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The Kickstarter thread


Gosh, in games I’ve played the Marquis feels really fragile! It’s not just the Aerie that can mess up their engine in my experience.

This is one of the biggest troubles in analyzing a game like Root or for that matter Cosmic Encounter or Vast or any other wildly asymmetric game. Heck even video games like Dota and Overwatch. It’s not just about the factions themselves and how they’re “supposed” to be played but also how that slots into the meta at the table. Every criticism Quinns made can be entirely fair and correct and that can still fail to match the experience of your table to an extent that dwarfs the magnitude that caveat normally has in any old board game.

I think the biggest defense I would want to make of Root then is probably the most obvious–don’t look for balance in it and don’t play it if you absolutely must find balance in it. I don’t say that because it’s poorly designed or even poorly balanced, but because it’s such an intensely idiosyncratic experience and it’s too easy to miss fine details of strategy that are key to calibrating performance between factions. If you have reservations about that, I would strongly recommend not paying very close attention to any expansion Kickstarters. These are things that are baked into the fabric of Root. Don’t expect them to be fixed with a card deck or a new faction. It’s just I also don’t see them as problems in the first place and highly recommend the game in general.


Possibly, I haven’t got to that point yet!

The mechanics are fairly simple, so I’m not sure if there is the robustness for longevity once the puzzle is figured out and everyone is on a level playing field. Is there the space for different strategies in response to different situations or does each faction have an optimal strategy that feels rote? I can’t tell yet. Each faction has a single way to score most their points so I can see that limiting options, but maybe the interactivity is enough to prevent that feeling like a formula.

To the game’s credit, I think it’d take a long time to figure things out, because everyone will try something a bit different each time and the game is so interactive (to extend the Pandemic analogy - it’s multiplayer Pandemic where the diseases act differently each game). I enjoy the gameplay for what it is, and it’s one of the best games to see new players play.


Having watched the latest Bgg gamenight for Copenhagen I am totally In for that game. somewhat coincidentally :wink: the Kickstarter is launching today!


Remember Blood on the Clocktower that SU&SD raved about a few podcasts ago? Nice light Werewolfy social-deduction party game?

Kickstarter’s due 28 March. Target price is US$100 plus postage. It’s very pretty, but that’s well into “um…” territory for me.


Did they describe it as light? My impression was that it was pretty complicated as these things go.

I don’t know that I’d want to pay $100 for a complicated deduction game I nearly always (if not always) have to moderate, in any case.


Just to chip in on the Root discussion (which I’ve not played), it sounds very similar to other ecosystem strategy games like Chaos in the Old World, Cry Havoc, or Cthulhu Wars. All amazing games with an experienced (or equally inexperienced) set of players, but very difficult to introduce a less skilled player to. Every faction exists in a wonderfully balanced web of power, but if you aren’t being kept in check by your natural predator, it tilts the whole game. When all players know this, it’s a tense, tight game. Throw a new player into the mix and their ‘prey’ will probably stomp to victory.

Less asymmetrical games don’t suffer this as much - teaching someone Inis or Blood Rage is easy as the ecosystem is dynamic and can adjust for a player not pulling their weight. I’d put games like Kemet and Rising Sun somewhere towards the middle of that spectrum as you can pick an initial strategy to go with, but it’s harder to change direction afterwards.

Would Root be better for a group willing to learn it together, rather than a random game night game?


Well that’s a bit nuts. I was pretty interested but I think I’ll stick to Werewolf or Avalon. I don’t think I’m looking for social deduction games with “luxury” felt components, I’d rather just have a simple party-game pack of cards…


I guess that’s just a choice they had to make- more people playing it, or a nicer experience for those who do. The killer is postage.


In my one game of Bloodrage I was storming into a Loki victory, so the owner interceded and told the player to my left not to pass me any more Loki cards. That made it feel quite fragile.


That’s insane! Social deduction games are about having as few props as possible. What is thete to gain from $100 of components?! Or is it going to have some massive D&D handbook style rulebook?


