If you've played Root and discovered the fascinating fun of asymmetrical gameplay (where players have different goals, strengths, challenges, and more), you might be looking for other games in the same vein. We asked our Underdog Advisors group to recommend their favorite board games like Root, and they had some terrific suggestions. Check out their recommendations and choose a new adventure for your next game night!
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Our advisors definitely agreed: if you're looking for games like Root, you have to try Spirit Island. Mike R. notes that "in the way that Root's different civs have drastically different playstyles, there is a high diversity of playstyles in Spirit Island." Each player is a different spirit of the land with its own elemental powers, defending the island from colonizing invaders. Work together to try to destroy all the settlements, before the colonists destroy any of the spirits or the island is overrun by blight. There are a variety of invaders to choose from, so you get a new game every time you play. Expect a game to take about 1.5 to 2 hours. (1-4 players, ages 14+)
Brett K. recommended this one, and Danielle R. agreed: "This is a much easier game to get into for newer gamers!" Brett calls it a great gateway game, and an Amazon reviewer says that "it's like Risk but way better." The game board lays out the map of a world that's not quite big enough to accommodate everyone. Players must choose the right combination of 14 different fantasy races (giants, orcs, wizards, etc.) and use their powers to expand their empire across the board. This game is light and fun, but challenging enough for experienced gamers to get into. Plan to spend about 45-90 minutes on a game. (2-5 players, ages 8+)
This is another top pick that several folks recommended we add to our list of games like Root. With the effects of a great war still looming, Europa is in a period of civil unrest. Each player represents a different faction, starting from a different location with their own unique set of resources and a hidden goal. Players battle for domination on the board as they try to achieve their individual goals. Gameplay moves along quickly, and there's no downtime between turns. (1-5 players, ages 14+)
Most asymmetrical games tend to be designed with older players in mind, but My Little Scythe is geared toward the younger crowd. The general mechanics are similar to Scythe itself, but with a kid-friendly, less violent theme. It's also simplified a bit, and gameplay is shorter at an hour or less. This is one of those "kid games" that adults will enjoy too, even more experienced gamers. (1-6 players, ages 8+)
If you can't resist a game with miniatures, add Cry Havoc to your shelf. This one is all about battles, with each of four factions having their own unique advantages and disadvantages. Some reviewers note that the instructions are a little confusing, and recommend watching a playthrough video before you start. Once you've played a round or two, though, you'll master the combat system and enjoy the action. Game sessions last about 90 minutes. (2-4 players, ages 10+)
Disney fans, this one's for you! Pick your favorite villain (Captain Hook, Maleficent, Jafar, Ursula, Queen of Hearts, or Prince John) and then pursue goals specific to their story. Each player is working towards their own end, but may occasionally interact with others, trying to foil their opponent's endeavors! This incredibly popular game has spawned multiple expansions and spin-offs, so if you enjoy it, check out the rest of the line. Play takes an hour or less, making it perfect for times when you need something a little shorter. (2-6 players, ages 10+)
Love scary movies and haunted houses? Enter the Mysterious Manor, where each of up to five players has their own goals to accomplish. Sometimes these goals intertwine in horrible ways. For instance, the Spider seeks to return to its terrible glory, while the Paladin must defeat the Spider to gain atonement from the gods. Ultimately, there can only be one winner, so watch your opponents closely as you work toward your own victory. Set aside an hour or two for this asymmetrical board game. (1-5 players, ages 10+)
The GAIA Project is a follow-up to one of the most popular asymmetrical board games of all time, Terra Mystica. 14 different factions live on 7 different kinds of planets, and players each take on the role of one of the factions. Factions have specific environmental requirements, so in order to expand to other planets, they need to terraform them to meet their needs first. Since there are more factions than planets, each player must compete to be the first to transform and claim territory. Reviewers feel that this game improves on Terra Mystica in a variety of ways, making it a worthy successor. Game sessions for this one tend to be on the longer side, taking up to 2.5 hours. (1-4 players, ages 12+)
Looking for more new favorites? Check out all our board game recommendations here!