How To Play: Root – Setup, rule summary and strategy

In this comprehensive strategy guide for Root, we have explored the captivating world of faction warfare in the forest. Armed with an understanding of gameplay mechanics, including territory control, resource management, timing and sequencing, and the art of alliances and diplomacy, you are equipped to conquer the challenges that lie ahead. With each faction presenting unique abilities, goals, and playstyles, you must navigate the strategic landscape with precision and adaptability.

From establishing dominance in territories to managing scarce resources, your decisions will shape the outcome of the game. Observing the flow of the game, negotiating beneficial alliances, and carefully timing your actions can swing the balance of power in your favor. Remember, victory lies in maximizing your faction's strengths while exploiting your opponent's weaknesses.

Root is a game that rewards strategic thinking, tactical finesse, and the ability to adapt to shifting circumstances. Through meticulous planning, cunning diplomacy, and well-executed sequences of actions, you will pave the way to victory. However, success requires constant vigilance, as the forest landscape is ever-changing.

Now, it's time to embark on your journey through the world of Root. Harness your strategic prowess, make shrewd decisions, and demonstrate your mastery of faction warfare. Will you emerge as the true ruler of the forest? The outcome is in your hands!


Welcome to the ultimate strategy guide for Root, where we will explore the game dynamics and reveal the most effective strategies for conquering the forest and claiming victory. Whether you are a veteran strategist or a newcomer to the world of tabletop gaming, this guide will provide you with an in-depth understanding of the game rules and arm you with the knowledge to outsmart your opponents.

In this guide, we will delve into the captivating gameplay mechanics, offering insights into territory control, resource management, timing and sequencing, and the art of alliances and diplomacy. Each section will provide you with expert strategies, tips, and tactical considerations to maximize your chances of triumph. We will reveal the strengths and weaknesses of the different factions, helping you find the best faction that aligns with your playstyle and optimizing your faction-specific abilities.

From understanding the importance of territorial dominance to leveraging your resources effectively, we will equip you with the necessary tools to master the nuances of Root. Whether you align yourself with the cunning Vagabond, the rebellious Woodland Alliance, the mighty Marquise de Cat, or the commanding Eyrie Dynasty, this guide will unveil the most effective approaches to achieving victory with each faction.

Get ready to dive into the intricacies of Root, cultivate your strategic mindset, and embark on an epic journey to shape the forest realm. It’s time to leave your mark and emerge as the ultimate ruler of the forest!

What’s in the box

  • Game board
  • 4 faction boards
  • 1 Vagabond board
  • 4 faction mats
  • Role cards
  • Woodland Alliance sympathy markers
  • Eyrie roosts and bird cards
  • Marquise buildings and cards
  • Vagabond items and quests
  • Cardboard tokens
  • Wooden meeples and tokens
  • Player and reference aids
  • Event cards
  • Rulebook

How To Play Root: Rules Summary


  1. Place the game board in the center of the play area.
  2. Give each player a faction board, faction mat, player aid, meeples, cards, tokens, and other components according to their chosen faction.
  3. Shuffle the event deck and place it face down.

Turn Order

The game progresses through a linear turn structure wherein each player takes turns one at a time.

  1. Draw cards to refresh your hand.
  2. Perform Birdsong actions, followed by Daylight actions, and finally, Evening actions.
  3. Draw an event card and resolve its effects.


  1. Recruit: Place meeple(s) from your supply onto a clearing you control.
  2. Move: Move meeple(s) between clearings or along paths.
  3. Battle: Roll dice and apply modifiers when attacking or defending.
  4. Build: Add or upgrade buildings in your control, spending resources.
  5. Revolt: Remove opponent’s control, replacing it with your own in a clearing with sympathy.
  6. Aid: Provide aid to other factions by removing their warrior markers and gaining benefits.
  7. Slip: Move along paths more covertly as the Vagabond faction.
  8. Craft: Spend resources and cards to add items to your inventory as the Vagabond.
  9. Quest: Complete quests to gain victory points and benefits as the Vagabond faction.

Victory and Game End

The game concludes when a player achieves their faction’s victory condition or when the event deck is exhausted.

  1. Calculate victory points based on achieved objectives.
  2. The player with the highest score is declared the winner.

These are the basic rules of playing Root, providing you with a solid foundation to embark on your journey through the forest. Remember to consult the specific faction rules for additional abilities and victory conditions. Now, gather your forces, devise your strategies, and embrace the exciting world of Root!

Best Root Strategies

Understanding the Factions

To become a true master of Root, it is crucial to have a deep understanding of the various factions and their unique abilities and playstyles. Each faction presents its own challenges and strengths, and leveraging these attributes in the right way can significantly impact your chances of victory.

Marquise de Cat

  1. Focus on building and controlling territories.
  2. Expand your presence steadily, but be cautious of spreading too thin.
  3. Maintain a strong military force.
  4. Establish efficient supply lines.
  5. Utilize your buildings strategically for maximum impact.

