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Subject: Solo match (to try it out and learn the game) rss

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Ethan Van Vorst
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I have an upcoming game tomorrow (1/9/) with my nephew and brothers. They're all experienced Axis & Allies players, so they're at least familiar with a board game in the style of Fortress America. In an effort to quickly learn the game, which neither myself, nor my "group" know, and upon recommendations from several folks here, I played a solo match that spanned roughly 10 hours. I don't know how detailed Session Reports typically go, but I wrote down each sides goals, results, and strategies for each turn. If it's too long I apologize!

Turn 1:
US places mostly infantry in direct invasion zones, with the exception of D.C. which has a Helo and Hovertank.

Western Invader (hereafter referred to as W.I.) manages to take Portland, and gets a foothold on the west coast. The attack on San Francisco fails. San Francisco retains 1 US Infantry, while the 2nd Infantry is "retreated" to L.A., which isn't declared in the intial WI push.

Southern Invader (hereafter referred to as S.I.) makes 3 major attacks on San Diego, Phoenix, and Houston. They are repulsed in San Diego and Phoenix but manage to take Houston. Forces move slowly north into Texas.

Eastern Invader (hereafter referred to as E.I.) takes Miami, Tampa, and DC. They make a strong showing and get several territories in the Blue Ridge/Appalachian Mountains.

US: A single laser is placed in Minneapolis, and the Partisan cards place 4 Partisans in the West, 4 in the East. (This has direct ramifications for the WI later in the game). Their primary goal is to retake D.C. I perceive that if I can hold DC against the Reds they'll meatgrind themselves to death against it as it appears (to me) to be the linchpin of the entire Eastern front. The attack, however, fails, although it causes the EI terrible losses in DC.

Turn 2:

WI: Goals: Take San Francisco, surround Seattle, and push east! Results: The attack on San Francisco succeeds, the lone US Infantry defending is "retreated" into L.A., which still is not declared. A direct attack on Seattle also fails, however WI push slowly to the East. A single WI chopper that had advanced to the east of Seattle is lost due to supply check.

SI: Goals: The US forces in the Southern Sector are weak now. Primary goals are to take San Diego, Phoenix, and San Antonio while pushing Helos past the front. Results: All three aforementioned cities are crushed. Southern US defense line is demolished.

EI: Goals: Reinforce D.C., move NW into Appalachians. Results: This is done.

US: Goals: Retake D.C., at all costs! Solidify Blue Ridge Mountains defense line. A 2nd laser is placed in Milwaukee. First Partisan card is "Major Airlift", and Minneapolis Moon Buggy units (mobile units ) are moved to reinforce Denver, which I perceive will be crucial in a few turns. There were no unoccupied enemy cities at the time. Second Partisan card is "Partisan Revolt in Western Sector." The result is a major hole being plugged east of Seattle. Both laser strikes hit; 1 EI Bomber in D.C., and 1 EI Helo in Blue Ridge Mountains. D.C. is retaken! A single Partisan manages to kill one of EI's Helos in the Blue Ridge and reinforces area Northeast of Atlanta.

Turn 3:

WI: Goals: Push East, take Seattle. Results: Seattle falls. WI units advance to zones surrounding western half of Salt Lake City, but they're not quite in position to take it just yet...

SI: Goals: Take L.A., which is now defended by 4 US Infantry. Move NE towards Denver, and assault Houston. Results: The attack on LA is a shambles with heavy losses. Defenders roll huge, killing 3 SI attackers and disengaging 1. The US takes no losses and acquire the nickname, "The Sons of Rambo".

EI: Red forces are getting quagmired on the landing beaches. Goals: Blast open holes in the Blue Ridge defense line, retake DC, take Atlanta. Results: There is partial success in the Blue Ridge mountains, making the US line there porous. The attack on DC is utterly repulsed with heavy losses to the EI and none to the US defenders. Positions moved closer to Atlanta for attack.

US: It is imperative at this point that the NE and Western defensive lines are solidified. Two Partisan cards are drawn; #1 places 3 Partisans in Southern Sector, where they kill an SI Helo NW of Dallas. The 2nd card gives US 4 Partisans in the Rockies. This card is much needed as it greatly solidifies the Western defensive line, making it two deep through the Rocky Mountains. In effect the WI cannot push Helos in advance. Huge card draw for US, although Eastern Sector is quickly running out of troops. A 3rd Partisan card (for recapture of DC) provides this needed help by putting 3 reinforcements in Chicago. Of the 3 lasers, only one hits, and that an EI bomber. At this point there is a fairly durable defense line stretching from New Orleans to just east of Seattle. US forces from DC retake Carolina coastal zones.

