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Tabletop Game / Root

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Root is a board game designed by Cole Wehrle and first released by Leder Games in 2018. It is a fully Asymmetric Multiplayer strategy game telling the burgeoning tension and war that's about to take place in the forest.

Each player takes the role of one of the anthropomorphic animal factions and battle each other for the control of its resources or to spread their ideology.

Games and expansions include:

  • Root: The base game, which includes four factions (the exploitative Marquise de Cat, the stuck-up Eyrie Dynasties, the insidious Woodland Alliance and the independant Vagabond) and two maps.
  • Root: The Riverfolk expansion: The first expansion, which adds two new factions (the radical Lizard Cult and the mercantile Riverfolk Company), a second Vagabond and an automated version of the Marquise de Cat.
  • Root: The Underworld expansion: The second expansion, which adds two new factions (the invasive Underground Duchy and the secretive Corvid Conspiracy) and two new maps.
  • Root: The Clockwork expansion: Contains official versions of four of the bots from the fan-made Better Bot Project.
  • Root: The Exiles and Partisans Deck: An alternate shared deck of cards and two new Vagabonds.


Root contains examples of:

  • Action Bomb: The Favor cards.
    • Played straight with the Favor of the Rabbits who are actually carrying a bomb.
  • After the End: For the Eyrie Dynasties at least. They were once the ruler of the forest before the Marquise de Cat came in and chased them out.
  • The Alliance: The Woodland Alliance is trying to ally the normally-neutral foxes, mice and rabbits who inhabit the forest.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: The Despot leader of the Eyrie Dynasties. Under his reign, you are incentivized to destroy other players' buildings and tokens. And he's a freaking vulture!
  • Armies Are Evil: Once the inhabitants of a clearing are sympathetic to the cause of the Woodland Alliance, it will spark great outrage if any enemy army marches into their homes or if an enemy removes the sympathizers to prevent a potential revolt.
  • Army Scout: The Mice have a Scouting Party card which allow any faction to prevent Ambushes.
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  • Back Story: The rules give an insight into each faction's reason for why they are where they are and why they must do what they do.
  • Badass Adorable: You wouldn't think that such adorable visuals and cute colorful meeples are actually waging a violent war.
  • Badass Army: The Woodland Alliance. After a Revolt, you'll find them extremely difficult to dislodge since they are experts in guerilla.
    • The Eyrie Dynasties start as a 6-man army.
  • Balance Buff: The 3rd printing of the Marquise de Cat made the Field Hospital easier to use.
  • BFS: The Mouse in the Mouse Ambush card.
  • Bird People: The Eyrie Dynasties.
  • Blind Obedience: Once your faction is allied with the Vagabond, he can move your troops, battle with them and assign damage however he wants without your consent at all.
  • Bomb-Throwing Anarchists: The Woodland Alliance's whole strategy is to spread Sympathy and create explosive revolts.
  • Came Back Strong: After having been chased out of the forest, the Eyrie Dynasties are back in numbers.
  • Cat Folk: The Marquise de Cat.
  • Civil War: The principle of the whole game is this.
  • Cute Is Evil: All the factions basically.
  • Death from Above: The Bird Ambush card depicts this.
  • Escort Mission: Sort of. The Vagabond has an Escort quest where he has to exhaust two boots to escort a mouse.
  • Everyone Has a Special Move: The whole game is asymmetric so each player is essentially playing a different game than the others.
    • Each Vagabond has a different special move and a different set of starting items.
    • Each of the Eyrie Dynasties' Leaders have a different passive ability and their Loyal Viziers start in different positions.
  • Evil Colonialist: The Marquise de Cat. While the Marquise herself may not think so, she IS exploiting the forest for its wood while trying to maintain military control over as many clearings as possible.
  • Exact Words: All buildings take up a spot in their clearings, but the Keep despite representing "a building" isn't one at all and doesn't take up a spot.
  • Fan Game: BGG is full of fan-made factions.
  • Fantastic Racism: The base game mainly pits the feline Marquise de Cat against the bird Eyrie Dynasties, with a brewing revolution planned by the Woodland Alliance (represented as mice meeples, but who are actually an alliance between the mice, the foxes and the rabbits).
    • The Marquise de Cat even has an action where sacrifing Bird cards gives them bonus actions.
