Root: The Underworld Expansion

Created by Leder Games

Return to the world of Root with new factions, maps, and an alternative game deck! ** Please note that only the retail edition of Root: The Underworld expansion is available for order. The Kickstarter edition which came with the Kickstarter extras for free is now sold out but all extras from the campaign are available for separate purchase.

Latest Updates from Our Project:

The Lake Map!
about 1 year ago – Tue, Mar 26, 2019 at 01:21:04 AM

Hi everyone,

Today we are releasing the lake map! This map is a little more conventional than the mountain map, but it offers some really interesting situations. Here the river has been “replaced” by a large central lake. One coastal clearing will have a special pawn called the Ancient Ferry. This clearing is considered connected to all other lake clearings. However, if you move using the Ferry then the Ferry moves too! The lake essentially offers a different spin on king of the hill style gameplay, prioritizing offense rather than defense. 

The PNP kit is pretty straightforward: you get a single 6 fold board and a short paragraph of rules. You’ll also need some kind of marker to use for the Ancient Ferry. We’ve gone ahead and set the map with a recommended combination of clearings, but if you want to use your variable clearing markers you can use those too! As you might notice, this map just has our prototype art on it (done up by Mike Ptak). Kyle will be posting the actual Lake art sometime in late April.

The full kit can be found here.

There are many questions popping up in the comments and Kickstarter messages and it is very difficult for us to track. If you have any questions or concerns please contact us at support@ledergames.com

The Corvid PNP, a Surprise Stream, and a Development Diary.
about 1 year ago – Fri, Mar 22, 2019 at 09:33:25 PM

 Hi everyone,

We’ve got a few bits of news today. First, we’re happy to officially release the Corvid Conspiracy PNP. You can find the PDF for them here. Second, to celebrate the release of the Crows, we’ll be hosting a livestream this afternoon, starting at 1pm (central time). Feel free to head over to twitch and follow along! 

Finally, I wanted to say a few words about the design of the Corvid Conspiracy. One thing that I really enjoy about Root is the robust framework that lives at the center of the game. You could build a simple wargame off of these mechanics alone, and, I think, it would prove to be an interesting game. I think this is one reason why Root saw so many fan factions generated by its players. Even as early as April of last year, playtesters started creating their own factions based on the publicly shared PNPs for Root. The stream fan-generated factions only increased when the game saw a general release. 

This past summer I handed off Vast: TMM to Cole and Nick for final development, I found myself with my first creative break since I began working on Vast in 2014. I tinkered a little with some old designs, but eventually found myself being pulled towards Root. At this point new fan factions were being posted nearly every day, and I wanted to get in on the fun. 

Before I started designing, I looked closely at the game and how the roles interacted with the base mechanics. The Cats police the board. The Woodland Alliance gives a tax to moving and fighting—the better the player sets up that tax, the more prosperous they will become. Each faction in Cole’s design explored different elements of the core system, but the six factions that had been built left a lot of room yet to be explored. One place that immediately jumped to mind was the players' hands, so I started to think about how a faction could be built around manipulating those cards. Generally I don't like making someone else discard cards. A person’s hand should be a sacred, protected space. But in Root, so little is sacred. I think it’s fair to say that Cole showed me a little about the narrative value in designing games that violated some norms. Perhaps playing with another player’s hand was okay in the context of Root.

Along these lines, the Corvid Conspiracy quickly jumped to life. Thematically, the faction represents a collection of spies (and moles!) that are infiltrating the other factions. The Crows use their influence to manipulate the other players by essentially ransoming their hands, and place infiltration tokens to spread their agents into the hands of the other players. Agents take up space in other players' hands just like any other cards, but they can’t be spent or used for anything. A player can voluntarily give up their agent cards at the end of their turn, or they can be removed by force by the Crows.

Anytime an agent leaves a player’s hand, all Agent cards leave that player’s hand. The Crow player then scores two points and resolves an effect based on the number of agents returned.

As you can see, these effects are pretty strong, and usually players will want to return agents before they find themselves stuck with a potential bomb-maker. At the same time, if they shed agents too frequently, players are going to quickly find the Conspiracy breaking out of the pack. 

The best way for opponents to rein in the Crows is simply to knock out those pesky infiltration tokens. To protect those tokens, they have a few handy tools. For one, they can recruit using their nest, which allows them to reinforce quickly. Second, the they can move their warriors around the board very easily, as they ignore rule.

Like with the Great Underground Duchy, the key challenge to playing the Crows is their hand management. Many of their actions are powered by spending cards, and trying to decide how to divide your cards among your different strategic priorities is critical.   

The Crows have been an absolute blast to test in the studio. We’ve so far been using them mostly as a replacement for the Woodland Alliance in three-player combinations, but we think they really shine in four- and five-player games! 

Take care, everyone!

Golden Geek Awards and New Shipping Zones
about 1 year ago – Thu, Mar 21, 2019 at 09:38:50 PM

Hi everyone, 

As you may have heard, Root has been nominated for several Golden Geek Awards this year, including awards for Artwork and Presentation, Expansion (for the Riverfolk Expansion), Innovative, Strategy Game, Thematic Game, and Board Game of the Year.