Turn 4:

WI: At this point WI is doing best overall. They have accrued only 4 losses and are in a strong position to move east. Goals: Push East! Break through US defenses in Rockies. Results: WI forces break through defended zone east of Seattle, but at the cost of a bomber. More forces reinforce siege positions west of Salt Lake City. All forces move East.

SI: At this point SI forces are strong at both ends of their front but weak in the middle. Goals: Take LA, Dallas, push north. Results: "The Sons of Rambo" continue to hold LA, but with the loss of 2 Infantry. A small SI forces pushes to the outskirts of Denver. Dallas is taken with light loss to SI forces.

EI: Goals: Retake DC, Carolina coastal zones, and push hard to the north. Results: DC attack flounders and is still held by two US hovertanks. Big holes are blasted in the Appalachians, killing or pushing back the now weakening line of US Partisans. EI is now eyeing Memphis.

US: Goals: Hold the western defense line, solidify NE defense line. First Partisan card drawn is "NRA Training Camp", which only further helps in the Rockies by placing fresh troops there, making life harder for the WI. Second card is "Clear Weather", allowing lasers to strike on a 3 or better for one turn. New laser goes in Chicago, making a total of 4. The US targets 4 separate Bombers (2 SI, 1 WI, and 1 EI) and hit all 4. US attacks and defeats the small group of SI forces just south of Denver with the loss of a single Partisan. The Eastern Sector is where things look most grim. Only 1 Partisan card has put reinforcements there and those are almost totally spent. The US is committing their last reserves there now to hold the line.

Turn 5:

WI: Strength is very good, but Rockies are still blocked 2 zones deep, negating Helo advances. LA is weak, with only 2 US defenders, but so are the SI forces in the area. It is clear the SI will not be able to take LA. Goals: Push through US lines in Rockies, take LA. Results: "The Sons of Rambo" in LA fall at last. Salt Lake City is also attacked and conquered. The first line of US defenders in the Rockies is killed or pushed back. On the gameboard, at this point, the WI looks like a massive, unstoppable wave.

SI: Things not looking good thus far. What few forces remain adjacent to LA must move NE to rejoin main thrust north. Goals: Take New Orleans, break through US lines. Results: New Orleans taken...SI on the verge of a breakthrough!

EI: Forces are taking a pounding from US attacks, Partisans, and Laser Strikes. There are almost no bombers left. However the US is on it's last legs defense-wise and a breakthrough is very close. Goals: Ignore Memphis, push all forces north, and hard. Retake DC. Results: DC defenders smashed, city retaken. EI forces push to area just south of Indianapolis. A giant mass of Red moves north!

US: In serious trouble. The Western Defense line is barely holding. A line from Chicago to Philadelphia is held by a scant 9 US defenders, with no reinforcements behind them. Goals: Defense! Reinforce!. Results: 1st Partisan Card is "Eagle's Nest", placing much needed troops in the Eastern Sector. The 2nd card is "Desert Scorpions", which kills 3 WI tanks west of the Lewis Range in the Rockies. This helps greatly and blunts WI attacks on that sector. A 5th Laser goes in Buffalo (in hindsight a very poor choice of placement). Of the 5 lasers fired, 3 hit 2 WI Bombers, and 1 SI Bomber.

Turn 6 - Last Invader Reinforcements

WI: Partisan card "Desert Scorpions" and laser strikes dealt a hard blow. Goals: Push East, break through last vestiges of US defense line in Rockies. Results: Success! WI achieves a breaththrough! Pushes hard to the east towards Minneapolis. Most WI forces, however, are still in the vicinity of the landing beaches, and will require several turns to catch up. It is a clear shot to an almost undefended Minneapolis.

SI: Forces appear as a massive blue wave heading north. Goals: Push North, bring in last 3 Bombers, prepare to siege St. Louis. Results: Forces move into position to take St. Louis.

EI: US lines are anemic. Goals: Finish off the US Eastern Defense Line, claim several cities as reward. Results: Two EI Helos sacrifice themselves to destroy 2 lasers in Detroit and Buffalo. Assault on Philly fails which results in EI losses. It is defended by two Partisans and a Hovertank. US successfully defends Pittsburgh but only has 2 Infantry in in it at this point. US line about to collapse.