Eyrie Dynasty

  1. Plan your bird card actions and commitments carefully.
  2. Balance between expanding and maintaining control.
  3. Pay attention to the decree and dominance track to stay in power.
  4. Form alliances to mitigate vulnerability.
  5. Strategically choose when to add new roosts.

Woodland Alliance

  1. Spread sympathy to gain support and influence.
  2. Coordinate chaos through organized revolts.
  3. Use guerilla warfare tactics against opponents.
  4. Destroy enemy buildings and support from the shadows.
  5. Timing and deception are key to success.


  1. Build relationships with other players for maximum cooperation.
  2. Complete quests to gain valuable rewards.
  3. Effectively utilize your unique abilities and items.
  4. Strike a balance between helping others and advancing your own agenda.
  5. Adapt your strategy based on your relationships with other factions.

Understanding the intricacies of each faction and utilizing their abilities to your advantage can make all the difference in your pursuit of victory. By studying the strengths and weaknesses of each faction and devising strategies specific to their playstyles, you will position yourself for success on the journey to becoming the ultimate ruler of the forest.

Resource Management

Effective resource management is a key component in gaining an advantage and securing victory in Root. Properly managing your resources will allow you to seize opportunities, expand your influence, and outmaneuver your opponents.

<H5.Controlled Expanditure

  1. Expand strategically, focusing on territories that yield valuable resources.
  2. Prioritize the acquisition of key resources for your faction.
  3. Balance between aggressive expansion and upkeep costs.
  4. Consider trading or negotiating resources with other players to meet specific needs.
  5. Adapt your resource management strategy based on the fluctuating game state.

<H5.Strategic Crafting

  1. Evaluate the benefits and costs of crafting items carefully.
  2. Prioritize crafting decisions based on the specific needs and goals of your faction.
  3. Consider long-term benefits when deciding which items to craft.
  4. Monitor the availability of resources and adjust your crafting strategy accordingly.
  5. Take advantage of crafted items to boost your faction’s abilities and gain an edge.

<H5.Income Optimization

  1. Maximize your income through efficient use of actions and resources.
  2. Balance between investing in economic growth and immediate actions.
  3. Plan ahead to generate a steady flow of income and maintain flexibility.
  4. Levying taxes or using other faction-specific actions to gain additional resources.
  5. Strategically spend your hard-earned resources to reap substantial benefits.

Mastering the art of resource management in Root will allow you to effectively navigate the complex world of the forest and secure a formidable position among your opponents. Develop a strategy that maximizes resource utilization, plan ahead for future needs, and adapt to changing circumstances to excel in your resource management endeavors.

Territory Control

Controlling territories is of utmost importance in Root as it determines your influence, resources, and potential for expansion. Effective territory control allows you to assert dominance, secure key regions, and gain a strategic advantage over your opponents.

<H5.Priority Targeting

  1. Identify territories with valuable resources or positional advantages.
  2. Prioritize your efforts towards conquering and maintaining control of these territories.
  3. Safeguard vital regions by dedicating appropriate resources for defense.
  4. Consider launching preemptive strikes to disrupt your opponent’s plans and weaken their stronghold.
  5. Adapt your targeting strategy based on the evolving dynamics of the game and the particularities of your faction.

<H5.Subtle Influence

  1. Spread your faction’s influence gradually to avoid drawing unwanted attention.
  2. Use guerrilla warfare tactics to undermine opponents’ control.
  3. Focus on expanding in regions that provide strategic advantages to your faction.
  4. Maintain a balance between expanding your area of influence and consolidating control.
  5. Strategically cultivate sympathy or build alliances to gain allies and secure additional territories.

<H5.Strategic Occupancy

  1. Control territories strategically to secure reliable income and resources.
  2. Establish a presence in regions adjacent to high-value territories.
  3. Consolidate forces in ramparts or strongholds to fortify defensible positions.
  4. Utilize cards, abilities, and special actions to maximize territorial control.
  5. Adapt to the ever-changing landscape by adjusting your territorial control in response to opponents’ actions.

Mastering territory control in Root allows you to command and shape the game’s dynamic landscape to your advantage. By targeting key territories, exerting subtle influence, and occupying strategically important regions, you can establish dominance and pave the way for an unstoppable march towards victory.

Timing and Sequencing

Mastering the timing and sequencing of your actions is a critical skill when playing Root. Making strategic moves at the right moment and in optimal sequence can give you a significant edge over your opponents and maximize your chances of achieving victory.

<H5.Observing the Flow

  1. Observe and analyze the flow of the game, paying attention to the actions and decisions of other players.
  2. Strategically time your actions to take advantage of potential openings created by your opponents or to disrupt their plans.
  3. Identify moments when opponents are vulnerable or their abilities are limited and exploit those opportunities.
  4. Stay flexible and adjust your sequencing as the game progresses and circumstances change.
  5. Adapt your timing and sequencing strategy to the particularities of your faction, their unique abilities, and victory conditions.

