Because we love Root!

12 minute read

Root is a fantastic asymmetrical game with 8 completely different factions competing over the race to 30 victory points. The artwork is amazing, and the asymmetrical part makes the game so much re-playable.

Perhaps, the biggest drawback of the game is that there are so many minor rules that are either confused or easily missed by beginners, here is the compiled list of rules that you might probably miss.

General rules

  • The factions are set up in the order described in the rule book, but any player can start first, going clockwise order.

  • When the Lizard is present, all cards that are discard or spent by every player, including the dominance card, must go to the lost soul pile first, and these cards will move from lost souls pile to the discard pile during the Birdsong of the Lizard’s turn.

  • When Vagabond is NOT present, you still need to set up ruins, and the ruins remain forever in the game, depriving a building slot in every clearing they are in.

  • If there is no more card from the draw pile, then the cards from the discard pile are shuffled and replace the draw pile. If no card from both draw pile or discard pile for any reason, i.e. lost souls pile are not discarded yet, then players do not draw card.

  • The number of cards each player has is public information. The content of cards, however, are not.

  • The content of all the cards in the discard pile is public information.

  • Unless otherwise specified, token or buildings that are taken our from faction boards are placed back to the boards once they are removed from the map, and must be placed back in the reverse order, i.e. you take out from left to right when building and place back from right to left.

  • You rule with buildings and warriors. You score whenever removing building or token.

  • Crafting is an optional action. Each crafting piece may be activated only once per turn. If the card award you with an item on the map, but that item is no longer available, the card becomes uncraftable, but you do not have to discard it and can use the card for any purpose other than crafting.

  • If you craft on the Daylight, and the card says “Once in a daylight…”, you can use the effect immediately on the same turn.

  • The dominance card can only be activated in the Daylight and victory condition is checked at the start of Birdsong. Say in a specific turn, at the start of Birdsong, you do not rule the required clearings which specified in the dominance card you had earlier played, but later, on the same turn, you can fulfill the requirement, you still have not won, and the game goes on.

  • Dominance card: make available means you put the card somewhere that everyone can see. Any player, on their turn and during the Daylight, can discard a matching suit of the dominance card to take the card, he has the option to activate the card on the same Daylight or just hold the card.

  • You cannot craft or do not need to pay any cost to activate ambush and dominance cards.

  • Players can force hostile with Vagabond by initiating the battle with Vagabond, only if Vagabond kills at least 1 warrior, that faction becomes hostile to Vagabond immediately.

  • Even if the defender has no warriors but only token/building at the clearing, the attacker still has to throw dice in battle.

  • If the defender has no warrior the battle, it is called defenseless and the attacker always add 1 extra hit to the number of hits after throwing the dice. Defenseless still can use ambush card which causes the attacker to remove 2 warriors if the attacker cannot neutralize with another ambush card.

  • Vagabond without undamaged sword is defenseless.

Masquise de Cat

  • The Keep: No player other than the Cat can place pieces in the corner when the Keep is located. They can move in, destroy the Keep, and only then they can start placing the pieces there.

  • The Keep cannot be rebuilt once removed from the map.

  • Field Hospitals:
    • If the Cat initiate battle, lose 2 warriors due to ambush, then subsequently lose warrior(s) due to dice battle, and if he wants to save all, he needs to spend 2 cards: 1 for the ambush and 1 for the battle;
    • If the Cat initiate battle in the Keep, the defender uses the ambush and the Cat uses Field Hospitals to save his 2 warriors, these 2 warriors immediately come back and join the dice battle.
  • Build: The Cat can use woods in any clearing to build, so long as these woods are connected to clearing of the new building, and every clearing connected must be ruled by the cat. Also, if the Cat needs to use more than 1 wood, the woods do not have to come from 1 clearing, but can be from multiple clearings, with any connected clearing ruled by the Cat.

Eyrie Dynasties

  • Birdsong: placing card(s) into decree is mandatory.

