differences between each role create an unparalleled level of interaction and replayability. Leder Games invites you and your family to explore the fantastic world of Root!

Retail Price:$41
Root: Riverfolk Expansion

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Root is a fast-paced game of adventure and war. You will play as one of four factions vying to show that you are the most legitimate ruler of the vast Woodland.

Each turn is split into three phases: Birdsong, Daylight, and Evening. Once you play through these phases in order, your turn ends, and the player to your left begins their turn. The three phases are described in detail on each player's faction board.

You can win in one of two ways: score 30 victory points or play and complete a dominance card. Dominance cards cannot be played early in the game, so we recommend learning about them later. …

The reverse side of the autumn map is the winter map. You can play any mix of factions on this map, but it is recommended only for experienced players.


Before playing on the winter map, take out the 12 suit markers, flip them face down, and shuffle them.

Then, place one suit marker near each clearing on the map. After a suit marker has been added to each clearing, flip them all over, and set up the game as normal. Note the different placement of ruins, as shown below. …

Lizard Cult

The Cult relies on word of mouth and beak to spread its gospel, and new enclaves can spring up anywhere on the map. Where the Cult rules clearings, they can build gardens, which will further radicalize the animals that live there.

While other factions spend cards to achieve their aims, the Cult acts chiefly by revealing cards and gradually drafting the ideal set of followers. Unless used for scoring, these cards are not spent and are returned to the Cult's hand during Evening. …

Underground Duchy

The Duchy has long looked with suspicion on the surface dwellers. The vast wealth of the underground seemed more than enough to satiate their ambitions. Now, however, the stores are dwindling, and the Duchy looks to the great Woodland for expansion.

To succeed, they must sway ministers to join their cause and direct the Duchy's wealth toward this endeavor, providing extra actions and scoring means.

The Duchy sways ministers by revealing cards matching clearings where the Duchy has any number of pieces, representing their successes in establishing frontier outposts. …

Root can be played with many combinations of factions. The following list is not exhaustive. Other combinations are possible but may be more fragile and thus require experienced, aggressive players. We offer some recommended mixes (marked with a torch) as ideal ways to introduce the game to new players.

When playing with two players, do not use the dominance cards.

The two player game is also best played over the course of two full games (each takes about 30-45 minutes). After the first game, players should record their scores and trade factions. After the second game, each player should add their scores from both games to determine the winner. …

If your group learns by playing and wants to jump into Root without needing a long rules explanation, you can use our robust walkthrough, as described below.

Even if you use this walkthrough, someone should carefully read this learning-to-play guide before your group meets to play. We'll assume this person is you.


Set up the game as described on the next page, but make these changes:

1st. Seat the factions in this clockwise order: Marquise, Eyrie, Alliance, Vagabond. Along with their faction board, hand each player their faction's walkthrough card. …

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