Finally had another FtF day on the 20th. Sadly, a last second cancellation left us at three people: me, Dave, and Jason.

First up was Root, which I’d gotten for Christmas. I nearly got to try it out well over a month ago, be we had to cancel for a Covid scare. (Baron didn’t have it, but got a cold or flu which took him about a week to properly recover from.)

I’d played around with the bits right after getting it, but hadn’t done more than that, other than read the rules. First off, as a package, it is really well produced. The art is well done, with a nice whimsical air when needed. Rules questions tended to be relatively minor and easily solved. That said, there’s a few things the ‘main’ rule book would benefit from having along with being in “Learning to Play” book; notably, which factions are recommended at less than four players.

Dave took the Marquise, Jason the Eyrie, and I tried the Woodland Alliance. Dave set up shop in the upper right corner of the map, putting the Eyrie in the lower left, and soon that corner of the board turned into a battleground, with the central fox clearing gathering mighty armies that couldn’t really be defeated.

I had a couple plays in the first turn or so that generated VPs, but I ended up stalling myself out for two-three turns as sympathy hit the point where I needed two cards per clearing. I then started a rabbit revolt in the lower right clearing, and then stalled out again, as I slowly recruited and worked out their action economy.

The Eyrie made steady progress up the VP track, initially a bit behind the Marquise, but then passed it in a ‘slow and steady’ race. Dave put out the rabbit Dominance card, and lunged after Jason’s initial roost, giving him control of the three rabbit clearings needed. Jason didn’t have a great way to stop it, but some thinking got us through the puzzle of at least making his Decree work for another turn. I could interfere with what Dave was doing, but still didn’t have what it took to break his hold on the nearest rabbit clearing. And if I did, then Jason would win when his roosts put his VPs to 30.

Overall reactions to the game are a bit muted, but I think the game is currently punching below its weight as it needs people who’ve seen how things work to really sing. Certainly, the Woodland Alliance needs some careful planning to get going, and I learned a lot about that.

That took us to lunch (it is a fairly quick game), and we tried out The Oregon Trail Card Game that Dave got for Christmas. Surprisingly, I was the only one of the three of us with memories of playing the original game (or, really, my grade school class playing it in unison around second grade). The rules are fairly simple, as is the overall package, and fairly clever for the simple job it’s trying to do. The game admits that its a fairly tough co-op; and the main secret is there are a number of events (excuse me, calamities) that are insta-death for whoever draws it. In fact, three of us all died to those just a bit before hitting the halfway mark.
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