  • Daylight: you must resolve decree from left to right order. However, in each column, you can resolve each card in any order. For instance, if there are 1 mouse and 1 rabbit card in Move column, you can first move from rabbit clearing then from mouse clearing, or vice versa.

  • Turmoil: If you run out of warriors or roosts supply, you have to go to turmoil. If your current leader is Charismatic, you must place 2 warriors for every recruit card, and if you do not have enough supply, the turmoil rule still applies.

  • You must resolve decree as long as possible. So if the decree tells you to place 3 warriors but you only have 2 left in the supply, you must place 2 on the map (if possible) then go to turmoil. If you like to voluntarily go to turmoil, you must resolve in a way such that it will naturally lead to turmoil.

Woodland Alliance

  • Outrage: if a player places (not moves) their warriors into the sympathetic clearing, they do not have to give their card. Also, Vagabond pawn is not a warrior, so he does not have to give. However, everyone including Vagabond has to give their card to the W.A player when they remove the token.

  • Martial Law: enforce when there are at least 3 warriors of any one player in the clearing (not total warriors of all factions on the clearing). So if 2 cats and 2 birds on the clearing, Martial Law is not enforced.

  • Number of supporter cards is public, i.e. anyone can ask for this info from the W.A player. However, the content of cards is only accessible by the W.A player.

  • If you do not have base on a particular suit, you cannot revolt the matching clearing. However, if you can build the base but do not have sufficient warriors in supply, you still can revolt, and place as much warriors onto the map and officer box as possible.

  • There is no way you can place sympathy token in the clearing of the keep, including “organize” operation.

  • If the opponent removes both base and sympathy token at the same time, you can get to choose the order or removal, and discard/pick up supporter cards based on the order you choose.

  • If you already purchased Riverfolk’s mercenaries; then placing sympathetic token into clearing with more than 2 Riverfolk’s warriors, you still need to apply martial law.


  • If the Vagabond is at the clearing of revolt or the clearing where favor cards are activated, he must damage 3 undamaged items of his choice. If he does not have up to 3, the remaining hits are ignored.

  • The Vagabond can slip into the hostile faction, without spending extra boot.

  • Explore: When you gain an item by exploring, you place item face up and can be used immediately on the same turn.

  • Damaged/undamaged and refresh/exhausted are 2 different concepts:
    • You can damage an undamaged exhausted item, i.e. when being hit in battle, and place this exhausted item in the damage box.
    • When moving from Satchel to damaged box, keep the state of the item, i.e. do not flip
    • You can refresh damaged items during Birdsong
    • You cannot exhaust damaged items
  • Tea, coin and bag: you can exhaust them for actions that require “any” item, like Aid, and can damage them for battle. However, you must move them into the Satchel, and their effects are lost.

  • Exhausting hammer can only repair one item but do not refresh it (if it is exhausted). Spending a turn in the forest both repair and refresh every item.

  • Evening: if you have to remove item(s) from Satchel, you remove items forever from the current game.

  • Aid: Vagabond can give card any player (even hostile faction) without getting back any crafted item. Players cannot refuse to receive card or prevent Vagabond from taking their crafted items, if they are having. Also, the new crafted item that Vagabond just gained is placed face up and can be used immediately on the same turn.

