How to Teach Root

by Silverchase. Posted 2024-01-18.

This writeup is licensed under CC BY 4.0

Mirrored as a GitHub Gist

This is a guide for Root players who want to create more Root players out of their friends. The Teach is the notoriously difficult part of introducing a new board game to a group. They may not be familiar with “heavy” board games, but if they're willing to learn, I hope this guide can help you teach them — I extracted it from my mental notes from having taught the game multiple times.

Requirements for this guide:


This is the general structure of this teach.

  1. Introduction
  2. Objective and key ideas
  3. Common rules
  4. Faction rules
  5. Recap
  6. Start playing

Tips: keep in mind before starting the teach


Introduce the theme, describe the gameplay, and explain why you like Root (and why they should like it, too). Here's an example of how to deliver the introduction. Of course, change it to fit you.

Objective and key ideas

Common rules

Start the explanation with just the rules that apply to everyone. Don't worry about the exceptions during this part. It's super helpful to give examples; those are also good moments to quiz the table on the rule you just explained (“Now who rules this clearing? Why?”)

Whew! That was a lot! Remember to invite questions from the table: “What questions do you have about XYZ before we continue?”

Faction rules

Pass the player boards around. While that happens, explain each faction broadly. Focus on their gameplay, main source of points, and (if possible) compare them to something your friends are familiar with.

Ask the table what they think of the factions. As a group, work out who's going to play what. You choose last.

Once everyone has a faction, explain to each player the details of playing their faction. The others don't need to pay full attention.

Go through each player's board with them. Draw their attention to the box detailing the phases of their turn. Use that box as the base for your explanation. You can also quiz them on how they can earn points.

The rest of this Faction Rules section is my outline for explaining each faction. Not all rules and details of the factions are included! I explain the deeper things when they come up in-game.

Marquise de Cat

Core mechanic: make wood, use wood to build buildings

  1. Birdsong: Place wood at sawmills
  2. Daylight: Do up to three actions (more by spending bird cards)
  3. Evening: Draw 1 card, +1 for each exposed plus-card symbol. Discard down to 5.


How to earn points

Eyrie Dynasties

Core mechanic: bigger decree → more actions during daylight

  1. Birdsong: Add 1-2 cards to decree, max 1 bird card
  2. Daylight: Follow the decree. Do each action in matching clearings. If you can't, turmoil!
  3. Evening: Gain points based on your roost tracker. Draw and discard.


How to earn points

Woodland Alliance

Core mechanic: use supporters to place sympathy tokens, then revolt there

  1. Birdsong: Spend matching supporters to place sympathy (adjacent to already sympathetic clearing if possible). Gain the revealed points.
  2. Daylight: Do these any number of times
  3. Evening: Do actions, up to the number of officers. Then draw and discard.



How to earn points


Core mechanic: collect items for actions and quests

There are different Vagabond characters. Start with Thief. Note the ability and starting loadout.


  1. Birdsong:
    1. Refresh items
    2. Slip: may move to clearing or forest for free (only player who can access forests)
  2. Daylight: turn items face down to do corresponding actions
  3. Evening:
    1. If in forest, repair all items
    2. Draw and discard
    3. Ditch items that exceed your satchel capacity


Hostile relationships

How to earn points

Which source of points to focus on depends on game conditions


Summarize key rules again and emphasize easily overlooked rules (like removing cardboard for 1 point).

Invite questions again, since this is the last moment before starting the game.

Start playing

Distribute helper cards to each player for them to reference. Complete the setup.

The game includes a walkthrough script that guides four players through the first two turns of the game; ask if they want to use it. If so…

Once the game gets going, remind everyone to narrate their turn. (This is a good habit to have in all tabletop games.) That will help them learn their actions and highlight to other players what's going on in the game state.



Players will probably ask about game jargon. The Learn to Play booklet included in the box explains them. Here's my summary of the commonly-asked ones.

Concepts to explain later

Some rules are too finicky to explain beforehand. Leave them for later, when the game has started. Here's a list of things the teach skipped over.

[1]: Crafting explained:

[2]: Battle mechanics for Vagabond:

Handy resources


I wrote this using Apostrophe. What was supposed to be a quick brain dump for someone became an effortful writeup that I think is now worthy of publishing online. Tell me what you think!