New board game: Fort

Fort is a new territory-control game that I’ve invented, in the style of Go or Paper Tactics.

You can play Fort here, though it’s local play only.

How to play the game

The fort board is a 61 square hex board:

    * * * * *
   * * * * * *
  * * * * * * *
 * * * * * * * *
F * * * * * * f *
 * * * * * * * *
  * * * * * * *
   * * * * * *
    * * * * *

There are two players who alternate turns (also known as moves).

There are two kinds of units: dots and forts. Dots can move, forts cannot.

A turn (or a move) consists of a number of steps, followed by a number of spawns. Intitally, there are three steps per turn, and one spawn per turn. As a player gains more forts, the player gains additional steps and spawns.

Each steps consists of moving a dot to an adjacent square. A step can be either a walk, a capture, or a claim.

  • Walk: Move a dot to an empty adjacent square.
  • Capture: Move a dot to an adjacent square occupied by an enemy dot, removing the enemy dot from the game.
  • Claim: Move a dot to an adjacent square occupied by another dot that you control, combining both dots into a fort. Additionally, remove all enemy dots that neighbor the new fort from the game.

Note that forts cannot be captured.

  • Spawn: Place a new dot on an empty square next to one of your forts.

Each spawn is mandatory: If you prevent your opponent from spawning, you win the game. If you have so many spawns that you can’t use them all, you lose the game.

Each even-numbered fort unlocks a new spawn, while each odd numbered fort unlocks a new step. So the progression goes:

1 fort: 3 steps, 1 spawn.
2 forts: 3 steps, 2 spawns.
3 forts: 4 steps, 2 spawns.
4 forts: 4 steps, 3 spawns.
5 forts: 5 steps, 3 spawns.

Starting the game

At the beginning of the game, each player starts with a single fort, on the squares marked F and f. F is the first player’s fort, and f is the second player’s fort.

Ending the game

The primary way for the game to end is because a player is prevented from spawning, because all of their forts are surrounded. If that happens, the player who cannot spawn loses, and the player who prevented them wins.

Commonly, the board will get divided into two regions, one controlled by each player. At the point, the game can usually be adjudicated by counting which player controls more territory, but the game can also be played out to the end to make sure.

Repetition rule

Occasionally, players might get into a cycle where each is playing a move that undoes the opponent’s move. I’m not quite sure what to do about that.

Let’s just say that three-fold exact repetition is banned, and I’ll add more rules if needed.