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Monday, 2 July 2012

Fortress America Strategy Guide: Americas Key Cities

As we know, the victory conditions in FA revolve around taking or losing Cities. In a standard game the Invaders need to capture 18 Cities to win, but with a choice of 30 on the board, which ones do they take, and which should America fight to keep?
In this article I will discuss the 9 Cities which are key to winning or losing the game, based on a standard set-up and strategy.
As we can see from the map below, I have highlighted all the American Cities in the game, and coloured them as follows,

Yellow: These are Cities that the Invaders capture with ease as part of their advance. They are chiefly coastal cities, which the American Player has little chance of holding.

Orange: These are the American 'safe' cities. Due to their proximity to each other they can be easily reinforced. They are also the furthest away from two of the Invaders, as well as being a very hard target for the Eastern player to take. In a normal game, if any of these Cities fall, it is already game over for America.

Green: These are the 'Key 9'. It is these Cities that will spell victory for the players depending if they hold or fall. Of the Key 9, the Invader players must take THREE to establish victory.
So what can we learn from this?

American Player

Place your lasers in the Orange Cities.
These are the only Cities that you can class as relatively safe. That doesn’t mean forget about them, but they are the least likely to be attacked. You are good up to Turn 6 for laser placement if you use Orange Cities, after that future lasers should be brought online in the Cities where you are concentrating your defence.

Move Units OFF Orange Cities
Your starting 12 units (on the six Orange Cities) will not be in danger, so they have no reason to defend. Move them to the front-line asap. They represent a large chunk of your starting Army and need to be used in the fighting, not guarding from nothing.

Evacuate the Yellow Cities where possible, or create pockets of tough defence.
San Fran/LA/San Diego/Phoenix, and, Dallas/Houston/New Orleans. These 2 sections of cities are target Yellow, meaning they are going to fall, but that doesn’t mean you have to make it easy for the Invaders. These two groups are all adjacent to each other meaning you can move units from one, two, or three of them into one strong defence group.

Reinforce the Green Cities
Concentrate your forces in the Green Cities as well as around the Cities. One or two units (ideally Partisans) outside of the City can delay the Invader (as opposed to him using Helicopter Scouting).

Launch opportunity attacks to retake Yellow Cities, use EVERYTHING to retake Green Cities.
Yellow cities are mainly on the coast, and fall quickly behind enemy lines. It is likely you will get reinforcements in the form of Partisans that can threaten enemy held cities, but generally speaking, it is far easier for the Invader to reinforce areas than it is for America. Don’t use conventional force to try and retake Yellow Cities, but if a Green falls, then mobilize everything you have to retake that city.


Take the Yellow Cities
This might sound like 'dur yeah', but if you leave them and try to advance past them, you are leaving active enemy forces behind your lines. You do not want this. You will have enough problems dealing with American Partisans without allowing standard military units to still exist.

Lightly defend the Yellow Cities
Partisans forces will threaten you at times, you must leave at least 1 unit defending each city. The American player cant directly place Partisans into cities you have captured, but he can spawn Partisans in adjacent territories and walk straight into undefended cities.

Surround the Green Cities then Coordinate Action
In a standard game, the heaviest fighting will be for these Cities. Insure you have sufficient force to take AND hold the target Cities, but do it together. If one Invader takes a Green City, the American player only needs to concentrate retaking one city. If you coordinate and take 2 Green Cities at once, then the American player must split his force to counter.

Coordinate the Game Winning Move
Never take exactly 18 cities. If you do this and relax, America only needs to retake 1 city to be back in the game. Take 2 or 3 over and watch the American player suffer.

Forget the Orange
Honestly, if you are in a position to take these Cities the game is already won. The Orange cities are the furthest away, which means battling across a board filled with enemy troops and spreading your forces and supply lines so thin. There are always exceptions to this, but generally speaking you already know your targets (the cities you have passed to reach the Orange's!)

Remember the Turn Order
This is especially true for the Western and Southern Players. There are many opportunities for the two players forces to help each other out. The Western player always moves first and attacks first. If an area is especially heavily defended, the Western player can throw his forces at it to soften it up, then the Southern player can strike.

Thanks for reading the third part in my series, in the next chapter I will focus on the American Reinforcement cards and what they mean for all players.
If you have any comments, suggestions, feedback or just want to talk about the game in general, then I am always pleased to listen.



  1. we play the game severly different, usually I let yellow roam free, he needs 8 turns to get to milwakee anyways, the tradeoff is that more than 50% of the yellow army will be on garrison dutey, and one can present an iron front towards red, I have never lost new york or boston, and rarely philadelphia, red usually does not dare to take washington since I usually can muster 10 units + bombers for the counterattack, I have even in some games held Atlanta for the entire game.

    I combine this with a hard fight for st louis and new orleans, blue should not dare to enter those cities if USA can counterattack with 10 + bombers, that means that for blue to take those cities, he needs to take boston mountains at the same time, to really be safe from counterattacks.

  2. I make a practice of heavily defending Washington DC, as well as lining up troops to retake when possible. With the mass of troops in New England and the immediate area, the northeast should not fall too easily.


  3. 10+ bombers? How's that even possible if you max at 6?

    1. I assume 10 + bombers means 10 other type units from at least 2 adjacent territories + (plus) as many bombers as can attack from inside the territory itself.