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Subject: Review after 1st play rss

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Chad Lawrence
United States
Lewisville
Texas
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I played my first game of Fortress America this weekend with my kids, and thought I'd offer a brief review. This is a game I always wanted to play as a kid, but never got a copy of the original. So I was excited to get this reprint and share the joy with my children.

The first impression is good, but not great. The infantry and partisan miniatures are nice and heavy and the sculpts are attractive. I was a little annoyed that some assembly was required for the lasers and helicopters, especially since some of the helicopters kept coming apart during the course of the game. The tanks and mobile units are adequate, although some of the barrels for the tanks are already a little wilted.

The board looks nice, and the city counter and turn counter are very helpful. My only complaint is the size of the territories. Several of the territories are very small, and it's difficult to fit five units in those territories and five units in adjacent territories and still discern which units are in which territory. Also, the lines that define the territory boundaries are somewhat faint, so that without a good light it can be confusing to see where the territories actually are.

Reading through the rule book was a challenge. The rule book is organized by the sequence of the turn, but there are terms used that are defined in odd places. Some examples were given. I got the impression that the writer was trying to cover every eventuality that could occur. While there is an advantage to that, it seems that it may have been better to have the rules simply cover the most likely scenarios and deal with odd exceptions in a sidebar or FAQ. After reading through it we were able to play ok, but there was a lot of page flipping for the first few turns.

The movement rules are especially confusing, but as the game progressed the reasoning behind the movement rules became clear. There is a lot of advantages that can be created by effective use of the movement rules, but unfortunately my kids had trouble grasping the movement rules and were unable to take advantage of the nuances. They often got frustrated because they had an idea of what they wanted to do, but couldn't figure out how to accomplish it within the constraints of the movement rules.

At first I was a little put off by the use of symbols on the dice instead of numbers, but after playing through a game I think the symbols work very well. I thought it would be confusing to keep track of which symbol was what without constantly referencing the guide, but we actually picked up the symbology rather quickly.

Despite the items listed above, the game was very fun. I may be a sucker for games that involve pushing around plastic and rolling dice, but even my kids enjoyed it despite their lack of understanding all of the rules. After the first few rounds it looked like the situation was hopeless for America, but my older son was able to hold on and kept recapturing just enough cities every turn to continue the game. Once the invaders ran out of reinforcements, it became a race for the clock to see if we could capture and hold enough cities before America began to regain their numerical unit advantage. America ended up winning since the invaders were one city short of victory after the final turn.

My final criticism was the length of the game. It took us around six hours spread over the course of two days to finish, and by the end I think my kids were a bit weary of the game. It was a lot of fun, but we had to take some breaks so they could move around and not get too bored waiting for their turn. With older experienced players I think the game could be finished in half that time.

I think this game really stretched the gaming skills of my kids. The recommended ages are 14 and up, and my children are 7, 8, and 11. They managed to play and finish the game, but I'm not sure we'll play it often because of the length it took to finish. Maybe when they're a little older and can sit for longer this one will see the table more.

Overall I think this is a fun game. If you enjoy other games that involve conquering territories and deciding battles with dice, you'll like this game. I wish that the territories on the board were more clearly defined and that the territories were bigger, but the board and units are functional. The movement rules can be confusing, but make sense after you've played some. I'm happy that FFG reprinted this and look forward to deciding the fate of America often in the future.
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Pete Belli
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thumbsup for enjoying a session with your kids!
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Dan Conley
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chademe wrote:
Reading through the rule book was a challenge. The rule book is organized by the sequence of the turn, but there are terms used that are defined in odd places.


This has been my experience with most FFG games I own. shake I'm wondering if I'd be better off buying a copy of the original...
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Brian Morris
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Raytown
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The original edition still has Kansas City so it will always be superior.
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Was George Orwell an Optimist?
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mrbeankc wrote:
The original edition still has Kansas City so it will always be superior.

And its helicopters and lasers need no assembly.
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Fernando Robert Yu
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6 hours!!! Uggghhh..lengthy games are not attractive for the young 'uns these days....unless they are videogames.....it's the "twitch" mentality that today's digital age instills...
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Chad Lawrence
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That's why we had to spread it over two days, and take breaks on each of those days.

I don't think they mind leaving the game and coming back to it later. They do that with video games anyway. My only problem is that while the game is set up on the table, we have to eat on the couch in the living room.
 
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Todd Woodward
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Quote:
After the first few rounds it looked like the situation was hopeless for America, but my older son was able to hold on and kept recapturing just enough cities every turn to continue the game. Once the invaders ran out of reinforcements, it became a race for the clock to see if we could capture and hold enough cities before America began to regain their numerical unit advantage. America ended up winning since the invaders were one city short of victory after the final turn.



This is why the game has been a favorite of mine for 25 years; the situation looks hopeless for the US, but the look can be very deceiving!
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Marcel van der pol
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Leiden
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The US really has to be patient in this game. Hold off invaders, create as many problems for them as possible, use the Lasers tactically or for long-term damage (ie bombers) and setup as many possible counter-attacks as possible.
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Freddy Dekker
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Territories too small, we had the same problem with A&A and it can be very annoying
 
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Jeremy Fridy
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freddieyu wrote:
6 hours!!! Uggghhh..lengthy games are not attractive for the young 'uns these days....unless they are videogames.....it's the "twitch" mentality that today's digital age instills...


6 HOURS! Man, most games of FA in my day took around 3. That was one of the big selling points of it over Axis and Allies in our group.
 
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Freddy Dekker
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I'm still wondering about the small teritories remark someone made and which put me off at first.

I've now watched videos on the rules and it's clear you are only allowed 5 units in a territory, right?

With A&A you could stuff all you wanted in a territory so at times things got really crowded.

Than... how difficult is this game.

A&A and SHOGUN were fairly easy, also because of it's risk-likeness, but when I read about this game I can't help but wonder if it won't be more of a struggle.
 
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