Kickstart This! #250: Fort

Designer: Grant Rodiak (Cry Havoc, Farmageddon, Hocus)

Artist: Kyle Ferrin (Oath: Chronicles of Empire and Exile, Root, Vast: The Crystal Caverns)

Publisher:  Leder Games (Root, Vast: The Crystal Caverns, Vast: The Mysterious Manor)

Genre/Mechanisms: card game, deck building, follow, hand management

Funding Status: Because Fort is not a Kickstarter but instead up for pre-order via Leder Games, Fort is already fully-funded.

Player Count: 2-4

Solo Mode: no

Complexity: medium-light

Risk: low

What It’s About: “In Fort, you’re a kid! And like many kids, you want to grow your circle of friends, collect pizza and toys, and build the coolest fort.”

How It Works: “Fort is played in a series of turns, starting with the first player and going clockwise around the table until the game ends. The player taking the current turn is called the leader. The leader’s turn has five phases in the following order: Cleanup, Play, Recruit, Discard, and Draw. The leader completes all of these steps, then ends their turn.”

Cleanup is skipped during a player’s first time, but from then on players will “discard all the cards in their Yard (above their player board), placing them face up in their discard pile (to the right of their player board).”

Then the active player Plays one card from their hand. “If they cannot or choose not to play a card, they may skip this phase and continue to the Recruit phase. Use one or both actions. The player may use the card’s public action, private action, or both, in either order. They must finish one action before starting the other action. They may add suits to improve some actions. If an action on a played card shows an x sign followed by a suit icon, you may improve it by playing more cards showing that suit. (These are called added cards.) They may also add any matching suits shown on cards in their Lookout. They cannot use the action on the added cards.” And the player must use at least one action on the card fully, meaning they can not take partial actions for both card actions.

After the leader resolves their card, the other players in turn order may follow the public action on the leader’s played card. (Doesn’t matter whether the leader used the public action or not.) These players are called followers. To follow the leader’s public action, they must discard one card from their hand with a suit matching the original played card. Followers cannot discard more than one card, cannot discard a card in their Lookout, and must use the action in full.”

Then the active player only (aka the Leader) must “Recruit one card, placing it in their discard pile. They may recruit in one of three ways: take any card from the Park, immediately drawing a new card from the Park deck to replace it; take any card from any player’s Yard without drawing a new card; or Draw a card from the Park deck.”

Next the active player “Discards all of their played cards, added cards, and any Best Friends cards left in their hand into their own discard pile. (Do not discard from their Lookout.) Discard piles are face up and public information. They then place any cards left in their hand into their Yard, face up and facing away from them. (Rivals may recruit them until the active player’s next Cleanup phase.)”

Finally, the active player “Draws five cards from their own deck. If they cannot draw a card because their deck is empty, they shuffle their discard pile to form a new deck and continue drawing.”

“Each player has a Fort, which starts at Level 0. They can increase their Fort Level by one with the Advance Fort action, spending the resources listed between their current Level and the next Level. At Level 0, their Lookout can hold up to one card, and their Pack can hold up to one resource. Each Level lets players hold one more card in their Lookout and one more resource in their Pack. When they reach Level 1, they privately choose a made-up rule card from the central stack and put it in front of them facedown. The made-up rule will score points at the end of the game. When they reach Level 2, they choose a face-up perk card from the central row and put it in front of them. Some perks have persistent effects they will have for the entire game, while other perks can only be used once per game. When they reach Level 5, take the macaroni sculpture card, unless another player already has it. This triggers the end of the game, and it scores 4 victory points for its owner during end-game scoring.”

“The end of the game triggers in any one of these three ways: any player has 25 or more victory points on the Victory Track; any player reaches Fort Level 5; or the Park deck is empty (even if the Park still has cards). When the end of the game triggers, the leader finishes their turn, then the players finish the current round of turns (so that all the players have taken the same number of turns). At the end of that round, each player reveals their Made-Up Rule (if any) and adds up their victory points from their: Victory Track, Fort Level, Made-Up Rule, Macaroni Sculpture (if any). The player with the most victory points is the winner. If there is a tie, the tied player with the highest Fort Level wins.”

Comparisons: Fort plays somewhat similarly to Root, but without the main board and area control element, and perhaps more importantly without the variable faction abilities and mechanics; it’s almost like a simplified version of Root played purely with card actions and player boards. Fort is also a redesign/reimplementation of SPQF. And Eminent Domain may be one of the only other games that pairs deck building with the follow action.

What Should I Pledge?:
$30 Fort: a copy of the game.


KS Exclusives
None. Considering this is not a Kickstarter, there are no Kickstarter-exclusives!

All-In Total: In the continental U.S., you’re looking at $30 for the Fort pre-order, plus $10 in shipping for a total of $40.

And while Leder Games is definitely a company worth supporting in full, also keep in mind that Fort will begin shipping on 8/3/20, and will be available from online retailers beginning 8/25/20. It can already be pre-ordered from CardHaus and GameNerdz for a pre-order sale price of $24. This price does not include shipping, but most online retailers offer free shipping if your order surpasses $75-125, depending on the particular retailer ($75 for GameNerdz, $125 for CardHaus). Fort should also be available at your FLGS around 8/25/20.

Fort is slated to begin shipping the Leder Games’ pre-orders on August 3rd, 2020.

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