Root: The Clockwork Expansion

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Root is a superb game of woodland might by Leder Games. It’s fast becoming one of the most popular asymmetrical war games on the market today. Some people say that it really shines when played at full capacity – four players. But what if you don’t have a fourth player? Up steps Root: The Clockwork Expansion, to the rescue!Root: The Clockwork Expansion offers you the flexibilit…
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Tag SKU ZBG-LED01009 Availability 3+ in stock
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Awards

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You Might Like

  • Makes Root so enjoyable for solo/two-player games
  • Easy to follow
  • Blend into a regular game perfectly

Might Not Like

  • Thing’s you might not like
  • Doesn’t interact well with the Riverfolk Company from the first expansion
  • Not necessary for bigger, dedicated groups
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Description

Root is a superb game of woodland might by Leder Games. It’s fast becoming one of the most popular asymmetrical war games on the market today. Some people say that it really shines when played at full capacity – four players. But what if you don’t have a fourth player? Up steps Root: The Clockwork Expansion, to the rescue!

Root: The Clockwork Expansion offers you the flexibility to enjoy Root to its intended, maximum experience. There’s no need to fret, regardless of a lack of players around the table! The four regular factions from the base, you already know. The Marquise de Cat, The Eyrie, The Woodland Alliance, and the lone Vagabond. In The Clockwork Expansion, each of these factions get some awesome, automated abilities! They’re still illustrated in Kyle Ferrin’s familiar, delightful art style.

You could play against the Mechanical Marquise 2.0. But what if a human player wants to play as the feline faction, themselves? No problem – instead you could square up to The Electric Eyrie. Is the Automated Alliance is the challenge you seek? Or you could always try your luck against the reclusive raccoon – the Vagabot!

As well as using these automated faction to bump up player count, they also work if you want to give Root a co-operative edge. For this expansion, Benjamin Schmauss has teamed up with Root designer Cole Wehrle. It’s as smooth as running clockwork! Please not that Root: The Clockwork Expansion requires the base game of Root to function.

Player Count: 1-3 Players
Time: 60-90 minutes
Age: 10+

Following the roaring success of its 2018 release Root, Leder Games has brought a new member into its woodland family: Root Clockwork. With new automated versions for the four base factions, Clockwork allows for solo play and lets you have more freedom with the factions you choose. Given Root's asymmetry, smaller groups were limited by the abilities of the factions they chose, but no longer! Now players can choose the smaller factions, such as the Vagabond, and choose an automated larger faction to play against. So, let's find out what it is that makes Root Clockwork tick.

If You Go down to the Woods Today…

Root's an asymmetrical war game, disguised by cute woodland creatures. This means the base factions have different end goals alongside different styles of play. The Eyrie can swoop in for attacks but if their rigid government falls apart, they're toast. The Vagabond must sneak around, forming alliances and crafting items. This asymmetry is what makes Root, but also means the game struggles at lower player counts. Luckily, The Clockwork Expansion is here.

This isn't the woodland's first clockwork faction. The Riverfolk Expansion, up to six players could join the fray. Players were introduced to the first mechanised menace: the Mechanical Marquise. This faction was… not the best. The Steampunk tabbies didn't play well, and the faction didn't work anywhere near as well as an extra player.

However, Leder Games have four shiny new mechanical factions for us, and it's a marked improvement. They slot into regular games of Root neatly, freeing players up to choose the smaller factions. Now, groups of two or three are no longer confined to the same factions. You can play as the Lizard Cult, or the Woodland Alliance, or whichever takes your fancy.

Root's designer, Cole Wehrle, has done a great job of tweaking the factions so they still play with the panache they do in the base game. Despite being automated, each one plays like its original counterpart in regular gameplay and there are no sharp edges. Each bot shares an ability which means they can't have a hand of cards. However, Wehrle has designed a workaround so that the factions can still work and interact with the Vagabond.

One small issue. On the Electric Eyrie's clockwork board there is an error causing it to loop. Luckily, Leder Games have issued a fix for the first printing and the later boards will be fixed.

A Game of Might and Right

 Playing with The Clockwork Expansion doesn't feel too dissimilar to a regular game of Root at all. Aside from placing number tokens on each clearing to show its Order. This helps determine movement, attack, or building priority for the automated factions. Aside from this, all the pieces remain the same and the game plays (mostly) as usual. The clockwork factions have their own new rules, which are all laid out in the Law of Rootbotics included in the expansion.

As usual, each faction has an explanation for its rules on its player board and so there is no need to keep flicking back and forth. To spice up gameplay, each faction has new Trait and Difficulty cards ranging from Easy to Nightmare, so if you're a seasoned player or if you're new to the Woodland, there's something extra for you. Also, fans of the Vagabond like myself will be pleased to know that there are three mechanical cards so you can choose which Vagabond to play as.

Tick Tock on the Clock(work)

The Clockwork Expansion seems to solve the biggest issue with Root. It makes the game not just playable but enjoyable for groups of fewer than three people. This expansion has been a lifesaver for me as I adore Root, but struggle to find a group for it, and so it has breathed new life into my Root experience. While this expansion is still fun for larger groups if you want to all explore the smaller factions from the base game and expansions, it's in smaller groups where Clockwork really shines. Also, in 2022 Leder Games will be releasing a second Clockwork Expansion featuring the factions from the Riverfolk and Underworld expansions. This will also feature new trait cards to add even more pizzazz to the first clockwork expansion, so fans should be excited to see what's in store.

It would also be remiss to not mention Kyle Ferrin's work, as he has done yet another stellar job on the artwork for this expansion. The player boards are gorgeous, and the mechanical critters are just so cool. Along with the boards, the box itself is a piece of art and feels like it was designed with care. Root Clockwork is a must have for smaller groups/solo players who want to get the most out of Root. It works perfectly on the various maps and expansions in the series and makes Root more accessible.

Zatu Score

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You might like

  • Makes Root so enjoyable for solo/two-player games
  • Easy to follow
  • Blend into a regular game perfectly

Might not like

  • Things you might not like
  • Doesnt interact well with the Riverfolk Company from the first expansion
  • Not necessary for bigger, dedicated groups