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A Game of Woodland Might and Right

Game Design by Cole Wehrle

Art by Kyle Ferrin
Development by Patrick Leder

Print and Play Edition!

Root is a game of woodland might and right. Stalk the woods as the Vagabond, seize the
initiative with the Eyrie birds of prey, rule over your subjects as the Marquise de Cat, or
command the Woodland Alliance to create a new order. With creatures and cunning, you'll rule
a fantastic forest kingdom in the ultimate asymmetric game of adventure and war.

Using This Book

Root contains two rulebooks, this rules reference and a learn-to-play guide. The rules reference
is intended to be a concise, authoritative, and complete reference. While experienced gamers
will be able to learn the game from the rules reference, those newer to the hobby should start
with the learn-to-play guide. The learn-to-play guide is written in a more conversational tone and
features many illustrated examples. It also contains setup instructions for the games many

Note for Print-and-Players

This kit is intended for interested players eager to explore the world of Root. As we wanted to
share it with you as soon as possible, certain features of the game have been trimmed. Some
elements of the learn-to-play rulebook have been incorporated in this rulebook to make learning
the game easier. We have also produced a teaching video that can now be found on our
Kickstarter page.

We hope you enjoy this preview of Root as much as weve enjoyed making it!
We Dont Need Playtesters/Editors
At the moment, Root is entering final development and balancing. We have a large pool of
playtesters and will be relying on the work of professional editors to polish these rules after final
adjustments to balance have been made. Though we appreciate your enthusiasm and
comments, we are not soliciting public feedback on this version. This is our gift to you all for
your wonderful support of the campaign so far.

Player Scaling
The following game is recommended for three to four players.

If playing with three, we recommend that you play without the Vagabond, though you may
substitute the Vagabond for the Woodland Alliance.

If you wish to explore the two-player game, we advise that you play the Marquise against the
Eyrie. Special two-player scenarios will be included in the final game, along with rules that allow
for a huge range of player configurations.

What You Need to Play

This kit includes files for all of the paper components in the game. In addition players will need:

25 cubes in three different colors (for the Marquise, Woodland Alliance, and Eyrie)
A Vagabond pawn and a single cube in a matching color for the Vagabonds score cube
15 tokens to represent wood.

1. Assign Factions: Assign one faction to each player using any method.
2. Draw Starting Hands: Remove the four special victory condition cards from the deck of
cards, and set them aside. Shuffle the deck. Each player draws 3 cards.
3. Prepare Deck: If playing with three or fewer players, return the Coalition Victory special
victory card to the box. Then, shuffle the special victory cards into the deck and place it
near the map.
4. Place Ruins: In games with the Vagabond, shuffle the ruin tokens and place one, with
the item side face down, on each red-bordered slot on the map. (The ruin tokens consist
of the following items: <bag>, <boot>, <hammer>, and <sword>.)
5. Set Up Factions: The players set up their factions as described below in the following
order: Marquise de Cat, Eyrie Dynasties, Forest Alliance, Vagabond.
Marquise de Cat Setup
1. Place a warrior in each clearing, including the Keep.
2. Place y our Sawmills, Workshops, and Recruiters on the matching tracks of your faction
3. Place the wood tokens near your faction board.
4. Place a Sawmill on the Keep, place a Recruiter on any clearing adjacent to the Keep,
and place a Workshop on any other clearing adjacent to the Keep.
5. Place your score marker on the 0 space of the score track.

Eyrie Dynasties Setup

1. Place your Roosts on the matching track of your faction board, matching Roosts with
and without stars to the matching spaces.
2. Place a Roost and six warriors on the Eyrie Homeland (the red fox clearing in the
bottom-right corner of the map).
3. Choose one of the four Eyrie leaders and place it on your faction board. This is your
current leader. Place the remaining leaders face up near your faction board.
4. Place your two Loyal Vizier cards on the matching Decree spaces of your faction board.
5. Place your score marker on the 0 space of the score track.

