From: Michael P. Owe

Subject: Re: [FORTRESS AMERICA] Variants

Date: Thursday, January 15, 1998 12:33 PM

Fortress America Variants

Summer, 1996

Revised January, 1998

Michael P. Owen

Seattle/Spokane Washington AutoDuel Team (SWAT) Car Wars Club


In order to increase their strategic value and their “cool factor” Mobile Units (MUs) can transport up to three infantry units (INF), both standard forces and partisans, in any combination of these two types of INFs. These INFs can dismount and mount during anytime of a MU’s movement as long as the number of INFs does not exceed three. The INFs use the movement capabilities of the MU when mounted.

When in battle if a MU equipped with INFs is successively hit by weapons fire, there is a chance that the MU may survive the attack. The defender rolls a D6. If the result is 1 to 3, all of the INFs are destroyed but the MU continues to battle normally! If the result is 4 to 6, the MU as well as all of the INFs are removed from play.

MUs have a limited supply of guided anti-armor missiles. Once per battle, a MU has the capability to fire with the strength of a hovertank, using a D8 to attack. When these ability is utilized, place the MU on its side as a reminder that it has expended its missiles for the current battle.

When MUs are mounted by INFs, the MU can attack with missiles TWICE per battle because the INFs have brought along their own anti-tank weapons and are extra personnel for the MU to increases its missile rate of fire. Like MUs place the INFs on their side when expending their special ability. This anti-tank ability for INFs is ONLY when they are mounted in MUs.


Helicopters have a limited ability to transport INFs. Like MUs helicopters can carry INFs but only two INFs can be mounted. The INFs cannot move from the space of the helicopter unless towards friendly territory. When the helicopter uses its “jump behind enemy lines” maneuver, the INFs can dismount in the destination space and reinforce the rotary-wing, giving the helicopter a limited defense from supply line disasters.

When a supply line to a helicopter that “jumped” is disrupted, the rotary wing is normally destroyed. If a helicopter has “airbornes” (INFs) mounted, as long as one INF is alive the rotary-wing and the INF(s) are NOT removed from play! This rule is to simulate the capability of airborne forces to act independently for a short time, carrying their own supplies during their missions.


The lasers in FA represent “command-control-communication (C3)” centers that direct laser battle stations located above Earth. Because the stations have limited fuel to change orbit and because their times of rotation are slow compared to the time frames of battles, lasers have a limited arc of fire and a limited range.

Laser C3s can only direct their corresponding laser stations to fire up to a maximum of three spaces away from the C3-equipped city.


Although lasers are easily degraded by dust, smoke, atmosphere, and other factors, this rule is a “physics fudge factor” to enhance the fun of FA.

Laser stations, whether have fired in the current battle or not yet, can act as “spotters / mirrors” for lasers that are out of range of a specific target. A laser salvo can be reflected any  number of times but each laser can only act as a mirror per salvo, able to mirror again when a new laser fires.


In order to simulate the anti-satellite prowess of Major Amelia Nakamura from Tom Clancy’s novel of WWIII, Red Storm Rising, who became the first American female fighter pilot, this rule permits bombers to attack the source orbital bombardment: the laser battle stations themselves.

Once per turn bombers can perform an ASAT attack against a laser instead of attacking battlefield targets. In order to perform a successful ASAT attack a bomber must be within three spaces of a laser. The attacker rolls a D10. The chance of success is the same as for a laser during normal weather conditions.


MUs that are INF-equipped give higher firepower for the armored units and provide a way for INF to accompany tanks into battle at tank speeds. Tanks entering battle is possibly a tanker’s worst nightmare (see the various wars between Israel and the Middle East when tanks were not accompanied with infantry). Although converting MUs to APCs provides more options to the commander, the action stacks forces together, increasing their vulnerability to a strike that could take out the entire group.

Helicopters are in some ways like tanks mentioned above. When they carry their own infantry, their overall strength is increased and their jump capability is even more valuable.