US: Almost out for the count. Can hold all but the EI forces at bay at this point. First Partisan card is "Wheatfield Thrashers", placing much needed units in the Illinois/west of Milwaukee region. Second card is "Legions of Liberty destroy Barracks" card, which kills 2 Invader Infantry in one zone. Two EI Infantry are killed in DC. A Partisan is placed north of Tampa. Partisans in north reinforce Minneapolis, which looks to oncoming WI assault. Denver and environs is the only remaining US stronghold. Lasers hit an SI Bomber and EI Bomber. At the end of the turn Tampa is retaken by single Partisan.

Turn 7: The Tide Begins to Turn

WI: Forces must move quickly, but only a few units (mostly Helos) are left at the spearhead. Goals: Make run East...fast. Results: Helos take out a lone Partisan west of Minneapolis, but reinforcements are far behind the spearhead.

SI: Goals: Take St. Louis, Kansas City. Results: SI forces take both cities and are in a good position for a knockout punch on the US. The US only holds 13 cities at this point and are on the brink.

EI: Forces have a good front and are in a good position. Goals: Finish it!. Results: Attacks are made on Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. The assault on Philly fails but Pittsburgh is taken. EI forces are still in a good position to take Memphis if need be and take the US out of the game.

US: On the verge but still capable of hitting back. Goals: US wants to hit the enemy rear areas, which are almost totally empty of Invader troops. Cities must be retaken or the US will lose. First Partisan card is "Destroy 2 units in Mountains". Two EI units (Bomber and Moon Buggy) are killed between Pittsburgh and Philly. 2nd Partisan card is "Partisan Minutement spring up in Eastern Sector". One is placed in Atlanta, one NE of it, and 1 Helo south of Atlanta. 3rd card is "Farm equipment converted in Minneapolis", resulting in two Moon Buggies and a Helo being placed there. This helps strongly against the weak advance of the WI. New laser constructed in Boston. Three hits are made resulting in a dead SI Helo in Kansas City, a dead EI helo NE of Memphis, and a dead EI Hovertank on the Carolina coast. Attacks are made on Kansas City and Pittsburgh, but the Invaders manage to hold both cities. Philadephia is reinforced, as is Chicago.

Turn 8:[/u]

WI: Forces are strongest of the 3. Other Invaders forces are slowly beginning to weaken, although SI still has some fight left in it. Goals: Assault Minneapolis. Results: Five WI Helos are available for an attack, which fails with the loss of 1 Helo. No US losses. WI pushes forces east but are being funneled through one lateral zone in the Rockies, which is slowing advance.

SI: Goals: Upset balance of US forces in north. Results: An attack is made on Milwaukee with a Helo, destroying the laser there. Attacks are made on Chicago with remaining two Bombers and tank mixture. Chicago is taken and SI is in a good position to assault Indianapolis next turn.

EI: Not in good shape. Strongest concentration of troops is in DC and around Memphis. A sole Helo in Pittsburgh sacrifices itself to kill the laser in Detroit and the EI manages to take Memphis. But it is clear at this point that this is the extent of what the EI can do. It is clearly a broken force.

US: Situation is bad but recoverable. The invaders hold 19 cities and the US must take at least 1 back to make it to round 9. Goals: Do or die! Results: 1st Partisan card is the "Detroit Automotive", which places much needed tanks in Detroit. 2nd card is "Mounted Partisans" card in the South which removes units from Oil Resource zones. 3rd card is "Factories in Buffalo", which provides even more much needed units in Eastern sector. 4th card is "Minneapolis converts aircraft" card. Unfortunately Minneapolis already has 4 units defending it, so a single Bomber reinforces units there. A new laser is built in Detroit and hits the lone SI helo positioned in Milwaukee. A 2nd laser strike hits on a Red Helo in DC. A massive counterattack is made on Kansas City, and the attack succeeds. US makes an attack on Chicago but it is demolished with heavy US losses and no casualties for the SI positioned there. US also retakes New Orleans and Milwaukee with Helos and Pittsburgh with a Partisan.

Turn 9: The Invader Situation Worsens

WI: Goals: Take Minneapolis, which is defended by 3 US Infantry. Results: Four WI Helos and 1 WI Infantry attack with light losses on both sides. Rear forces continue to push forward.