Woodland Alliance Setup

1. Place your Strongholds and Hideouts on the matching tracks on your faction board.
2. Place a Hideout and one warrior on any clearing with an empty slot.
3. Place a warrior on the leftmost space of the outrage track on your faction board. (This
warrior is referred to as the outrage marker.)
4. Place your score marker on the 0 space of the score track.

Vagabond Setup
1. Pick a character card, then place the items listed on your character card in the Available
pool shown by your faction board.
2. Place your character pawn on any forest.
3. Take a warrior from each player and place them on the Indifferent space of the
alignment chart on your faction board.
4. Place your score marker on the 0 space of the score track.
Golden Rules

Rules Conflicts
If text on a card or faction board conflicts with text in this rules reference, the card or faction
board takes precedence.

If text in the learn to play conflicts with text in this rules reference, this rules reference takes

Placing and Removing Pieces

If you are prompted to place a warrior, take it from your supply. If your warrior is removed, return
it to your supply.

If you are prompted to place a building, take the leftmost building from its track on your faction
board. If your building is removed, return it to the rightmost empty space.

If you are prompted to place wood, take it from the Marquises supply. If wood is removed,
return it to the Marquises supply.

If you are prompted to place your pieces but you cannot place the total number prompted, you
must place the maximum number possible. This rule also applies to playing cards. E xample: if
the Marquise recruits warriors, but does not have enough warriors in her supply to place a
warrior at each recruiter, then she may place as many as able.

If you are prompted to remove your pieces but you cannot remove the total number prompted,
you must remove the maximum number possible.

If you are prompted to place a piece at a building, place it in the clearing with that building.

Universal Terms and Concepts

Like other Leder Games, each faction in Root is played differently and has different goals.
However, all roles share certain terms and concepts which are described in this section.

Clearings, Paths, and Forests

The map of the Woodland is composed of clearings, which are connected by a network of
paths. A clearing is adjacent to all other clearings linked to it by a path.
Almost every clearing is aligned with one forest nation: mouse, rabbit, or fox. The only
exception is the Keep of Marquise de Cat, which is not aligned with a forest nation and confers
a bonus in battle to the Marquise.

Areas on the map enclosed by paths and clearings are called f orests. A forest is adjacent to all
clearings that touch it without crossing a path, and it is adjacent to all forests that are separated
by only one path. The forest surrounding the map is out of play, not part of the map.

Each clearing has a number of slots, shown as white and red boxes. Whenever you b uild a
building in any way, the clearing where you build it must have an open slot. You cannot build in
a clearing with no open slots.

In games with the Vagabond, each red-bordered slot begins covered with a r uin token. Once
the Vagabond explores a ruin and takes its token, the open slot can hold a building, as normal.
In games without the Vagabond, the red-bordered slots begin open.

Multi-use Cards
Root uses a single deck of multi-use cards. Each card has three uses:

1. A suit matching one of the four forest nations: bird, fox, rabbit, and mouse. Each faction
can spend cards of particular suits for different effects. The bird suit is wildyou can use it in
place of any other suit.

2. A conspiracy, which the Alliance can complete by spending s upporters equal to its
listed cost to earn victory points, resources, and infrastructure improvements.

3. An improvement, which can be crafted. Once crafted, improvements confer various

bonuses and may put items into play for the Vagabond to take.

Special Victory Cards

Four cards in the deck are special victory cards. Like with the other cards, you can
play a special victory card from your hand for its suit. If you do so, do not discard the
card; instead, place the card face up near the map to show that it is available to take.

During Daylight, the acting player can take an available special victory card into their
hand by discarding a card of matching suit.

For details on how these cards can be used as a victory condition, see G
oals and Play
(page XX).

Cards Are Secret. You cannot reveal any cards in your hand to other players.
Crafting Improvements
Each faction has the ability to craft improvements on cards in their hand.

