Here's a great user-submitted review that personifies Fortress: Ameritrash--shining a spotlight on a game that might not have received the attention it deserved. Thanks, Norman! --Ken B.
Viktory II is a game for two to eight players with a Napoleonic feel played on a modular map which is random every game. The rules are reasonably simple and reward aggressive play. The game features exploration, economics, player elimination, combined arms tactics and dice resolved combat. Typically a game will feature 3 to 5 turns of exploration & building before players begin to interact & compete for resources. Our games with four players usually finish in a single session of 3-5 hours. Read on for more information and a description of gameplay.
The box is packed with cardboard & plasticky goodness, this is what you get (in the current 8-player version);
'Jigsaw' pieces which make a frame for the map tiles, you use a differing number of these pieces depending on the number of players.
180 hexagonal terrain tiles.
584 playing pieces, infantry, artillery, cavalry, frigate, cities & towns in eight colours.
For reference when looking at the pictures the infantry figure is 20mm tall.
25 pillage markers
8 reference cards
12 page Rulebook including many examples of play & a page of optional/variant rules.
The plastic pieces are crisply moulded & already packed into bags (no need to spend hours chopping them off sprues). The plastic used is harder & more brittle than the kind you might be used to from Battlelore etc. however, they seem quite robust & we've had no problems with any of them snapping.
The cardboard terrain tiles are a little thinner that Settlers of Catan tiles, but they are perfectly adequate & don’t show any signs of warping with prolonged use. I think a limitation of Peter’s cutting jig caused him to use the thinner cardboard.
Gameplay & Turn Sequence
You begin the game by assembling the jigsaw border pieces which will outline your map. We tend to use one size larger that recommended because we enjoy the exploration aspect & it lets us build bigger armies before the slaughter begins.
Fill the frame with face-down hexagonal terrain tiles.
Place your capital – turn over three adjacent tiles & place your capital marker on a land tile, this then allows you to turn over all terrain tiles within 2 spaces of your capital so you get an idea of what your starting exploration area is.
Build a new town or upgrade a town to a city
Receive units into your reserve depending on the town/city terrain type.
All towns produce one infantry, once upgraded to a city they produce the following additional units Plains = Infantry, Grass = Cavalry, Mountain = Artillery, Wood = Frigates
Movement & Combat
Infantry move two spaces, Cavalry move three, Artillery two & Frigates five. Units entering mountains or forest immediately stop. Frigates may transport other units.
Artillery & Frigates move & bombard
Move all other units into a hex with the enemy & battle
Units that are only moving move now.
Newly created units & any lost during combat are placed back on the map in valid recruiting cities.
As you move units they reveal terrain tiles as they move onto them, when you build a town it reveals all adjacent tiles * when nit is upgraded to a city it reveals tiles two hexes away.
Combat is interesting, you get a number of dice for each type of troop that you have in the battle, so for example if you have a force of 1xInfantry you get 1 dice, if you have 8xInfantry you still get only one dice. Cavalry give you 2 dice & artillery 1 dice, thus rewarding combined arms tactics. Having more units in a battle allows you to absorb loses as battles are fought until one side retreats or is eliminated. Hits are scored on a roll of 3 or less, if a 1 is rolled then the firing player removes an enemy unit of his choice, on a result of 2 or 3 the defending player chooses the unit lost.
How to win.
You win by eliminating all other players, forcing them to concede or by subjugating them ie. Capturing their capital.
Peter Morrison has come up with an absolute gem of a game, it is obviously a labour of love, you only have to read the 'Making of Viktory II' section of his website to see where he is coming from. He revised & refined the game system until he came up with a design which flows extremely well & which has grabbed everyone I’ve introduced it to. (caveat – all my game partners are to one degree or another from wargaming backgrounds, not sure how much it would appeal to the anti-random fun murderers who infest ‘the other place’)
Visit Peter's site here http://www.viktorygame.com have a look at the components and even watch some videos of sample games (you can learn the game from watching these alone if you don't feel like reading).