Root - A Frisky Forum Forest Game

The thread is to facilitate a PBF/Vassal game of Cole Wehrle’s strategic wargame-cum-woodland fantasy. This first post will be in flux for a bit while I get everything set up. I’ll keep it updated with instructions and file locations.

The Players

Ready to strut their stuff upon this stage of colonial conflict, native uprising, and itinerant opportunists.

  1. @rowe33 - Marquise de Cat
  2. @Thraeg - Eyrie Dynasties
  3. @Kolbex - Woodland Alliance
  4. @Matt_W - Vagabond

Software and Logistics

Google Drive

Rulebook pdfs and any other important files are available in our Google Drive folder here:

There is also a “vlog” folder inside the Google Drive folder, which is where log files will be stored. If you wish, you can download the Google Drive desktop app here. This will allow you to automatically synchronize a desktop folder with the Google Drive folder, just like you can with Dropbox.


We’ll be using version 3.2.17 of Vassal (the most current version.) You can download it here:

We’ll be taking turns using version 1.10 of the the Root Vassal module posted here (and also in the Google Drive folder):

There’s also a very nice Tabletop Simulator mod that we can use for reference:

Log File Name

Please use this format: “FFF-0001-mar.vlog”

  • FFF is a game descriptor (Frisky Forum Forest)
  • 0001 is a sequential identifier so that the log files can be sorted in order by name. Please use the next number in sequence when you save a log file
  • mar is a faction name abbreviation (mar, eyr, all, vag)

How to Take a Turn

  1. Retrieve the latest vlog file from the Google Drive folder.
  2. Double-click on the file to open it up. (You must have Vassal and the Root module installed)
  3. If this is the first file you’ve opened, it will ask you to choose which player you want to play. Please choose your faction.
  4. Each vlog file is a log of the previous turn. You have to step through the log file so that you can add your turn to the end. Do this by either clicking the right arrow on the left side of the toolbar, or pressing the PageDown key.
  5. Step all the way through the previous turn, checking as you go to be sure it was done correctly.
  6. Once you reach the end of the log, Vassal will prompt you “End of logfile. Start new logfile?” Choose “Yes”
  7. Input the name of the new log file and then take your turn.
  8. Feel free to use the chat bar in Vassal to comment as you take your turn. The comments are saved to the log.
  9. At the beginning of a round, the first player should remove all the movement markers by clicking the “mov” button on the toolbar.
  10. Once your turn is done, choose “End Logfile” under the file menu and exit Vassal.
  11. Upload the new log file to the Google Drive folder.
  12. Make a post here, summarizing your turn and tag the next player.

Drawing Cards in Vassal

  • To draw cards from the shared deck, just drag one off the deck. It will automatically give you a random card. No shuffling needed.
  • Once you draw a card, it is attached to your player. If you see a red border around the card, it means the card is face-down to all other players except you. You can right-click the card and select “Flip” to flip the card over so that other players can see it.
  • Right-click a card and select “Discard” to discard a card to the discard pile.
  • I suggest storing your cards either on your player board (open your player board window and drag the card to it) or make the window for your player board bigger and put them on the side.
  • A couple of the boards (e.g. Marquise and Alliance I believe) have a card outline next to the player board. This is for exchanging cards, NOT for putting your hand into.

Resources and References

  • We’ll be using the 4th edition rules.
  • The Law of Root (comprehensive rules reference and final word on the rules) and a Learn to Play are posted in the Google Drive folder.

Here is a nice, short general overview rules video in 6 minutes with Becca Scott:

There are about 9,452,346 other Youtube videos about this game, including more comprehensive rules videos, a Heavy Cardboard teach-and-play, a Rahdo runthrough, and a slightly-less-than-glowing SU&SD review.


Discussion, screenshots, and board state updates will be posted below.

I would certainly like to play (Unless you want beginners, them I’m happy to watch and kibitz!).

  1. If we’re only going to have four, I think we should use the base factions, because leaving one of them out kind of leaves a hole in the game. Maybe we could swap the raccooon for the otters or something?
  2. It would probably be more fun for observers to do it in forum?
  3. Random factions is usually better, in my experience.

Oh, man, I know this is asking a lot, but can you pencil me in for the next one? I have this game but have only played it a couple of times (and with more than two only once). Atrocious, atrocious rulebook, but once you pick up what it’s laying down I like it a lot.