During Daylight, you can craft any number of improvements from your hand, as long as you
have the crafting buildings listed on the improvement. Each faction uses a different building to
craft improvements: the Marquise uses Workshops, the Eyrie uses Roosts with Stars, and the
Alliance uses Strongholds. Each crafting building on the map is associated with the nation of its

Each crafting building may only be used to craft one card per turn. Example: If you have
two crafting buildings in a fox clearing, you may not craft two cards which require two foxes

When you craft an improvement, resolve its text and then place the card into your play area,
sideways above your faction board, showing either its persistent effect or its item. If the
Vagabond is not playing, no items are put into play.

Many improvements provide a persistent benefit, which lasts the entire game, or a one-time
ability that you can activate by discarding the improvement.

Vagabond Crafting. Rather than requiring crafting buildings, the Vagabond crafts by
exhausting <hammer>, which match the nation of his current clearing. If the Vagabond crafts an
improvement with an item, the Vagabond scores the listed victory points and may put the
crafted item into his exhausted items pool.

Cottage Industry. The Alliance gains twice the victory points listed on improvements they craft.

Ruling a Clearing
The ruler of a clearing is the player with the most pieces in that clearing. If there is a tie between
two players, no one is the ruler.

Lords of the Forest. The Eyrie is the ruler of a clearing when it is tied for most pieces there.

Some rules refer to a local player or piece.

A player is local if any of their pieces are located in any clearing with any of your pieces.

A piece is local if it is located in the same clearing as any of your pieces.

Movement and Battles

When you take a move, you may take any number of your warriors from one clearing and move
them to one adjacent clearing.

If you rule the origin clearing, you may move your warriors to a
ny adjacent clearing.

If you do not rule the origin clearing, you may move your warriors only to an adjacent clearing
that you rule, that no one rules, or whose ruler gives you permission to enter.

Nimble. The Vagabond does not require permission to move into a clearing.

Alliance Movement. The Alliance is uniquely restricted in its ability to move. The Alliance can
only move by executing appropriate conspiracies.

When you initiate a battle, choose a clearing where you have warriors. You are the a
Choose one player in the clearing of battle to be the defender.

If the defender has no warriors in the clearing of battle, remove all of the defenders pieces
there. The attacker scores one victory point per piece removed. The battle then ends. If the
Vagabond has no available <swords>, he must retreat if attacked.

A battle has three steps:

1. Defender may declare retreat. If defender does retreat, the defender takes hits based
on the number of retreating warriors, the attacker may play one ambush card to deal
another hit, and then the battle ends.
2. Defender may play ambush cards to deal hits to the attacker.
3. Roll dice and deal hits to both attacker and defender, and the battle ends.

1. Defender Declares Retreat

The defender may retreat if he rules an adjacent clearing. If the defender does not retreat, move
to step 2.

If the defender chooses to retreat, he takes the hits listed on the following table.
Retreating Warriors 12 34 56 7+

Hits 0 1 2 3
After the defender takes hits, the attacker may play one ambush card matching the clearing of
battle to inflict another hit.

Finally, the defender must move all remaining warriors to one adjacent clearing he rules. End
the battle.

Vagabond Retreat. The Vagabond takes hits when retreating based on his total number of
available and exhausted items, rather than retreating warriors. The Vagabond may retreat into
any adjacent clearing or forest.

2. Defender Declares Ambush

If the defender did not declare a retreat during this battle, the defender may play ambush cards
matching the clearing of battle.

Each played ambush card deal two hits to the attacker, which cannot be prevented. If any
attacking warriors remain after taking hits, continue the battle as normal.

3. Roll Dice and Count Hits

Roll both dice. The attacker will deal hits equal to the higher roll, and the defender will deal hits
equal to the lower roll. If the rolls are equal, attacker and defender will deal the same number of

<Print-and-Play Note: A roll of 4 is considered a 0 so the four-sided dice only produces

numbers 0-3. The game will have custom d12s included with an equivalent distribution.>

The maximum number of hits you can roll equals the number of your warriors in the clearing of
battle (or available <sword> if Vagabond), whether you are the attacker or defender.