SI: Goals: Retake New Orleans, Kansas City. Attack Milwaukee and Indianapolis. Results: Milwaukee manages to hold against the SI attack, but Indianapolis is crushed. New Orleans is also retaken by a single SI Infantry but the attack on KC is completely rebuffed. SI forces beginning to stagnate.

EI: Not much can be done. There simply aren't any meaningful forces left to do anything with. Remaining units solidify in DC, Memphis, Atlanta.

US: Lots of Partisan cards. New laser in New York. Attacks made all over the place on Invader forces. Numerous cities recaptured. SI forces cut off from the rear.

Turn 10: The End Comes

I'm short on time and have to go to work. Suffice it to say that this turn was pure slaughter. WI forces still held great unit cohesiveness but couldn't manage to force their way through the Rockies because of the "funneling" issue that US defenders in the central Rockies were forcing them to make. WI attacked and successfully widened their approach areas to the Plains Sector, but it was too little too late. SI ended up getting cut off from their supply and 2/3rds of their army was instantly destroyed. EI lost Memphis but still managed to hold on to DC and Atlanta.

The US ended up playing 9 Partisan cards. In fact there were no Partisan units left to play from the tray at that point and standard Infantry units had to be played in their stead, which is allowable according to the instructions. At the end of the turn the Invaders conceded. The EI had a grand total of 6 Infantry units left to it's name split between 2 cities. Only the WI had any serious fighting ability left. SI was completely enveloped and annhilated.

Conclusions:

If every game goes along these same lines I can see the draw of Fortress America. This was a seriously adrenaline pumping game for me, and I was soloing the whole thing. The order which the Partisan cards are drawn is integral to the success or failure of the US, and it's ability to keep it's lasers defended is of the utmost importance. I think the Partisan cards drawn around Turns 2 and 3 which placed reinforcements in the Rockies proved ultimately to win the game. Amazing that something that happens on Turn 2 or 3 could have so dramatic an effect on Turns 6 and 7. It slowed the WI long enough for the US to rebuild. This has been an enlightening game and I look forward to tearing on my group tomorrow night!


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simon thornton
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Why is everything underlined ?!? . Asides that ,great session report. This is a great game but it rarely gets to turn 10 , if the invaders havent got it sorted by the 5th or 6th turn they really should give up. Greatly underrated as a wargame IMHO. The A&A 'look' hides a very intricate move/combat/move sequence.
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David Gibbs
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Everything is underlined because he forgot to close an html tag.
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Bill Eldard
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Quote:
I played a solo match that spanned roughly 10 hours.


Whew! I take it that you took a lot of time analyzing the options for each side, and that plus writing the notes accounts for the game length.

It's been a while since I've played, but I think our games generally ran 2.5 - 3.5 hours.
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Ronster Zero
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Looks like you had a fun game that went this distance.

This should have cleared up all the rules and any questions that should come up during the game. Glad to see you did this.

Just remember that the invaders need to push fast and deep from turn 1.

Have a great game this weekend.
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Ethan Van Vorst
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I was super-analyzing everything. There was a whole lot of writing notes on each turn and trying to figure out the best angle for each side. Drove my wife nuts, too. "You done yet?" was her mantra for the past 36 hours lol

Two questions arose.

1. When pulling a partisan card stating something to the effect of "Whatever group spawns 3 Partisans in Southern Sector", I can place said units in empty cities immediately, right? Or do I have to place them adjacent, declare the city, and then march them in? The card/s in question do not have the "Not for use in cities" statement on them.

2. I can technically "sacrifice" a Helo to hop over an enemy territory, land in a US city with a laser (and no defenders) and kill the laser but not take the city, right?

Other than that everything went pretty smoothly. I got a lot of writer's cramp in payment though shake
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Bob Shurig
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Great Session Report. I haven't played Fortress America in a while, even though it is one of my favorite games. I have played this game quite a few times, and it always seems to go down to the wire; and several times, down to the last die roll. Good report. Good game!
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Danger Mike
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StealthDonut wrote:
1. When pulling a partisan card stating something to the effect of "Whatever group spawns 3 Partisans in Southern Sector", I can place said units in empty cities immediately, right? Or do I have to place them adjacent, declare the city, and then march them in? The card/s in question do not have the "Not for use in cities" statement on them.


Only the major airlift card can be used to occupy an empty city, IIRC

StealthDonut wrote:
2. I can technically "sacrifice" a Helo to hop over an enemy territory, land in a US city with a laser (and no defenders) and kill the laser but not take the city, right?