I hear this criticism of Root all the time, and I think it’s valid. However, I’ve always enjoyed the game regardless of who wins, and my group is relatively low key in that regard. I think if you keep the stakes low when teaching and playing it shines as a really awesome game. I think we often unfairly criticize games from a “hardcore gamer” perspective rather than giving them a fair shake as an experience with friends. I love Inis as well, but someone who understands tempo control and hand advantage will stomp someone who doesn’t. That doesn’t make it a bad or good game, and I feel that often many games (not just Root) are criticized in this regard, some unfairly.


their page here has an image of what’s in the box:

It seems to be a fair number of components but I imagine it’s the new manufacturing process that’s increasing the price. I can’t imagine that a pack of cards with the same information would cost anywhere near the same amount.
I know that it contains “three editions” of the game but it still seems like a slightly crazy proposition. I can’t see it being worth it unless you often find yourself in a position to play a large scale party game and want an object that will get people excited. Admittedly with the box playing the role of a book and board for the game master it will be easier to get a group on board with playing but it’s a luxury item for sure.


Is some of that excessive cost going to pay for some good graphic design?



They’re mugging us all off!


I don’t think there’s anything wrong with targeting the game exclusively as a luxury thing, and I don’t think it being a “party game” disqualifies it from that. But certainly if the art direction is final and the experience is as complicated and fiddly for the moderator as it sounds like it would be, I don’t see how this squares up as a luxury product.


At least for BotC it sounds like the moderator will actually have some agency in the game, which should make it more of an interesting role to play, unlike in Werewolf or similarly moderated games.

$100, however, is too high a price for a social deduction game, in my opinion.


I kinda get it if it’s a wooden box with metal medallions for roles and that sort of thing. Secret Hitler did a decent job of making a social deduction game a little but luxurious.

…but it looks like a fairly standard game with lots of cardboard and quite lacklustre (dare I say, amateurish?) graphic design values. They even advertise how many cardboard tokens are in the game (with !!! Exclamation marks !!!) as if that explains it. Well guess what? QUACKS HAS MORE CARDBOARD TOKENS AND IS A THIRD OF THE PRICE! :face_with_hand_over_mouth:

Of course game design itself costs money, but it doesn’t really weigh up with what other games are offering.

…and bloody Papyrus… It’s 2019 guys…


Just got to finalise my pledge for Tainted Grail, and I realised that, Houston, we have a problem.

I have no qualms about backing things and paying for them using PayPal via Kickstarter. I trust KS to some extent, and using PP to keep them at arms length means I am ok with it.

However, I realised with Tainted Grail (and other KS) this is no longer the case. We have all these pledge mangers, and these require a final payment to be made, usually for the shipping. In the case of Tainted Grail, it introduced a completely new (to me at least) pledge manager, and this is not unusual at all. Furthermore, the pledge manager required me to submit personal details such as phone number and required me to pay with an actual credit card, not allowing paypal payments.

These are security trust steps too far for me, and I am not going KS any more because of them.

The worst part is it was already too late - I have paid for my initial pledge and there is no recourse other than to hand over these details to complete the transaction.


As in the font? Are we still doing the thing where we pretend good graphic design is about not picking the fonts everyone agreed to hate while we weren’t looking in the design equivalent of taping a Kick Me sign on someone’s back and giggling at how stupid they must be?

I’m not fond of the way the thing looks as a whole, but I have extremely diminished patience for that nonsense.


It really depends on how it feels to play and the quality of what you’re getting. I’d much rather put in $100 for a really nice, long-lasting version of a game that doesn’t need a bazillion bits and bobs and plays fast but can still be played a lot with the same or different people than $100 for a massive box full of stuff that takes hours upon hours at a time to engage with and is hard to get people into. I already did that with Twilight Imerium, I really don’t need to do it again. :smile:

The catch here is that it is a little more fiddly than a lot of other deduction games and felt-backed cardboard isn’t necessarily in the class of component equality I’m thinking of there, either. Similarly while the massive box might seem like it makes play easier, it also definitely makes carrying the thing harder–something that doesn’t really affect the luxury value of something like Arkham Horror, but substantially cuts into the luxury value of a game best suited to large groups, parties and conventions. This is very much a game made to be lugged around, but it’s not a form factor designed to be lugged around and that’s really unfortunate in such a pricey game.