Root: The Riverfolk Expansion

review by Rene

Root's Riverfolk Expansion brings new characters and new Vagabond types to the game to increase player count! You have the new option of playing as the Otters, the merchants of the game that like to aid other players, but not without a cost! You can trade and spend warrior tokens to draw cards, use their riverboats to travel down rivers like paths, and gain warrior reinforcements when you're in a pinch. Another new character you can play are the cultist leaders, the Lizards! These little reptilians go around the board sanctifying clearings and can convert your own warriors to join their cult! They may seem quite docile at first but can easily flip the odds. This faction adds a new challenge, as it is probably the most difficult faction to play because it requires the ability to understand specific mechanics, make quick decisions and be persuasive while starting off with less resources & less reach than the other factions. 

This expansion also introduces many different types of Vagabonds! With the Riverfolk Expansion, 3 additional classes of vagabonds are added to the game as well as the ability to have 2 different players playing the vagabond class.

First, we have the Scoundrel! He is an adorable black cat with a pumpkin mask and begins with 2 boots, a torch and a crossbow. Starting with the crossbow makes him a rather deadly vagabond at the beginning of the game. He has the most unique ability of all the vagabond classes. He can discard his torch to scorch your clearing, remove all enemy pieces in your clearing AND pieces can no longer be placed or moved into the scorched clearing. This is a unique ability for sure as losing the torch forever prevents the vagabond from completing any more quests. However, with this ability, he can severely hurt another faction and score a bunch of points for clearing a heavily populated clearing. The strategy that this vagabond will most likely succeed the most with is by allying with another player and coordinating a shared victory with them. It’s possible to also use his ability as last-minute points boost to attempt to steal a game when it’s nearing the end. Overall, he’s a unique and interesting vagabond with an ability that can be incredibly good but may be tough to time properly.

Next up, we have the Vagrant! The vagrant is a very sneaky looking opossum who starts with a coin, boots, and the torch, of course. Starting with the coin means this vagabond should always be well stocked with cards for other players. Where this vagabond shines is in playing table politics with your friends. His ability is to instigate a battle in his clearing, in which he can choose both the attacker and defender. He then scores points for the casualties he caused. Depending on which factions are present in the game when this vagabond is selected can be critical to the usefulness of this ability. If the game has multiple factions that have lots of warriors, this vagabond can be a load of fun, scoring tons of points and causing massive battles to ensue. However, I found that if this vagabond creates too much of a presence, the players may strike preemptively at him and keep him out of the game for many turns. Overall, loads of fun! This class is by far one of my favorites!

Finally, we have the Arbiter. The arbiter is an all-around great vagabond if you want to focus on just completing quests or playing aggressively. His starting items of boots, a torch, and TWO swords means he can be an early game bully, and difficult/annoying to pick a fight with. The arbiter can protect another faction with his ability. Before rolling for a battle, the defender can “enlist” the arbiter if he’s in the battle’s clearing. When “enlisted” he scores 1 victory point and adds damage equal to his undamaged swords to the defender’s maximum rolled hits. This is a super unique ability as it doesn’t consume the torch item when used. This can create more fun and interesting table politics as he can come to the aid of a faction or player that might not have the best warrior production. The arbiter is a great offensive/defensive weapon and is a great start to trying out additional vagabonds that aren’t present in the base game.

I think these different types of Vagabonds definitely help keep the players engaged in learning the various methods/strategies into playing & of course, winning.

I hope you guys check out these awesome characters!

Root: The Riverfolk Expansion is available now at our webstore.

Root: The Riverfolk Expansion