Root Board Game Review

Although Root: A Game of Woodland Might and Right has only been out for a few years, it’s already garnered a reputation as one of the very best board games on the market today. Regardless of a games reputation, however, it’s important to really take a closer look at how a game works before you buy it. After all, buying a new board game can be a relatively expensive commitment.

That’s where we come in! In this article I’ll give a full Root board game review. I’ll also give tips about which factions to choose, and which strategies to employ.

Overall, Root is an intensely fun game of strategy, warfare and adventure. If any of these elements appeal to you in the slightest, I highly recommend that you give it a try.

If you’re interested in trying Root then you’ve came to the right place. In this article, I’ll go over the base game, the expansions, the digital versions, and more. Read on for an in-depth review.

Table of Contents

  1. What is Root?
  2. How Many Players Is It For?
  3. How Do You Setup the Game?
  4. What Happens on a Turn?
  5. How Do You Win?
  6. General Strategies
  7. Faction Breakdowns and Mechanics
  8. Review Summary
  9. Root Expansions
  10. Root On The Nintendo Switch
  11. Conclusion

What is Root A Game of Woodland Might and Right?

Root is an asymmetric board game published by Leder Games in 2018 that features fast-paced war and puts each player in control of their own faction.

Asymmetry in a board game means that each player plays the game a bit differently.

The base game has four different factions for players to choose from. Each player is tasked with gaining control of the forest and leading their faction to victory. Not every faction functions the same way however.

Every faction has unique rules and gameplay. Marquise de Cat, for example, scores points by building structures throughout Woodland. The Eyrie Dynasties, on the other hand, score points by building and maintaining roosts. The Woodland Alliance faction scores points by spreading sympathy for their cause throughout the land. And last but not least, the Vagabond faction scores points by either helping or sabotaging the three other factions.

All of this makes for incredibly interesting and varied gameplay. If you’re somebody who gets bored with the more typical, cut-and-dry type board games, Root could be perfect for you.

Leder Games | Root: A Game of Woodland Might and Right

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02/19/2024 02:31 am GMT

How Many Players Is It For?

Root can be played with two to four players if you have just the base game. If you have all of the expansions, however, you can play with as many as 10 players, or as few as just one. As with a lot of board games. Root is at its best when you have at least three players. It is, however, still surprisingly fun with just two.

RELATED: Best Board Games for 2 People

How Do You Setup The Game?

root board game setup

Choose Factions

First off, if you’re playing with three players, remove the Vagabond faction from the game. If you’re playing with just two players, you need to also remove the Woodland Alliance faction.

A two player game is essentially between the Eyrie Dynasty and the Marquise De Cat.

Set the Score Cards to Zero

Each faction comes with their own score card. At the beginning of the game, the first thing you’ll want to do is make sure every player’s score card is set to zero.

Deal Out the Cards

Next up, you’re going to take the shared deck, shuffle it, and deal three cards to each player.

Place the Ruins on the Map

On the map, you’ll notice four slots marked with the letter R. You need to place one of the four ruin markers on each of those slots.

Place the Item Supply

There are 12 item markers with six different symbols on them, two markers for each symbol. You’ll need to gather these up and place them on the map. Each marker has a matching slot on the board, so placing them on the right spots is easy.

Gather the Remaining Pieces

Next up you’ll want to hand out the 16 faction overview cards to the players. There will also be two custom dice. You’ll want to place those somewhere near the map just to have them ready.

Set Up the Factions

Last but not least, players need to set up their factions using the instructions on the back of their faction cards. You have to set up the factions in a particular order though. Marquise sets up first, followed by Eyrie, then Alliance, and lastly Vagabond.

What Happens on a Turn?

Each turn consists of three different phases, Birdsong, Daylight and Evening. You play through each phases of the turn in order, drawing cards, discarding, moving pieces, crafting items, etc. And then, when you’re finished, you pass the turn to the player on your left.