We could play 5 factions and include everyone, with @Cuthbert as the experienced player forced to play the lizards or something :)

@Kolbex can have my spot if you’d rather do 4, I’ve played this a thousand times. (Not well!), but your call

Well if I’m going to play (and I’d like to), we’ll have to do it via Vassal because we have hidden hands of cards. But we can have discussions here and I’ll post screenshots at least once a round.

So I propose:

  1. A newbie game: me, @Thraeg, @Kolbex, and @rowe33 with @Cuthbert on deck for the next round.
  2. Core game factions only, with factions chosen randomly.
  3. Turns played via Vassal.

Players, please just reply here when ready and I’ll set everything up.

I’m ready. I’ve never done a multiplayer game actually via VASSAL before.

Sounds good!

Oh cool, I’ve been wanting to try Root for a while now. Maybe next game if there’s room?

I guess I’ll watch and learn for now.

Are you going to have actual live vassal sessions? Or just send the file around?

(If you’re having live ones, feel free to announce in the thread for Maximum Giving Unwanted Suggestions potential)

I was going back and forth on this. I thought for a bit about just moderating, but there are problems with even that. All the players have to be able to see the whole board state, including the other players’ boards. Some clever people have come up with a way to facilitate this on BGG using an image with a bunch of Photoshop layers. I don’t have Photoshop so would need to figure out how to do it via GIMP. I’m willing but it’ll take me awhile.

Or we could pass turns in Vassal. I’ve played many board games this way and it works well, but usually takes a turn or two before the kinks get worked out if players aren’t familiar with it. The advantages with Vassal are that 1) I can play and 2) It’s far less work. The disadvantages are that it 1) requires Vassal which has a shallow, but not non-existent learning curve and 2) probably wouldn’t be as interesting for spectators unless we make a real effort to keep the thread up to date.

So, question for the thread: Vassal or moderated? If we do Vassal, I’ll provide detailed instructions for how to do a turn. If you’re only interested in playing one way or the other, please note that. Either way, I’ll set it all up on my lunch break tomorrow.

I’m fine with either way but Vassal sounds a bit easier, plus you get to play.

Same here.

aw, I missed this.

I will follow, and if there’s a new round ping me!

It’d be nice to have something to spectate in the thread, but y’all should go with whatever is easier for you guys playing.

Playing via vassal won’t prevent screenshots or turn summaries, right?

Sorry I’ve been late with this. Busy day at work. I’ll set up Vassal stuff later this afternoon. I haven’t heard anything from @Thraeg, so I’ll assume no-show and I’ll slot @Cuthbert there. @Woodlance, @Juan_Raigada and @Thraeg are on deck. Factions as follows, rolled randomly from core factions:

@rowe33 - Marquise
@Matt_W - Vagabond
@Cuthbert - Eyrie
@Kolbex - Alliance

I’ll post Vassal file and instructions in a bit. Please everyone familiarize yourself with the rules for your faction, particularly the setup instructions, which can be found in the Law of Root and on these photographs of the back of player placards I’ve taken. Also open up the module (in the Google Drive folder linked in the OP) in Vassal (DO NOT forget the password you choose. There is no way to retrieve it!) and take a look around, play with it to get an idea how it works. There’s a tab for each faction that includes the player board and has all their pieces on it. Cards will be in the spot to the right of the game board. The custom die roller rolls a d4 outputing 0,1,2, or 3. (The dice that come with the game are d12’s that have 3 each of 0, 1, 2, 3.)





Ooh, I have yet to play the bunnies. Should be a good time, although I’m envious of your pull of the Vagabond, since I’ve been interested in that one the most but never got to play it (not recommended for 2p). Thanks for this, @Matt_W!

You should check out the Rootbotics PnP stuff from the upcoming Clockwork expansion. There are decent AIs for every faction there, and really all you have to do is print the AI’s player board on a sheet of paper and have a digital copy of the Law of Rootbotics on a tablet or something. I’ve done a couple of games with Marquise 2.0 that were fun and challenging. Not like a human player, but decent.

Ah, sorry, was reading the rules and didn’t notice you were waiting on a response from me. I’ll just watch this time then.