You May Also Like: Root
With the upcoming releases of numerous expansions; including the Marauder Expansion, Landmarks Pack, Underworld Hirelings, Riverfolk Hirelings, and more, what better time to have a look at what other games you should get to the table if you love the asymmetrical wargame Root. A massive hit since its initial release in 2018, Root puts players in charge of woodland factions, each with their own unique abilities and goals, playing completely different from every other faction in the game. Heralded as a masterpiece in asymmetrical game design, the accessible nature and strategic gameplay feature in the game has given it tremendous staying power. The gorgeous artwork and clever theme only add to the table presence of this great game.
With the release of all of the expansions mentions above, the buzz around Root will pick up again. Whether you've already conquered the woodland, played through the new expansions, or are looking for a similar game to give a go before trying Root, this list is for you. We've compiled our top 5 games to play if you love Root.
5. Oath: Chronicles of Empire and Exile
|Number of Players||1-6|
Developed by the same team that created Root and published by Leder Games, Oath: Chronicles of Empire & Exile is the spiritual sequel to the original Root game. The similar artwork style will be a hint to players that there are some shared aspects between the two games. Oath features asymmetrical factions that work to change the course of history as empires rise and fall, with additional aspects of negotiation and deal-making that are unique to the game.
Oath really comes into its own as a pseudo-Legacy game. The consequences of one game carry over into future games, impacting what resources and actions future players may have at their disposal, or even alter the game's core victory conditions. If one player takes control by using anarchy and distrust, future players will need to deal with a land filled with thieves and bloodthirsty warlords. With the play history embedded in each copy of Oath, it grows to be as unique as the players who helped build it. It's no surprise that this game was name 2021 Most Innovative Game by Board Game Geek.
4. Star Wars: Rebellion
|Number of Players||2-4|
|Publisher||Fantasy Flight Games|
Root really shines at the higher end of its player counts, playing best at three or four when most of the factions are in the game, adding more strategy and variability to the game. If you find yourself looking for a similar game for two players then look no further than Star Wars: Rebellion from Corey Konieczka. Designed for two players, Rebellion climbed to the top of BGG's lists the moment it was released in 2016, and has remained a force there since. The definition of an asymmetrical strategy game oozing with theme, one player takes control of the Rebel Alliance, striking from their hidden base. While the other player commands the Galactic Empire, searching out the Rebel base to obliterate it from the galaxy.
The table presence of this game is phenomenal, with more than 150 miniatures and two game boards, the game feels like you've been thrust into the original film trilogy. Battle with starships for planetary control, while also using familiar individual characters from the universe, including Leia, Mon Mothma, Grand Moff Tarkin, and Emperor Palpatine. Use these leaders to carry out secret missions that help further your cause. We haven't even mentioned the Death Star miniature, that the Empire player can construct and use to obliterate an entire planet. How cool is that?
3. Cosmic Encounter
|Number of Players||3-5|
|Designer(s)||Bill Eberle, Jack Kittredge, Bill Norton, Peter Olotka, Kevin Wilson|
|Publisher||Fantasy Flight Games|
The granddaddy of asymmetrical board games, the galactic empire building masterpiece that is Cosmic Encounter falls smack dab in the middle of our list. Featuring dozens of unique alien races, Cosmic Encounter challenges players to conquer the galaxy while dealing with shifting alliances and the unique abilities and powers of theirs and others alien races.
On a player's turn they become the 'offense', with the offense encountering another player's race by moving a group of their ships through the gate to the planet containing their opponent's units. Both sides involved can invite allies to participate and play cards to try and tip the encounter in their favour. The encounters and the negotiations to get galactic aid in your time of need is what makes Cosmic Encounter shine.
The object of the game is to establish colonies in other players' systems. The winner is the first player (or players) to have five colonies on any planets outside of their home system. Players have to use a combination of cunning, force, and diplomacy to ensure their victory. Since alliances are a key part of this game, there can be multiple winners! The asymmetry and uniqueness of the alien races and aspects of area control/expansion make this an excellent game to try if you're a fan of Root.
2. Spirit Island
|Number of Players||1-4|
|Designer(s)||R. Eric Reuss|
|Publisher||Greater Than Games|
The first and only entry in the cooperative board game category is Spirit Island, a complex and thematic game about defending your island home from colonizing invaders. Each player takes on the role of a different spirit, with their own unique elemental powers and abilities. Every turn players simultaneously select which of their power cards to play, while paying the energy cost to do so. These actions are core to the game, as using combinations of power cards that match a spirit's elemental affinities can add free bonus effects. Each power is unique, some act immediately, while other offer a slow burn of impact over a longer period of time.
Invaders enter the island each turn, then begin building settlements and cities, then attacking any villagers in the area. As the game progresses, spirits spread their presence to new parts of the island, seeking more potent powers, while invaders continue to establish their foothold. Players must balance looking for new stronger powers with keeping the invaders at bay, as the goal at game start is to eliminate every settlement and city on the board. But, this victory condition can change, or become much more easy or difficult, depending on the decisions players make over the course of the game
|Number of Players||1-5|
The new standard in asymmetrical strategy games is Scythe. From Stonemaier Games, Scythe is set in an alternate history where five factions vie for control and dominance in a mech-filled, war-torn diselpunk version of 1920s Europe. Like Root, each faction has its own hidden objective to attain victory and its own unique abilities. In addition to the hidden goal, each faction begins with different resources and starting location. Players work to conquer territory, reap resources, enlist new recruits, gain villagers, activate monstrous mechs, and build structures.
Scythe really shines with its streamlined action-selection and engine-building mechanisms. Players upgrade actions to become more efficient when performing them, erect structures to improve their geographic stronghold, or use newly enlisted recruits to enhance character abilities. The engine-building elements provide players with a sense of momentum and progress as the game goes on. With the way players improve their engine based upon their unique decisions, each game feels different, even when playing as the same factions. Which, in our humble opinion, is the hallmark of a fantastic game!