The current rules for lasers are a severe threat for the invaders when the US gains a moderate to large quantity of lasers. Theoretically, 12 enemy units can be destroyed PER TURN. Ouch! When combined with the limited reinforcements of the invaders, the war can quickly turn in the favor of the US. However, use of the laser variants above give advantages to both the US and the invaders. The invaders do not have to endure a weapon of infinite range but the US player can compensate for this shortcoming slightly with use of “spotting lasers.” A possible strategy for the US would to place a few lasers in the vulnerable city-rich NorthEastern US to act as mirrors for a large battery of lasers located in the MidWestern US. Even if the invaders destroy the NE lasers, the invaders will have to endure several rounds of laser fire until they can enter close range to invade the C3 centers and send destruct codes to the orbiting lasers.



When I first obtained FA one of the best variants I created (IMHO) is the following. Whenever I played FA I would play the 1984 movie “Red Dawn,” the “movie translation” of FA! I would often yell out “Wolverines!” when a partisan unit would make a successful hit. 🙂

From: Andrew Cook <>

Subject: Re: [FORTRESS AMERICA] Variants

Date: Thursday, January 15, 1998 6:33 PM

We often play with a similar variant, but we limit MUs to 2 INF and Helos to 1.  They can transport them, but the INF must dismount before combat and after second movement.  The INF cannot move after being transported that turn.

We also use a paratrooper rule – a bomber may INSTEAD of a fly over bomb run choose to drop up to two INF into the territory.  These INF must be the first INF casualties taken, and if the attack fails any surviving paratroopers must slink off to a friendly territory WHERE ATTACKING UNITS ARE/WERE LOCATED!

Note:  partisans cannot parachute and the bomber IS a target during the combat, but cannot fire an attack.

Note2: cannot be used in city territories (this prevents unoccupied cities from being swarmed) – just figure they have AK-AK that will kill the paratroopers!

We have also experimented with the lasers.  We’ve tried delaying the first laser until turn two or three, but then proceed normally (1/turn).  We’ve tried one laser every OTHER turn (odd or even), two lasers every other turn, etc.

The two/two option is kind of fun – it means an extra turn of low laser death for the invaders but a quick jump for the Americans.

Yet another variant is designed to help the Invaders – America wins most of our games.  As the (horrible) historical plot goes, America’s navy was defeated by the might of the Invaders’ naval power.  We let any invader attack on a territory bordered by an invasion zone get a Surface Bombardment shot.  Can’t be killed, but add one free bomber shot to the invasion force – however, it can only kill armor or ground, not air.  Pretty unrealistic to think of a bomber being taken out by 16″ guns!

Another one for the invaders is the “Fifth Column”.  Give each invader one chance at this.  Basically, after everyone has placed their units, each invader can pick one US city bordering his/her invasion zones to subvert. The invader must roll a random number (6 on a d6 or 8 on a d8 or something) and if successful, both units in the city are destroyed and the city is marked with an invader marker BEFORE the first move begins – i.e. it is friendly to him and he may first move into it.  If it FAILS, the invader cannot attack the city that turn because his plans relied too heavily on the turncoats and cannot succeed with their capture.  You can also try it with both units retreated or one kill, one retreat.  Play with the invader percentages, too.

A final variant is what we call the “Canadian Railroad”.  This one is for America.  Canada’s sympathies lie with the US, so they covertly help out. America can send up to two INF/Partisans from 1 or 2 territories bordering Canada INTO Canada each turn.  They must wait in Canada for one full turn, but on the second turn FOLLOWING their entry into Canada they must return back to the US into ANY territory bordering Canada.  A real attack FROM Canadian territory is NOT allowed – the territory must be friendly or unoccupied.  After some playtesting, we ruled that if two had entered, they  BOTH had to renter the US into the same territory and cannot be split up. This one requires a bit of record keeping, and I definitely recommend REQUIRING the troops to reenter after the two turns; otherwise America can build up too strong a strike force up there. This is a nice way to prop up partisans that pop up along the border.

Andrew Cook

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