Forts

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Forts
Payton Swick
A game of building and tearing down.
:Players Players: 2 - 4
:Time Length: unknown
:Complexity Complexity: Low
Trios per color: 5
Number of colors: 1 per player
Pyramid trios:
Monochr. stashes: 1 per player
Five-color sets:
- - - - - - Other equipment - - - - - -
one six-sided die
Setup time: a minute
Playing time:
Strategy depth: Low
Random chance: Lots
Game mechanics:
Theme:
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BGG Link: 35204
Status: complete? (v1.0), Year released: 2987


All is not peaceful in Fortland. Each country on the square-shaped continent is preparing an army to conquer their neighbors. The only problem is that their neighbors have armies invading their countries as well! The only answer is to build forts.

(These rules are also available with photographs in a PDF: http://foolord.com/Forts.pdf)

Materials

  • One (different colored) Icehouse stash per player.
  • One six-sided die.

Setup

  • Each player gets one city (large icehouse piece) and two or three towns (medium icehouse pieces) - two towns for a 2 or 4 player game, three towns for a 3 player game.
  • Each player gets five forts (small icehouse pieces) which they place in front of them.
  • Players all place their cities and towns in a square, pointing upwards, leaving an empty space in the center. This is Fortland. (It helps to leave a little space between each town and city.)
  • Cities should be placed in the corners of the square with towns on the sides. If playing with three players, the player to the left of the starting player places one of his towns in a corner as well. If playing with two players, both players place a town in a corner.
  • Each player places their army (a medium pyramid lying on its side) on the outside of the square next to one of the two sides of their city. The army should be facing (pointing) counter-clockwise around the square.
  • Play begins with the player who woke up the earliest today and proceeds to the right.

Goal

To build forts on all the cities and towns of your neighbors before they build forts on all your cities and towns.

Gameplay

  • On each player's turn, that player rolls a six-sided die. The result is the number of actions their army must take this turn. Actions include marching, turning, building forts, and tearing down forts. The army must use all their actions during their turn, although they may be used in any order.

Marching/Turning

  • The simplest action is marching. An army may march one space in the direction it is facing to the next town or city for each action used. If the army reaches a corner, it may turn the corner with one action (remaining at the same town or city, but on a different side).
  • An army may use two actions to turn itself around and face in the opposite direction. An army may turn around only once per turn.
  • Only one army is allowed in a city or town, with two exceptions: two armies may occupy a city or town which is on a corner (but only on different sides), and an army may pass through an occupied city or town when marching, as long as it does not stop there.

Building/Tearing Down

  • An army may build or tear down a fort on any city it currently occupies.
  • An army may use two actions to build a fort on a town or three actions to build a fort on a city. That player places a fort on top of the town or city. If the town or city belongs to another player, that part of Fortland is now considered under siege.
  • An army may build a fort on one of its own towns or cities in the same manner. Such a town or city is considered fortified, and is more difficult to invade.
  • Only one fort is allowed on any city or town at a given time.
  • An army may use two actions to tear down an existing fort on a town or three actions to tear down an existing fort on a city. Remove the fort from the top of that town or city and return it to the player who owns it.
  • An army may tear down its own fort using no actions, and that army gains a number of actions equal to the original action cost of the fort (two for a town, three for a city).

Strategy

  • Building forts on your own towns and cities can protect them from attack because other armies will be forced to tear down those forts before building their own, and has the added advantage that you can later tear down those forts for extra actions if you need them.
  • Rolling a one on the die is a forced march in the direction the army is facing, and it is illegal to turn around more than once. It is therefore difficult to end up with your army on the same town you started on, but it can be valuable to try to do so, as it prevents other armies from being in the same space.
  • Cities are easier to reach (there are two possible spaces for each city), but cost more, so it is more difficult to build/tear down forts.
  • You can only have five forts at a time, which can be significant in a three or four player game when there are sixteen spaces to cover.
  • Note that the cost to build or tear down a fort is the number of pips on that icehouse piece.

Ending the Game

When all of a player's towns and cities are under siege, that player is out of the game. Remove all their forts from other player's towns and cities, and remove all forts built on their towns and cities and return all these forts to their owners. (The player's cities and towns remain part of Fortland, but new forts may not be built on them.)

The last player to have a city or town which is not under siege wins.

Variations

  • The number of cities and towns for each player and their places in Fortland are only a suggestion. To vary the game, Fortland can be built with any square layout. More cities will make the game take longer.
  • Forts on a town or city belonging to a player who is out of the game could be left in place instead of returning them to their owners. This would force players to tear down those forts if they wanted to use them again (which may actually help).
  • A simpler and faster game can be played by disallowing tearing down your own forts for additional actions.
  • The game could be played by more than 4 players, but in that case it might be useful to use two dice instead of one. Using two dice prevents forced marches, however, and so it may be useful to change the cost of turning around to three actions.