Finally, the attacker and defender modify hits dealt or taken based on special abilities or effects
in their areas of play. Hits added after rolling are n
ot limited by your numbers of warriors in the
clearing of battle. (For example, if you have 3 warriors and roll 3 hits, then add 1 hit because of
a special ability, you deal 4 hits.)

4. Deal Hits
Attacker and defender take hits simultaneously.

For each hit you take, you must remove one of your warriors. If you have no warriors, you must
remove one of your buildings (or wood if Marquise) of your choice. You may only remove pieces
from the clearing of battle.

For each building or wood removed, the player inflicting the hit scores one victory point.

If you remove your last building from a clearing during battle, you must also discard one
improvement from your play area, if able.
Hits as the Marquise
Field Hospitals. Whenever a Marquise warrior takes a hit, the Marquise may spend any card to
move the warrior to the Keep, instead of removing it.

The Keep of Marquise de Cat. During any battle in the Keep, the Marquise deals one more hit,
whether she is defender or attacker.

Hits as the Alliance

Hideout Loss. Whenever a Hideout is removed, the Alliance must remove any conspiracy and
all supporters in the matching forest nation box. Then, the Alliance increases their Outrage by

Hidden. If defending with a single warrior, the Alliance ignores the first hit taken.

Hits as the Vagabond

For each hit the Vagabond wishes to deal, he must exhaust a <sword>. If he has no available
<sword> to exhaust, he cannot deal further hits.

Each time the Vagabond takes a hit, he must damage one available item. Because the attacker
and defender take hits simultaneously, the Vagabond can exhaust and then damage the same
<sword>. If no available items remain to damage, the Vagabond may damage an exhausted
item. If no undamaged items remain to damage, the Vagabond ignores any remaining hits.

Hits from Other Sources

Players can also deal hits by using improvements and conspiracies. These hits act the same as
hits dealt in battle, except that the player taking hits must remove pieces from the space
affected by the improvement or conspiracy, rather than the clearing of battle.

Goal and Play

The first player to reach 40 victory points wins the game.

Special Victory Conditions

During the game, players may draw special victory cards.
On your turn, you may play a special victory card during Daylight. Place the card into your area
of play, and remove your scoring marker from the score track. For the remainder of the game,
you can only win by meeting the victory condition listed on the special victory card.

A played special victory card does not count against your hand size, and it cannot be removed
from play. Once you have played a special victory card to replace your victory condition, you
cannot replace it with a different special victory card.

<Note: Special Victory cards can also be played as ordinary cards of their suit. However, when
played in this fashion, they are not discarded and are instead set near the map where they can
be taken in Daylight by the acting player by spending a card of the matching suit.>

Order of Play
Play begins with the Marquise and then continues to the Eyrie, the Alliance, and the Vagabond.

Turn Structure
Each players turn consists of three phases: Birdsong, Daylight, and Evening.

Marquise de Cat

Victory Points
The Marquise scores victory points each time she builds a building. She also scores victory
points by crafting some improvements, and by removing buildings owned by the other players.

Place one wood at each Sawmill.

You may take up to three actions, plus another action for each bird card you spend. You can
take actions in any order. Your possible actions are listed below:

Take two moves.
Initiate a battle.


Choose whether you want to build a Sawmill, Workshop, or Recruiter. Find the leftmost
building of that type remaining on your faction board. Note that buildings cost, listed at
the top of its column.

Then, choose any clearing you rule with an empty slot. Remove wood equal to the
buildings cost from any clearings you rule that are connected to the chosen clearing by
any number of clearings you rule.

Finally, place the chosen building on the chosen clearing, and score the victory points
listed on the space under the building removed from your faction board.

You do not lose victory points for returning a building to your faction board, and you still
score victory points when you build a building that was previously returned to your
faction board.

Craft (free)
Craft an improvement from your hand, using Workshops.

Place one warrior at each Recruiter. Then, the Alliance increases its Outrage by one.

