As part of a series of posts diving deeper into the mechanics of Fruit, I'm going to take a closer look at the fundamental tiles that players lay down.
In this post we'll be looking at the Root tile.
In terms of water tokens, root tiles cost 3 plus the number of stalk tiles that are in your plant. So at the start of the game a root costs three water tokens, but add a stalk and your next root will cost 4...and so on.
The only exception to this is if you happen to lose all your root tiles to voles (see below) - in this unlikely but possible situation, a root will cost 3 again, regardless of how many stalks you have. It seems only fair!
There are two types of root tile, each with three connections - two connections on opposite edges, and one connection on the edge directly to the left or the right of one of the opposing connections.
This allows the player to create a relatively natural-looking root system that branches down and out from beneath the stalk of the plant.
Root tiles may only be placed adjacent to the starter tile or another root.
Root tiles do not score.
Voles are tiny, cute creatures that snuffle around, burrowing under plants and eating their roots.
In Fruit, voles are tokens that are placed on roots when a player rolls the pest icon instead of water droplets on the dice, and then rolls a vole on the pest dice.
Any root with a vole on it is out of the game - it no longer counts when you roll water droplets. So, using the example from earlier, if you roll three water droplets and have two root tiles (plus the starter tile) but one root now has a vole on it, you collect 3 x 2 = 6 water tokens.
Voles may only be placed on roots at the end of a root system, so if you have a line of three root tiles, the vole can only go on the last one (i.e. the one farthest from the starter tile).
Roots don't score any points, and they get progressively more expensive in terms of water cost, so they're usually an early-game investment.
However, players should strike a balance between building a solid root system to generate water and starting on growth - there are only 20 turns in the game, and time slips away more quickly than you think.