I haven't looked at the rules but that may be possible. Unless Lasers are destroyed after supply is traced. I will check the rules.
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Ethan Van Vorst
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The reason I ask said questions is that the issue came up a lot in the game. The taking of the cities, especially in the Southern Sector, was inevitable. There were no invader units within 3 spaces of most of them. When I double checked the instruction manual it stated that when dealing with Partisan cards to follow them literally as much as is possible. There are cards which do state "Not for use in cities", but there are plenty more that do not specify that. So if I get a card that has 3 or 4 Partisan units spawning anywhere they want in the Southern Sector, and the "not for use in cities" condition isn't attached, why wouldn't I be able to plop one down in San Antonio?

To make matters even more interesting, especially in a case where the Invaders are far from their supply areas, just 3 or 4 Partisans can effectively cut off supply simply by spawning in an empty zone and declaring the zone to it's left in it's next move. After 2nd Movement the single Partisan has effectively taken two zones all within one turn. Three or four such actions could potentially cut a straight lateral line across the SI (or WI) supply route, resulting in a huge amount of supply cutoff loss (2/3rds of the SI army was annhilated in one fell swoop in this fashion in my game), especially when the Invader has no units nearby to defend against this kind of thing.

Now, as to the Helicopter taking out lasers question, the manual was again a little vague. In the section on "Supply Checks" it gave an illustration of two Invader Helos that had been cut off. The Invader forces couldn't break through to save the two Helos, so said Helos flew to a pair of US cities (I want to say Chicago was one, but I can't remember) and landed there with the sole purpose of destroying the Laser Towers there. Since they're not hooked up in a direct supply route back to the invasion zones the zone capture wouldn't take but the Laser could still be destroyed. I just wanted to make sure I was correct on that because the EI forces really wreaked havoc on the US by hopping over US occupied zones in the Northeast to take out laser towers in places like Buffalo and New York.
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Sam Carroll
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No, partisans can be placed directly in unoccupied cities unless the card states otherwise. This is an excellent argument for the invaders to leave some junk units behind as garrisons.
 
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D. J. Hastings
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StealthDonut wrote:
Now, as to the Helicopter taking out lasers question, the manual was again a little vague. In the section on "Supply Checks" it gave an illustration...

This is a bit unclear, since the rules mention lasers being destroyed when a territory is captured. Until reading your session report, I had assumed that they were destroyed during the territory capture phase. But you're right; in addition to the example (which uses tanks, BTW) the "second movement" section of the rules says to remove the lasers when a unit moves into the territory.

There could be a question about using the helicopters' special ability to do this, since technically they don't move into the territory during second movement. But since the effect of their ability is essentially taking their second movement early, I think it fits with the intent of the rules to let them destory lasers this way.

And besides, it's a really cool move.

spartax wrote:
No, partisans can be placed directly in unoccupied cities unless the card states otherwise. This is an excellent argument for the invaders to leave some junk units behind as garrisons.

This is incorrect. In the section on reinforcements from partisan cards, the rules say: "They cannot be placed in... Unoccupied enemy-controlled City territories. (Exception: MAJOR AIRLIFT! card)"

StealthDonut wrote:
US: Situation is bad but recoverable. The invaders hold 19 cities and the US must take at least 1 back to make it to round 9.

A minor point, but one which could affect your next game: the US actually had to take 2 cities back. If they only took one, the invaders would still have the 18 cities necessary to win the game.
 
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D. J. Hastings
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DJHastings wrote:
StealthDonut wrote:
Now, as to the Helicopter taking out lasers question, the manual was again a little vague. In the section on "Supply Checks" it gave an illustration...

This is a bit unclear, since the rules mention lasers being destroyed when a territory is captured. Until reading your session report, I had assumed that they were destroyed during the territory capture phase. But you're right; in addition to the example (which uses tanks, BTW) the "second movement" section of the rules says to remove the lasers when a unit moves into the territory.

There could be a question about using the helicopters' special ability to do this, since technically they don't move into the territory during second movement. But since the effect of their ability is essentially taking their second movement early, I think it fits with the intent of the rules to let them destroy lasers this way.

And besides, it's a really cool move.

I just realized something: A Helicopter's special move can't be used to take a city. Lasers are placed in cities. So you couldn't use a helicopter's special move to destroy a laser even if it had supply.

But I still think it's a cool idea.
 
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