  • Flavor Text: Most factions have one on their boards and in the rules.
  • Folk Hero: What the Vagabond wants to become by accomplishing the various quests.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: The Tinker Vagabond is one of only two Vagabonds who can get three hammers and craft most of the cards.
  • Gotta Catch Them All: The Vagabond needs to collect as many items as possible. The more he has, the more things he can do.
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: Mostly averted since the Vagabond has a carry limit. As to why he can still move "nimbly" with 12 objets stored in 3 bags while separately carrying 3 teapots and 3 stacks of coins, well...
  • Impoverished Patrician: The Eyrie Dynasties lost everything and start in a single clearing.
  • Inexplicably Identical Individuals: The Woodland Alliance is supposed to be an alliance between the foxes, the mice and the rabbits, and they were supposed to have a mix of fox, mouse and rabbit meeples as their warriors, but ultimately they are all represented as mouse meeples.
  • Kill ’Em All: The Favor cards allow this.
    • The Woodland Alliance's Revolts.
  • Kill It with Fire: The Favor of the Fox card depicts Foxes wielding a torch.
    • The Rabbit Ambush card.
  • Living Forever Is Awesome: The Vagabond can never be removed from play.
  • Luck-Based Mission: The combat system. Even worse if you try to fight against the Woodland Alliance.
  • Luck Manipulation Mechanic: The Woodland Alliance's Guerrilla War ability.
  • Made of Explodium: Beware of the Sympathy tokens or you may have a very violent Revolt coming soon.
  • Magikarp Power: The Woodland Alliance starts with no presence at all on the board. And then, revolts explode...
  • Mega-Corp: Essentially what the Marquise de Cat wants to build.
  • Nerf: The 3rd printing of the Woodland Alliance and Vagabond.
    • The 4th printing further nerfed the Vagabond.
  • No-Sell: The Vagabond can move by ignoring who rules the clearings.
  • One-Hit-Point Wonder: Nearly everything but the Vagabond is destroyed after taking just one damage.
  • One-Man Army: The Vagabond is a single-individual faction and still has the potential to take down armies.
  • Pit Trap: The Sappers card, although you have to craft it in advance for all to see in order to use it, so it also qualifies as a Schmuck Bait.
  • Planet of Hats: Each faction represents a different kind of political movement or group.
  • Police State: The Marquise de Cat. Ruling clearings is very important to her if she wants to build, which is her main way of gaining points.
  • The Power of Friendship: If the Vagabond makes a coalition with another faction, they'll have to help them win the game.
  • The Power of Hate: The Vagabond earns more points when attacking hostile factions.
  • Programming Game: The Eyrie Dynasties' Decree.
  • Properly Paranoid: Other players should be wary of the Sympathy tokens. If you're not careful, you may lose big.
  • Quickly Demoted Leader: Whenever the Eyrie Dynasties go into turmoil, the current Leader is immediately deposed.
  • Randomly Generated Levels: The Winter map.
  • The Remnant: The Eyrie Dynasties.
  • La Résistance: The Woodland Alliance.
  • Resources Management Gameplay: The Marquise de Cat.
    • The Vagabond has to manage the use of his objects.
  • Rugged Scar: The Ranger Vagabond has one over his left blind eye.
  • Shamed by a Mob: When the Eyrie Dynasties go into turmoil, they are publicly humiliated and lose victory points, their current decree is torn apart and their current leader is sacked.
  • Shown Their Work: The designer posted a lot of Designer Diaries on BGG, giving insights into his thought process and motivations.
  • Slave Race: The forest folks. Serves as a reason for revolution to the Woodland Alliance.
  • Spiritual Successor: Root succeeds to Vast: The Crystal Caverns, Leder Games' other asymmetric title.
  • Stone Wall: The Woodland Alliance's Guerrilla War makes their armies incredibly hard to fight against.
  • Take Me Instead: Armourers absorb damage by being discarded. This is thematic since all the cards you spend represent the forest folk working for you.
  • Take Over the World: The Eyrie Dynasties' goal.
  • Time to Unlock More True Potential: The Woodland Alliance's revolt activates their Evening actions where they now become a militaristic faciton.
  • Tree Cover: The Fox Ambush card.
  • True Neutral: The Vagabond's allegiance starts as such and can change at any moment.
  • Variable Player Goals: The first player to get to 30 victory points wins, but the way in which each player gains those points varies vastly from one player to another.
  • We Help the Helpless: The Vagabond's quests are these.
  • Zerg Rush: The Eyrie Dynasties' Charismatic Leader makes this very easy.