How Do You Win?

In Root, the first faction to reach 30 victory points wins the game. Each faction earns victory points a bit differently then the other factions. Marquise de Cat scores by building structures. The Eyrie Dynasties, on the other hand, score points by building and maintaining their roosts throughout Woodland. The Alliance faction scores points by gaining sympathy for their cause. And lastly, the Vagabond faction scores by winning battles, and by helping or sabotaging the other factions.

General Strategies


One of the most exciting aspects of Root, is the combat system. During each of your turns, you can execute a number of actions depending on your particular faction. You can build, you can move, and, most excitingly, you can attack.

If you choose to attack, you roll two dice. The attacker deals a number of hits equal to the higher roll, and the defender deals hits equal to the lower roll. Neither player can deal more hits than the number of warriors they have in the particular clearing, however. The person who took more hits chooses which of their tokens to remove from the clearing.

Although this is definitely exciting, attacking isn’t always the best course of action, especially if you don’t have a lot of actions.

That said, it’s important to choose your attacks carefully. You don’t want to waste all of your building opportunities by taking out random soldiers. It’s just not worth it.

On the other hand, attacking becomes smart when you can target your opponents undefended structures, or destroy a force that will probably destroy one of your important structures.

Choosing Your Starting Position

During your first game of Root, you probably won’t put too much thought or effort into where you start the game. As you progress, however, you’ll quickly realize that the starting position can make a big difference. This is especially true if you’re a proactive player who likes to plan ahead.

Each corner of the board has its own strengths and weakness, and none of them are a terrible option for any given fraction. With that said, however, it’s a good idea to put some thought into which corner you pick if you want to really get competitive.

RELATED: The Best Cooperative Board Games

Faction Breakdowns and Mechanics

Marquise de Cat

marquise de cat setup

Marquise de Cat is the main “bad guy” faction, and playing it can be a blast since the entire game revolves around your actions.

You start out controlling nearly the entire forest, and the other factions are tasked with taking it from you. They will do just that. Rather than trying to defend or recapture it all, the Cat’s best strategy is usually to sit back and build as much as possible. This is because the Marquise de Cat faction gets the most points out of anybody for successfully crafting. They also get the fewest opportunities to attack.

Overall, if you choose the Marquise de Cat faction, you’ll want to focus on building and earning victory points as fast as possible.

The Eyrie Dynasties

eyries dynasty root setup

The Eyrie Dynasties faction has the most powerful military in the game. If you’re fond of attacking and capturing, this is the faction for you.

The Eyrie Dynasties also has a pretty easy time crafting, and they get to rule clearings in the case of a tie. Pretty sweet, right?

So what’s not to love about The Eyrie Dynasties faction? Well, it takes a lot of effort and strategy to play well. If you enjoy acting impulsively, this probably isn’t the faction for you. They also rely pretty heavily on card draw.

The Woodland Alliance

woodland alliance setup

The Woodland Alliance is the “rebel” faction, if you will, and playing it can be really fun. Like the Cats, the Woodland Alliance doesn’t need to win a lot of battles to win the game. Instead, you’ll want to drop your tokens and start building sympathy for your cause.

The main downside, in my opinion for this faction, is that it might have the least varied gameplay. It’s definitely best to stick to your main game plan with the Woodland Alliance. That said, winning the game as the Woodland Alliance is a real blast. The gameplay for this faction might not be the most varied, but it’s still super rewarding.

The Vagabond

vagabond root setup

Playing as the Vagabond faction is amazingly fun, but also surprisingly difficult. The Vagabond has multiple paths to victory. As the Vagabond you can earn victory points the traditional ways, by crafting and removing tokens. Your progress will be slower through these avenues compared to your opponents, however.

The best ways to earn victory points as the Vagabond is by fighting, clearing ruins, completing quests, and coming to the aid of other factions.

