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Return to the world of Root with new factions, maps, and an alternative game deck!
Return to the world of Root with new factions, maps, and an alternative game deck!
20,886 backers pledged $1,726,461 to help bring this project to life.

Developer Diary

Posted by Nick Brachmann (Collaborator)

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


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    1. Sepsis on

      Merci pour cet update et pour ce partage !
      Root est l'un des meilleurs jeux au monde :)

      Thanks for the update et for the share !
      Root is one of the best game ever

    2. Pán Kevély on

      Great write-up! I love these insights from the development process – keep them coming!

    3. Missing avatar

      Björn Bäckman on

      Thanks for the update! Though, I must say, I do not agree with you on one point... you CAN write! That was inspiring, thank you! :)

    4. Missing avatar

      Matan Cohen on

      Hi. I've backed the underworld warrior but just wondering if there's an option to add in the new mats for the lizards, WA, cats and vagabond?


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      M Peterson on

      I have Root and the Riverfolk expansion. I want to get all the new material including the mats, but I don’t see that as an option without getting a second copy of Riverfolk. Will that be doable?

    6. Cassandra on

      Thanks Nick! What a great update, I loved hearing about your journey :-)

      This is why I back kickstarters! The process is so intriguing to watch and read about. I also enjoy the personal stories of people working on their passion projects and realising dreams.

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      Adam Pascale

      Thank you so much Nick. This is not only a great story but what inspiration.

      I to am a graphic designer, illustrator,’painter and so on. I am also an avid game board player with a few ideas for some games in my head, like many.

      This gives me much hope.

      Your role and passion in Leder Games, along with everyone, is what make the games great.

      Can’t wait to get this on the table already. Keep it up!

    8. Esben Heick on

      Thanks for the insight. I suppose you also work closely with Kyle Ferrin?

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      Stephen Stanton

      Thanks for the inside view.

    10. Joe Phillips on

      I like this! Thanks for the story and congrats on everything you have all achieved so far!