Root: The Riverfolk expansion contains examples of:

  • Arms Dealer: The Riverfolk Company.
  • Attack on One Is an Attack on All: The Lizard Cult gains Acolytes if they are attacked by the other factions. This in turn allows them to foment conspiracies, their strongest abilities.
  • Balance Buff: The 3rd printing of the Lizard Cult.
  • Bomb-Throwing Anarchists: The Scoundrel Vagabond's.
  • Brainwashed: Lizard Cult's Convert action allows them to convert any ennemy warrior to their faith.
  • Clockwork Creature: The Mechanical Marquise.
  • Coop Multiplayer: There's a coop mode against the Mechanical Marquise.
  • Cult: The Lizard Cult.
  • Kill It with Fire: The Scoundrel Vagabond (Riverfolk)'s Scorched Earth ability.
  • Lizard Folk: The Lizard Cult.
  • My Death Is Just the Beginning: The Lizard Cult gains new Acolytes after one of their kinds dies while defending in combat.
  • Fantastic Racism: The Lizard Cult have a deep hatred for birds, so Birds cannot act as jokers for their rituals and can never be chosen as outcasts.
  • Hired Guns: The Riverfolk Company's Mercenaries and the Arbiter Vagabond can all be hired for combat.
  • Mechanical Lifeforms: The Mechanical Marquise.
  • Mind Manipulation: Lizard Cult's Convert action is essentially this, converting a warrior to their faith.
  • No-Sell: The Lizard Cult's Gardens supplants the Eyrie Dynasties's rule.
  • One-Man Army: The Arbiter Vagabond is the only Vagabond who can get five swords, enabling him to fight up to five times with maximum damage.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: The Scoundrel Vagabond.
  • Playing Both Sides: The Instigator Vagabond.
  • The Power of Hate: The Lizard Cult's Acolytes allow them to do conspiracies based on who are the outcast creatures. Those conspiracies get even better if the outcast is hated.
  • Resources Management Gameplay: The Lizard Cult has to build their hand of cards.
    • The Riverfolk Company has to cleverly manage their funds.
  • Slave Race: The forest folks again. The most used color of a round will determine the Outcast.
  • Warrior Monk: The Lizard Cult, especially after gaining some Acolytes.
  • Zerg Rush: The Lizard Cult can pop up almost everywhere.

Root: The Underworld expansion contains examples of:

Root: The Clockwork expansion contains examples of:

Root: The Exiles and Partisans Deck contains examples of:

  • Blind Obedience: The False Orders card.
  • Brainwashed: The Propaganda Bureau card emulates the Lizard Cult's Convert conspiracy.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: The Adventurer Vagabond is one of only two Vagabonds who can get three hammers and craft most of the cards.
  • MacGyvering: The Adventurer Vagabond can use any item in place of the requested one by breaking it.
  • Mind Manipulation: The Propaganda Bureau card.
  • No-Sell: Several of the craftable cards allow the players to bend the rules, e.g. Boat Builders, Corvid Planners


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