  • Allied:
    • To reach Allied state with a faction, Vagabond must aid at least 1 card in a turn and gain point => then aid 2 cards in other turn and gain 2 points => then aids 3 cards in another turn, gain 2 points and become Allied.
    • If the Vagabond is required to aid X cards but he can only aid less than X, he still can aid but the relationship marker does not move, and he does not score any point.
    • When reaching allied, the Vagabond can move allied warriors and initiate battle with them, he can decide either himself or the allied will take the hits, but if the allied takes more him than him, the allied immediately becomes hostile. The allied faction, however, cannot move or use Vagabond in battle with them.
    • If the Vagabond moves allied worriers into sympathetic clearings, the Vagabond player pays the card.
  • Hostile:
    • If the Vagabond voluntarily or involuntarily kills at least 1 warrior of any faction (even if factions are allied or in the coalition), the relationship marker moves to hostile box immediately.
    • Killing token or building does not result in hostile.
    • If Vagabond kills more than 1 warriors of non-hostile faction in the same battle, the first death warrior will cause the faction to become hostile to Vagabond, and Vagabond can score victory from the 2nd warrior onwards immediately. Thereafter, any Hostile warrior killed in battle scores 1 point, removing building or token scores 2 each due to Hostile benefit.
    • killing with strike or Scorched Earth does not count as battle so Vagabond does not gain Hostile benefit from them.
  • Two Vagabonds:
    • The Vagabond has no relationship marker for each other. They still can give card to each other, without taking any item back or changing the relationship marker (since there is no marker).
    • The 3 quests are shared by both, whoever completes first will claim the quest and replace another card to the shared quests.
    • Each ruin is filled with 2 items. Each Vagabond can only take 1 item from each type from ruins, which means both Vagabond can have same 4 items from ruins.
  • Dominance card: when activating, the Vagabond must form the coalition with player with lowest victory point. If there are more than 1 player, Vagabond gets to choose who to form the coalition. It is possible to form a 3-party coalition in either of these cases 1) Vagabond 1 activates dominance card to form coalition with the Vagabond 2 and Vagabond 2 later activates another dominance card to form with a faction, or 2) Both Vagabonds activate dominance cards, and the faction with lower victory points happen to be the same.

Lizard Cult

  • All cards that are discarded and spent by every player go to the lost souls pile.

  • The lost soul pile is public and can be examined by anyone at any time.

  • Hatred for birds: bird cards are not wild only for rituals, i.e. when perform ritual in Daylight only. Birds cards are still wild in other cases, i.e. when giving card to W.A due to Outrage, Lizard still gives bird cards.

  • The Outcast: If no suit is dominant (birds card do not count towards any suit), the outcast nation remains the same, and If the outcast is not Hated yet then it becomes Hated.

  • Only warriors who die as the defender in battle will turn into acolytes. Dying as the attacker or ambush or any non-battle situation will not make them acolytes.

The Riverfolk Company

  • When setting up, you can put warriors in any configuration.

  • Players can only purchase service(s) before the Birdsong.

  • Vagabond cannot buy Mercenaries.

  • Vagabond pays for the service by exhausting the same number of items of his choice (including tea, coin, bag) as the cost of service and the Riverfolk put the corresponding number of their warriors in the Payment box. If the Vagabond can refresh enough items but there are not enough Riverfolk warriors in the supply, the Riverfolk puts as much as possible into Payment box and provide service to the Vagabond since the Vagabond has paid the cost.

  • Players only need to pay the Mercenaries service once, and they can use all the Riverfolk warriors on Daylight and Evening of that turn. They cannot move or remove the Mercenaries unless they die in battle. Also, the damages must be split between your own warriors and the Riverfolk’s with the odd hit goes to your own (if your warriors are present in the battle)

  • Similarly, players only need to pay the river service once to treat the entire river as normal path for that turn. They do not have additional move action, but still have to follow instructions from the faction boards to perform Move action.

  • Daylight: There are 3 different things: spend, commit (to commitment box) and commit on the Trade Post Track (when crafting) - spend means you return warriors to respective factions’ supplies; commit means you place the warriors to the commitment box; and commit when crafting means you place warriors onto the vacant circle on the Trade Post Track (only if you have already built the trade post(s), leaving empty space on the track).

  • Recruit: The Riverfolk can choose whichever faction of the warriors to spend.

  • Establish Trade Post: the funds spent must be the warriors of the faction that is ruling on the clearing.

  • Trade posts cannot be placed back into faction boards when removed from the map.

The article is also published on bgg forum and medium.



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