New box art for the upcoming Fortress America reprint
Classic board games have been enjoying a revival over the past few years, but the list of releases for 2011 and early 2012 represents a new peak. Fantasy Flight Games has been behind the majority of these releases, as they have produced new versions of Wiz-War, Kingdoms, Dune (re-named and re-themed as Rex), Nexus Ops, and Merchant of Venus. If you go back further, you’ll see such revised classics as Space Hulk, Talisman, and Fury of Dracula.
Needless to say, now that Fantasy Flight is on a roll, they don’t plan on stopping. The latest announcement is for a March 2012 release of Fortress America. For those not familiar, I’ll provide a quick history lesson. Fortress America is a 1986 release from Milton Bradley as part of their Gamemaster series, a line of meatier-than-average board games credited as early influences on most of today’s adult board gaming geeks. Similar to another mega-popular Gamemaster title Axis & Allies, Fortress America is a war game, but one that can scratch an itch that Axis & Allies never could: large scale combat on the American continent.
Pretty much every A&A player has dreamed of pulling off the ultimate invasion, but that is easier said than done. Fortress America uses a near-future sci-fi setting that pits the entire world against the USA and brings the combat to its doorstep. One player handles defense of America against a team of up to three opposing players, each representing Asia, Europe, and Central America.
The American defender may be outnumbered 3-1, but he is equipped with a deadly laser array inspired by the 1980’s “Star Wars” defense project. This makes it essential for opponents to cooperate, strategize, and send in waves of mixed forces.
Newly sculpted models for the upcoming Fortress America reprint.
If you peek under the hood of this game to look at its mechanics, you’ll realize players are actually conducting a board game version of the tower defense games that are so popular today. This goes to show that as long as players are not allergic to board games, this 25-year-old classic has gameplay with modern appeal.
In the upcoming remake, Fantasy Flight Games is aiming to leave the core game largely unchanged, focusing rather on an aesthetic upgrade. That being said, some small tweaks to the game itself do exist, such as a few changes to the map’s city layout and a new 10-turn survival victory condition for the USA player. There are also major playability upgrades, such as custom dice that eliminate the need for reference charts and a victory tracker that provides a constant clear picture of the game’s standings.
Updates to the graphic design of Fortress America’s cards
Fortress America is planned as a March 2012 release, and will retail for $79.95. Additional details can be found on the Fantasy Flight Games product page as they are announced.