Incite Mob
Spend 3 cards of matching nation. In each clearing of matching nation that you rule,
remove all buildings of other players, and score 2 victory points per building removed
(instead of 1 victory point, as normal). Each player who removed any buildings draws
cards equal to the number of their own buildings removed.

Each player draws cards equal to their <coin> in their own area of play.

Then, you discard down to your hand limit of five cards.

The Eyrie Dynasties

Victory Points
The Eyrie scores victory points during its Evening based on the number of Roosts on the map,
by crafting some improvements, and by removing wood and buildings owned by the other

The Decree
On your turn, you will take actions using a growing set of instructions called the D
ecree. The
Decree is composed of four columns, each linked to one of four actions. Over time, you will add
cards to the four columns of the Decree. Add new cards on top of cards already in a column.
Fan the cards in a column down, so all of the card suits are visible.

You will end Daylight by running the Decree. Each action will be performed as many times as
there are cards in its column. The clearing of the action must match the suit of the card in the
Decree. If an action cannot be taken, you fall into Turmoil.

Then, you must play one bird card or up to two non-bird cards to the Decree. You may place
cards on any of the four columns, and you may place multiple cards in separate columns.

First, you may Reform, spending any number of cards. You can also Craft.

Spend a card from your hand. Then move a card of matching suit from one column of
the Decree to any other column.

Craft an improvement from your hand, using Roost with stars.

After finishing your Reform, resolve the Decree. Start with the leftmost column and move right.
In each column, start with the top card and move down.
Place a warrior in any clearing with a Roost and whose nation matches the card suit. If
you cannot place a warrior, you fall into turmoil and your turn ends immediately.

Move from any clearing whose nation matches the card suit. If you cannot move at least
one warrior, you fall into turmoil and your turn ends immediately.

Initiate a battle in any clearing whose nation matches the card suit. If you cannot initiate
a battle, you fall into turmoil and your turn ends immediately.

Build a Roost in any clearing you rule whose nation matches the card suit. If you cannot
build, you fall into turmoil and your turn ends immediately.

Jealous Fiefs. You can only have one Roost per clearing.

Score the victory points shown below the rightmost empty space on your roost track.

Discard down to your hand limit of four cards.

If you fall into turmoil, discard all of the cards in the Decree except any Loyal Viziers. Flip your
current leader face down and set it aside, choose a new leader from those that remain face up
and place it near your faction board.

Place your Loyal Viziers on the Decree spaces shown on your new leader.

If you ever have no face-up leaders remaining, turn all of the leaders face up.
Woodland Alliance

Victory Points
The Woodland Alliance scores victory points by revealing some conspiracies, by crafting some
improvements, and by removing wood and buildings owned by the other players.

Hideout Card Slots

Each built Hideout provides one card slot, which you can use in the Keep Secrets and Conspire

To place a card in a Hideout card slot, its matching Hideout must be on the map, and the slot
must have no card in it.

Your faction board has three forest nation boxes: rabbit, fox, and mouse. Any warriors in your
forest nation boxes are called supporters.

Return completed conspiracies to your hand.

Then, draw cards as indicated by your Outrage.

You can take actions by spending supporters from a forest nation box, returning spent
supporters to your supply. Each action lists its cost in supporters, which must come from the
same forest nation box. Any supporters left in forest nation boxes at the end of Daylight remain
for future turns.

Spend one supporter and one card to draw one card.


Spend one supporter to initiate a battle in a clearing of matching nation.


Craft an improvement from your hand, using Strongholds.

Spend a fox, rabbit, or mouse card to place a supporter in the matching forest nation
box. (Reminder: Bird cards are wild, so you can spend one to place a supporter in any
forest nation box.) This action does not cost supporters.

Spend a bird card and one supporter to place a warrior in any clearing whose nation
matches the spent supporter.

Keep Secrets
Play a card face down to an empty Hideout card slot. This action does not cost

If a Hideout is removed from the map and returns to a card slot that holds a facedown
card, discard that card.