It hardly requires saying that we are incredibly honored by these nominations. I first created my BoardGameGeek account back in 2003, and the website has been an important community for me both as a player and as a designer. I certainly would have never been able to get my first games published without it. Though the site has its share of problems, I think it remains a tremendous resource for everyone in the hobby. 

For those not familiar with the award, only BGG users who have supported the site or have an avatar or a geekbadge are eligible to vote. Voting is done using the Schulze method, which is a type of voting where you get to rank your preferences from a list of nominees. It’s pretty fun and a nice way to take stock of the previous year of gaming. Regardless of who you vote for, I’d encourage the active BGG users among us to vote.  

If you’d like to vote, just click here. 

Shipping Update

We received a lot of feedback on adding additional shipping zones to our campaign and we're pleased to say that we've expanded shipping to several new countries: Peru, Russia, India, Israel, South Africa, Argentina, Vietnam, Costa Rica, Serbia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, and Brunei. Prices can be found on the shipping graphic on the main project page. 

We understand there's a great demand for shipping to Brazil and although we haven't added Brazil yet, we're still figuring out our options and are trying what we can to get the best and most reliable rates to Brazil. Please stay tuned and hopefully we'll have good news soon.

Have a Specific Question?

There are many questions popping up in the comments and Kickstarter messages and it is very difficult for us to track. If you have any questions or concerns please contact us at support@ledergames.com.

One Million Dollars!
about 1 year ago – Thu, Mar 21, 2019 at 02:30:39 PM

Hello backers! I can’t believe this project has been only open for just 5 days at this point. This has been an amazing affirmation of the work we have done. I don’t know how much more my heart can take right now. Also a huge thank you to everyone the congratulated us for our win at SXSW this weekend for Tabletop Game of the Year.

You are all amazing! Thank you for your help. I am humbled at how you help us continually move forward and top ourselves.

To celebrate we will be starting a new live stream around 3:00 central time (meaning in a few minutes).

Livestream

We have had some amazing comments and I really appreciate your energy for our project.

Woodland Alliance Meeples - We've acknowledged the desire we've seen in the comments for variant Woodland Alliance Meeples. We are going to hold these Meeples back for a later development we are working on. I love how committed you all are to the idea, though.

Playmats - We are happy to announce we will be adding Playmats as an add-on due to a popular demand. We will offer both the original map and the new board as double-sided mats. They will each be 25 dollars.

Here is a rendering of the new map.  Yes, they will be double sided!

Fall Mat
Fall Mat
Winter Mat
Winter Mat

Mountain Mat
Mountain Mat

Thank you everyone and I will see you all soon!

Developer Diary
about 1 year ago – Thu, Mar 21, 2019 at 01:44:15 PM

Hey everybody! I’m Nick, graphic designer and developer for Root: Underworld. Writing isn’t exactly my strong suit, but today I want to talk about my relationship with Root, Leder Games, and my experience transitioning from being strictly a graphic designer to both a graphic designer and developer.

When I joined Leder Games in February of last year, I was nervous. The team was finalizing Root, and I was going to be primarily getting it ready for the factory and doing layout for Vast: The Mysterious Manor. These would be by far the largest projects I’d ever worked on. I remember being assigned to lay out the punchboard for Root. I worked slowly and diligently, reviewing the files over and over and over again, with my main goal being to simply avoid mistakes.

Once Root was sent off, Cole (as developer) and I (as graphic designer) were tasked to finish Vast: The Mysterious Manor. What started as another layout task quickly shifted before my eyes.

Being involved in this game earlier in the process, I saw how different graphic design for board games could be. I saw an opportunity to elevate the work I was doing, but this required greater changes. With the trust of Patrick and Cole, I started making more edits to mechanisms to improve not only visual clarity but conceptual clarity. The line between graphic design and game design started to blur. I was finding ways to link systems together by changing component designs. “Editing” extended beyond layout and leaked into rules. The result was a game where mechanisms inform graphic design and vice versa.

As I felt more confidence in my process,Cole and Patrick, asked me to be the developer on Root: Underworld. Patrick had already finished the preliminary design for the factions, and Root's graphical and visual language had been established. So again my goals shifted—now I wanted to distill what Patrick had created into its purest form. This process started to resemble my graphic design process, and I treated it as such. Similar to doing a rebrand, I cast a wide net of possibilities in building iterations and variants. When doing this, it’s not about each iteration being perfect, but rather to see what can be changed while maintaining its original identity. My computer has more than ten versions of both the Crows and the Moles, and I can look to those anytime our current version is falling flat or losing some edge. Doing that work upfront when you’re excited and have the energy to ideate pays huge dividends later on.

I've learned so much and I’m just so thankful for the support from the community as well as my coworkers. I can’t wait to share all of our hard work and passion with those who love the game as much as we do!

Also, there are many questions popping up in the comments and Kickstarter messages and it is very difficult for us to track. If you have any questions or concerns please contact us at support@ledergames.com.