Vagabonds can do it all. This is by far the most versatile of all the four base factions. This variety can make it a bit harder for new players. Once you get the hang of the game, however, the Vagabond is an awesome option if you like to keep your strategy flexible.

RELATED: Best Strategy Board Games For Adults

Review Summary

Root is one the most deep, innovative and overall fun board games in existence. In a world full of derivative and repetitive games, Root stands out as a unique, refreshing, board game. If you haven’t tried it, I highly recommend doing so.

Root Expansions Review

Root: The Riverfolk Expansion

Leder Games | Root: The Riverfolk Expansion

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The first expansion released for Root., the Riverfolk expansion adds two new factions for players to choose from. It also introduces a “bot” version of the Marquise de Cat. To use the bot, you simply follow the instructions included in the supplemental rules. This allows the bot faction to build and fight as if there was a real player controlling it.

This expansion not only adds more variety to an already awesome game, but it also expands the player threshold. With the Riverfolk Expansion you can play with as few as just one player, or as many as six.

Root: The Underworld Expansion

Leder Games | Root: The Underworld Expansion
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02/18/2024 08:06 pm GMT

Root: The Underworld Expansion adds another two factions to the game. In this expansion players are introduced to the Underground Duchy and Corvid Conspiracy factions. I really like the flavor of the Underworld expansion. The new factions have fun and interesting mechanics, and the two new maps really expand the gameplay.

Root: The Clockwork Expansion

Leder Games | Root: The Clockwork Expansion
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02/18/2024 07:46 am GMT

This expansion is different than the previous ones in that it doesn’t add any new factions. Instead, it allows players to play against “bot” versions of any of the four original factions from the base game. Root: The Clockwork Expansion is a must have if you’re planning on playing Root by yourself, or with just two people.

Root: The Exiles and Partisans Deck

Leder Games | Root: The Exiles and Partisans Deck

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02/19/2024 01:41 am GMT

The Exiles and Partisans Deck is a whole new deck you can purchase to swap out with the original deck. Honestly, the gameplay in Root is varied and deep enough to keep you and your friends coming back again and again without any expansions or new decks. That said, however, the Exiles and Partisans deck does add an extra boost of fun and variety once you’ve put in a lot of miles with the original deck.

Root: The Marauder Expansion

Root The Board Game - Marauder Pledge/Expansion [Bundle 3 Items]

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Root: The Marauder Expansion is the newest expansion and the first one in years to give us new factions! Root’s two newest factions are the Lord of the Hundreds, and the Keepers in Iron. The Marauder expansion also adds an interesting new mechanic to the game in the form of Hirelings.

Hirelings aren’t part of any faction, but can be used by all players. The main purpose of Hirelings is to spice up two or three player games. There’s already enough going on in four player games, so Hirelings aren’t really needed there, in my opinion.

Root On The Nintendo Switch

A digital version of Root was released in 2020 for PC, ios, and Android. The following year, the digital version was also released as a Nintendo Switch game. If you’re thinking of trying out Root, but don’t want to commit to getting the physical version, Root for the Switch is an amazing alternative.

Almost everything I’ve said in this Root board game review also applies to the Nintendo Switch version. It still has all the same strategy and fun. You’ll just be playing it digitally instead of in person. The Switch game is also a great way to play the game by yourself, since you’ll have easy access to AI opponents.


I hope you’ve enjoyed this Root board game review, and I really hope you’ll decide to give the game a try for yourself.

Until next time, I wish you and your friends/family the best of luck with all of your gaming adventures!

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Joe Doak

I started playing Magic in 2015 after impulsively buying a fat-pack of Khans of Tarkir. It didn't take long for me to fall in love with the game, and it's been a big part of my life ever since. Nowadays, I play moslty Modern, Commander, and Limited, but also enjoy keeping up with Standard. Whatever the format, I always find a way to brew up janky decks, convince myself they're great, get proven wrong, and love every second of it.