Spend supporters equal to the cost of the conspiracy to play the card face up in the
empty Hideout card slot matching the nation of the spent supporters. Resolve the

Build Hideout
Spend two supporters to build a Hideout in a clearing of matching nation. Then place a
warrior in that clearing.
Build Stronghold
Spend three supporters to build a Stronghold in a clearing that you rule of matching

Place one supporter in each forest nation box.

Then, discard down to your hand limit of two cards.

The Outrage Track

The Alliance gains bonus supporters during Evening according to their current Outrage. Outrage
increases whenever the Marquise takes the Recruit action or whenever a Hideout is removed.


Victory Points
The Vagabond scores victory points by completing tasks that affect the other factions, by
crafting some improvements, and by removing wood and buildings owned by the other players.

Your faction board shows an alignment chart composed of many alignment boxes
connected by black arrows. At any given time, this chart will hold an alignment marker
from each faction in play.

<Print-and-Play Note: Use a warrior cube from each other player as an alignment token>

Adjusting Alignment
Whenever you fulfill the task listed on a black arrow connecting your current alignment
space to another alignment space, you score the listed victory points and move your
alignment token to the connected space.

Positive (right side) Tasks

Gift one card to a player: Score 1 victory point.

Gift two cards to a player: Score 2 victory points.
Gift two cards to a player: Score 3 victory points. You are now an Ally.
Negative (left side) Tasks

Steal 1 card: Score 1 victory point.

Remove 1 warrior in one battle: Score 2 victory points. You are now Hostile.
Remove 2 warriors in one battle: Score 3 victory points.

Cross Chart Shifts:

(From any non-negative alignment) Remove 1 warrior in one battle: Score 2

victory points. You are now Hostile.
(From the first negative alignment) Gift two cards to a player: Score 2 victory
points, and move to second positive alignment.

Ally Benefits and Penalties

If you have progressed to the final space on the friendly side of the chart, you are
considered an Ally of that faction.

While an Ally, when moving from one clearing to another, you may move any number of
warriors owned by your ally along with you. If moving in this way, you must follow the
movement restrictions for that faction.

In any battle against a non-ally, you may choose to fight with an ally's warriors as if they
were your own. When you take hits, you must apply as many hits as possible to ally
pieces in the clearing of battle. If no ally pieces remain, you take further hits.

If you give a card to an ally, score 2 victory points.

You cannot use Steal on an Ally!

Hostile Penalties
If you have progressed to one of the spaces marked hostile on the left side of the chart,
your are hostile to that faction.

You must another <boot> to move into a clearing with any pieces owned by a hostile
faction. These penalties stack, so moving into a clearing with two hostile factions will
cost a total of three <boot>.

Move all of your exhausted items to your available items.

Then, take one move without exhausting <boot>, even if you move into a space with hostile
players. For this move only, you may move into a forest.
You can take actions in any order, as described below.

Craft an improvement from your hand, by exhausting <hammer>. The nation of all
<hammer> matches your current clearing.

You can exhaust a <boot> to move to an adjacent clearing or forest. For every hostile
player in the destination space, you must exhaust another <boot> in order to move.

Give any number of cards matching your current clearing to a local player. ( Reminder:
Bird cards are wild, so you can always gift bird cards.) Then, for each card you give, you
may take one item from above their faction board.

You can exhaust a <torch> to take one action from those listed below.


Initiate a local battle.

Move one damaged item to your exhausted items pool.

Target a local player. If you have more available <sword> than that players local
warriors, take a random card from that player, and that player scores 1 victory point.

The Alliance places one supporter in the forest nation box matching your current
clearing. Then, you score 1 victory point.

You can only use this action while you are in a clearing with a Hideout.
Take one local ruin token, reveal it, and place it in your exhausted items pool.

Discard down to your hand limit, equal to your number of available <bag>.

If you are in a forest, move all of your damaged items to your exhausted items pool.