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Fortress America - Devious Tactics

Updated on July 13, 2014
Fortress America's original box.
Fortress America's original box.

In 1986, Milton Bradley published Fortress America, a new experience in strategy gaming. I bought my game in 1987, and I still have that original game in the much-battered original box. I've been playing and studying the game ever since. With that much history, I've discovered some unconventional tactics that can work wonders for your game.


The question has been asked whether such tactics are truly necessary. I say 'yes'. If you've read my other Fortress America articles here on Hub Pages, you've learned the importance of the blue and red invaders. These ideas can help to counter the advantages and disadvantages present with blue and red invaders.

Conquering Cities

On some occasions, it may be more beneficial to leave a city unconquered after defeating all defenders. The reasoning centers on the USA player's reinforcements.

If an invader were to conquer a city, but occupy with only a few troops, the US player might easily liberate that city, thus gaining an additional reinforcement card on the next turn. If the invader has just a few units to use for an occupation force, leaving the city open may be the right choice.


For the US player with only a few troops to use for liberation, but more troops on the way, leaving the city open this turn can mean a better occupation force next turn. Conversely, liberating a city with a small or weak occupying force (and gaining a bonus reinforcement card) might allow an invader to conquer the city again, thus giving the US player another opportunity for a bonus reinforcement card by conquering the city in two sequential turns.


With this in mind, the US player could deploy weakly in Washington DC or Houston at game start. As these two cities have readily available units in the area, the US player is giving himself a first turn opportunity to gain a bonus reinforcement card.

Using Lasers

While lasers are present as a balancing element to give the US player an extra tactical component, they might have an additional use. The US player might try placing a laser in a city that an invader could reasonably reach in a turn or two. This invites the invader to overextend himself in an effort to eliminate what might be seen as a major threat.

Using lasers to eliminate enemy units is, of course, the original idea. But using lasers to focus fire on an invader's airpower could eliminate air cover, and combined arms, well before the invader planned to deal with such a situation.

Using Airpower

Normally, the invaders will keep their bombers behind the front lines, holding them in reserve for that big attack into the well-defended city. While this is a proper use, their is another lesser-used option.

Especially with the western invader, after turn five or so, bombers can be used to hold territory in the upper midwest, allowing groups of helicopters to leapfrog across the Plains Sector and invade what might be undefended cities near the Great Lakes. The western invader will usually have enough helicopters remaining by this time to use two groups of 2 or 3 to quickly cover the distance from Salt Lake City to the Great Lakes.

For the US player, stationing bombers in the agricultural territory just south of Indianapolis gives them a central staging location from which they can reach at least six cities.



By viewing individual units in a new way, interesting and innovative tactics can be developed. Try to find a few of your own as you play, and I hope that these ideas will serve you well.

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