Fort

We are interested in many different kind of board games, we noticed we have been exploring small board games a lot lately. In the very beginning of this hobby, we started out with the heaviest board games. Like Nemesis, Tainted grail, etc. But we noticed after a heavy day of work, it’s nice to have short and light games as well. Fort is one of those games that still has a strategic challenge, but is not to heavy or to long. We were curious how this would play out with two players.

How to Play.

For the setup, make a supply of the pizza tokens and toys tokens to place nearby. Each player receives a player board, two best friend cards listed on the back of their player board, a score marker and fort level marker. The score marker is placed on the zero of the victory track, the fort level marker is placed on level zero of their fort. Place the macaroni sculpture card nearby and shuffle the made-up rule cards and perk cards. Create a stack of cards equal to the amount of players plus one. Then shuffle the kid cards into a deck. Each player draws eight kid cards and shuffles them with their two best friend cards to form your starter deck. Lastly each player draws five cards as their starting hand.

The game is played in a series of turns and each turn has five phases, starting with the clean up phase. This phase is skipped in your first turn. All the cards that are still placed in your yard above your player board, are now discarded to your discard pile. Then it’s time for the second phase where you play your cards. You can choose to skip this phase. In this phase, you choose one card to play from your hand. A card can belong to six different categories called suits. Each suit has their own icon and every card has a public and private action that the active player may both perform, you can also only perform one action. Every player can participate and gain the benefits of the public action, even when it’s not their turn. The private action is only for the player that plays the card in his turn. You can gain benefits like gaining a level of your fort, gaining more cards pizza or toys, or victory points for example. If an action shows an X symbol followed by a suit symbol, you can discard more cards with that matching suit to gain more benefits. If you want to benefit from a public action even when it’s not your turn, you have to discard a card from your hand with the same suit as the played card, after the active player has used it. You can’t discard more then one card to benefit from the action more often and you must use the action in full.

In phase three you must recruit one card by either taking a card from the park deck or taking a card from another players yard (they do not draw a new card) and place it in your discard pile. You will be able to get it the next time you shuffle your discard pile. In phase four you finally place the remaining cards in your yard above your player board so other players can also recruit them. Best friend cards go straight to your discard pile. In the last phase you simply draw five cards again.

The goal of the game is to upgrade your fort to level five which will also trigger the end of the game. Every player’s fort will start at level zero and costs a certain amount of toys and pizza to upgrade. If you reach level one, you also have to take a made up rule card that can score you points at the end of the game. At level two you choose one of the perk cards that will have a positive effect for this game. When you are the first to reach level five, take the macaroni sculpture and score your points. The end of the game will also be triggered if a player has 25 or more victory points, or if the park deck is empty. During scoring, add together the points from the victory track, fort level, made-up rule and possibly the macaroni sculpture. The player with the most points is the winner.

Playthrough of the game.

Even though we normally aren’t a fan of deck building games, we liked the theme of this game a lot and started playing. We quickly noticed how well you have to preserve your cards and how mean the recruiting phase can be. As happy as I was the first few rounds to quickly get my best cards that I had recruited, it didn’t stop Tomasz from taking them from my yard when I didn’t use them. I learned the hard way to try and use all my cards since you will discard them anyway, possibly laying them out there for the taking. The entire game was close and on edge as we both really wanted to win. I would gain a fort level, but Tomasz was never far behind. We had build completely different decks since there are many unique cards and both our decks did a good job. Tomasz focused on saving his cards in his lookout to use them for bonuses, while I wanted to gain resources as fast as possible for my fort. In the end I triggered the end with reaching fort level five. Tomasz didn’t seemed to mind which already made me regret my decisions. He had his hidden made-up rule card and some more perks which gave him more victory points at the end of the game. Guess we will have to do a rematch soon.

We have a lot of fun with Fort and learn to play it better with each game. Since there are many cards, you can create many kind of decks. If you are with two people, we noticed you have less choices and are a little more dependent on luck since you can’t recruit cards from many backyards. Nevertheless the game is fun with two players and we really like the theme. The quality of the components and cards are also great but we mostly like the player board. Not only is it double layered, it also shows where you can place everything and has a reminder of each phase. Fort also has an excellent reference cards that explains all the icons on the cards.

Final Thoughts.

Fort is a deck building game with a fun theme and a twist. We loved the recruiting cards from other players option the most since you have to guard your cards closely and make sure you use all of your cards right. We normally aren’t a big fan of deck building games, but Fort surprised us in a good way also because of this twist. Other then this, Fort has a fun cute theme and the cards and components are of good quality. There are many icons to look out for, but thankfully the designers included a turn summary on each player board and multiple reference cards with all the iconography. We also have heard an expansion will come out soon with cats and dogs! On our Wishlist it goes…

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