The Riverfolk Expansion is to Root as finishing one burrito is to starting a second: It’s the natural next step.
Jeremiah & Kara
Publisher: Leder Games
Designer: Cole Wehrle
Artist: Kyle Ferrin
Game Type: Area Control
Game Type: War Game
Game Type: Asymmetrical Factions
Initial Year of Release:2019
Age Range: 14+
Expected Playtime: 90 – 120 minutes
Number of Players: 1-6
Theme and What is it?
Root: The Riverfolk Expansion introduces lizard cultists and business beavers (or maybe they’re otters? No one knows — you decide) to the whimsical, wild, and also deadly world of Root. With the expansion, 1- 6 players will engage in a magnificent battle for control of the entire forest. By managing their supplies, beefing up their warriors, and destroying their opponents, one player will emerge victorious. Blood-soaked maybe, but also victorious
*Note: The fancy tokens pictured here are personally-acquired upgrades that are not included in the base game or the expansion.
What does it add?
Considering how small the expansion box is, and how little actually comes inside it, it’s baffling just how much it actually adds! The Riverfolk Expansion introduces 2 new asymmetrical factions, a second Vagabond, and an A.I. Faction which enhances solo as well as competitive play, and enables the new cooperative variant!
The two new factions, The Lizard Cult and the Riverfolk Company, are spectacular.They seem to require quite a bit of extra thinking and strategizing than you might expect.
The Lizard Cult takes a gentler approach to winning forest-domination. They tend to the forest’s outcasts – the hated, forgotten, the overlooked – and welcome them into their cult – erm, I mean. . . their cause. Slowly, but surely, the Lizards build up an impressive (and sometimes radical) following which enables them to spread across the map, converting enemy warriors into fellow Lizardians, and waging war where necessary.
The Riverfolk Company is just that – a company! They’re merchants! The Riverfolk Company builds trade posts around the board, and specializes in providing the warring factions with things that they need – supplies, transport, mercenaries – you name it, they’ve got it. Probably. The only trouble is, they don’t accept money. Instead, in order to buy one of their services, players have to give the Company a certain number of warriors from their supply. The Riverfolk Company can then put these warriors to work for themselves, sending them out to procure new supplies, instigate fights, and set up shop in new clearings.
The second Vagabond is just like the original, but now you can play a game with two vagabonds! This would definitely increase the amount of trade, alliances, and back-stabbing that happen in a game!
The Riverfolk Expansion also comes with an A.I. faction called “The Mechanical Marquis”. It’s just like the regular Marqius faction, but all the cats are robots. Savvy? The Mechanical Marquis operates on a really simple A.I. system that sends the freaky felines whizzing through the forest, obliterating anyone who might get in their way. The addition of the Mechanical Marquis also makes the cooperative mode possible– instead of trying to destroy each other, players can unite against the robotic monstrosity and take back the forest together.
What does it fix/ break?
As far as I can tell, the expansion doesn’t break or fix anything. The new factions seem well-balanced, but they’re definitely more intricate than some of the factions in the base game. The Lizard Cult has to pay close attention to which cards their opponents are discarding, where their followers are, and where they need to go in order to be most effective. The Riverfolk Company adds a new layer of player interaction through their trade talents, and has to be aware of which of their services might be in high demand so they can get the payments they need to rise above their opponents.These slightly more thinky factions are so much fun, and mesh perfectly with those from the base game, but they’re probably meant to be played by those already familiar with Root.
Do I want this?
I can’t speak for you, because like, I don’t actually know you. But if you like Root as much as I do, this is definitely something you want! The Lizard Cult and Riverfolk Company are marvelously brilliant; the Mechanical Marquis and cooperative variant open up so many new ways to play! Everything about the expansion is exquisitely engrossing, and completely captivating. Just thinking about it makes my brain hungry for more.
Do I need this?
The Root base game is incredible on its own, so I can’t imagine someone would ever need an expansion. But maybe Root is one of your favorite games, and you’ve played it over and over, and now somehow, the game has started to feel same-y. If that’s the case, then this expansion would definitely mix things up and get fresh blood pumping through that violence-ridden forest again. It’s new, it’s fascinating, and it just reeks of replayability.
The Riverfolk Expansion is to Root as finishing one burrito is to starting a second: It’s the natural next step. For anyone enamored with the base game, you can’t go wrong with the expansion. It’s interesting, it’s entertaining, and it ushers in a whole new world of game-based possibilities. If you love Root, and you’re looking to take that next step, definitely consider The Riverfolk Expansion.
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