<H5.Done at Just the Right Time

  1. Make your moves at just the right time instead of rushing or delaying unnecessarily.
  2. Avoid tipping off opponents about your plans by being strategic with your timing.
  3. Synchronize your actions with the broader goals of your faction, maximizing their impact on the game state.
  4. Consider the sequencing of your actions to create chain reactions or to set up advantageous moves in subsequent turns.
  5. Adapt your timing and sequencing to the evolving game state, tactical opportunities, and positional advantages.

<H5.Strategically Initiating and Reacting

  1. Strategically initiate actions and ensure they have an intended impact.
  2. React proactively and effectively to the actions and moves of your opponents.
  3. Be assertive in seizing opportunities but remain mindful of the risks and potential consequences.
  4. Judge when to hold back and when to act decisively, always considering the overall goal of achieving victory.
  5. Refine and adjust the timing and sequencing of your actions based on the success or failure of your previous moves.

Timing and sequencing are essential aspects of mastering Root’s strategic gameplay. By carefully observing the flow of the game, making moves at opportune times, and strategically initiating and reacting to actions, you will be able to orchestrate game-changing sequences that pave the way to triumph.

Alliances and Diplomacy

In the tumultuous world of Root, alliances and diplomacy can play a vital role in determining the outcome of the game. Strategically building alliances, negotiating with other players, and leveraging diplomatic skills can help you secure advantages and navigate the ever-changing landscape with finesse.

<H5.Choosing Reliable Allies

  1. Understand the strengths and weaknesses of each faction and identify potential allies who can complement your playstyle.
  2. Forge alliances with players whose goals align with yours or whose influence can help you achieve your objectives.
  3. Establish trust and maintain open lines of communication with allies to coordinate actions and reach mutual agreements.
  4. Ensure alliances are mutually beneficial, maintaining a delicate balance that safeguards your interests.
  5. Be diligent in evaluating the true motives and loyalty of your allies as the game progresses.

<H5.Negotiation and Persuasion

  1. Master the art of negotiation, effectively persuading other players to make decisions that benefit your cause.
  2. Offer incentives or propose mutually beneficial deals to rally support and forge temporary alliances.
  3. Leverage your faction’s unique abilities or resources as bargaining chips to influence the decisions of other players.
  4. Ensure you approach negotiations with clarity and flexibility, adapting your offers or demands based on the ever-changing circumstances of the game.
  5. Utilize your diplomatic skills to not only gain short-term advantages but also build long-lasting alliances that can endure throughout the game.

<H5.Adopting a Balanced Approach

  1. Strategically balance your interactions with allies and rivals, navigating the delicate line between cooperation and self-preservation.
  2. Do not solely rely on one alliance or put all your trust in a single player, diversifying your relationships for a broader support network.
  3. Be attentive to shifting power dynamics and adapt your alliances accordingly to stay in the favorable position.
  4. Avoid public animosities or betrayals that can alienate potential allies and turn them into enemies.
  5. Cultivate your diplomatic image, remaining gracious, persuasive, and diplomatic in all your interactions.

Alliances and diplomacy can be powerful tools in your quest for victory in Root. By carefully choosing reliable allies, honing your negotiation skills, and adopting a balanced approach, you can forge strong alliances, exert influence, and maneuver through the intricate web of factions, putting yourself in the best position to emerge triumphant.

Conclusion: Unleash Your Strategic Mastery!

Congratulations! You’ve reached the end of this comprehensive strategy guide for Root. Armed with the knowledge of gameplay mechanics, strategic considerations, and tips for success, you are now equipped to unleash your strategic mastery on the forest realm. Whether you choose to be the cunning Marquise de Cat, the rebellious Woodland Alliance, the mighty Eyrie Dynasty, or the enigmatic Vagabond, embrace your role, adapt your strategies, and outmaneuver your opponents.

Remember, victory in Root comes not only from mastering your faction’s unique abilities but also from understanding the delicate balance of power, forging alliances, managing resources cleverly, and timing your moves with precision. Apply the tactical insights you’ve gained to strategically control territories, leverage alliances, and manipulate the game state to your advantage.

As you embark on your journey into the forest, keep in mind that Root is a dynamic and ever-evolving battleground. It demands adaptability, critical thinking, and a willingness to embrace calculated risks. With each playthrough, you will discover new nuances and develop your own style of play.

Now is the time to immerse yourself in the rich world of Root, where strategic prowess determines who emerges as the true leader of the forest. Embrace the challenges, make bold decisions, and let your cunning shine. Will you be able to shape the destiny of the forest and claim victory? It’s time to find out!

Want to know what we think of Root? Read our detailed review of Root here

Jamie in his proper element: With all of his board games
Jamie Hopkins

With years of dice-rolling, card-flipping, and strategic planning under my belt, I've transformed my passion into expertise. I thrive on dissecting the mechanics and social dynamics of board games, sharing insights from countless game nights with friends. I dive deep into gameplay mechanics, while emphasizing the social joys of gaming. While I appreciate themes and visuals, it's the strategy and camaraderie that truly capture my heart.