In our previous posts on Fort Sumter: The Secession Crisis, 1860-61 from GMT Games, in Action Point 1 we took a look at the cards and how they are played and in Action Point 2 we examined the Crisis Track and discussed how it needs to be managed. In this entry in the series, we are going to take a deeper look into scoring and the many ways that VPs can be earned.
The graphic above is a picture I took right off the game board and it outlines the different scoring opportunities, both during rounds of play leading up to the Final Crisis, and for the end of the Final Crisis phase.
During Round Scoring
As you may remember, Fort Sumter is played over the course of 3 rounds, with a final 4th round called the Final Crisis taking place after these rounds are complete, or sometimes, because both players have breached the Final Crisis section of the Crisis Track. During these rounds, players can score points in only 1 of 2 ways; by controlling a Crisis Dimension and by controlling the Objective space of the player’s Objective Card.
As mentioned in Action Point 1, a Crisis Dimension is made up of three of the same colored spaces on the map. For example, in the picture below the three yellow map spaces, referred to as Political spaces, make up the Political Crisis Dimension. If a player controls all three of these spaces at the end of the round, control being defined as having at least one cube in all 3 spaces and the most cubes in each space, they will control that Crisis Dimension and will score 1VP. Pretty simple! But, getting that accomplished can be very tricky. There are many tricks that players have at their disposal to prevent this from happening. The Peace Commissioner is one really nasty way to prevent that from happening and also, the player that gets to play their card last has a great deal of control in what happens at the end of a round. I will talk more about strategy later but this game has it in droves. Simple game but there are many tricks that you need to learn to play this one well.
The 2nd way to score points at the end of a round is by controlling the Objective space identified on your chosen Objective Card. At the start of each round, players are dealt four Strategy Cards and two Objective Cards. Players must choose one of the Objective Cards to keep and the other will be reshuffled back into the Objective Card deck. On this Objective Card is listed a specific location on the map along with an event that will only be triggered if the player controls the Objective space. Players who control their Objective space at the end of the round will score 1VP. Pretty simple, but there is always a little wrinkle in this process.
The interesting thing about the Objective space is that if the other player controls the Pivotal space of the Crisis Dimension (the one that is framed in white) that the Objective space is located in, they can potentially manipulate the Political Capital Tokens in that Crisis Dimension prior to scoring. If a player controls the Pivotal Space, they will get to take the bonus action for those spaces and either move around the Political Capital Tokens or remove those of their opponent. And, this will happen before the Objective Card is scored so control can be fleeting. You must be sly with your plays to disguise your true Objective space and this will take practice.
End of Final Crisis Scoring
Players have one more chance to gain points at the end of the Final Crisis round and this is their last chance to snatch victory. The control of Crisis Dimensions will again score 1VP, the same as during the rounds, but there are two more special ways to score in this round.
The player that controls Fort Sumter, will score 1VP. This is an important space, and not only because it is the name sake of the game, but it was the central spark that ignited the entire American Civil War and is given that importance in the game. It also acts a tiebreaker at the end of the game. In the case of a tie, the player that controls Fort Sumter will win. Players though must be careful not to focus too much on this one spot, as it is important, but not if you lose the game by focusing on it too much to the detriment of controlling Crisis Dimensions and obtaining your Objectives.
The final way to score 1VP at the end of the Final Crisis round is if you have at least 3 more Political Capital Tokens in your Pool than your opponent. This reserve of tokens relates to how prepared each side is as players enter the Civil War hostilities and how effective they will be in the management of that crisis.
Overall, the game is not a big scoring game. In fact, if you control at least one Crisis Dimension each of the four rounds, and obtain your Objective each round, you will only score 7 points (4 for the Crisis Dimensions and 3 for the Objective space as there is no Objective Card dealt in the Final Crisis round). Most games I have played range in points from 7-10. If one player had a run of it, by scoring 2 Crisis Dimensions each of the four rounds, obtaining their Objectives 3 times, controlling Fort Sumter and having at least 3 more Political Capital Tokens in their pool than the other player, they would have 13 points. I would like to see that and would most likely guess that the other player was new at the game and played extremely timidly, or drew the worst cards in the history of games.
In our final Action Point on Fort Sumter: The Secession Crisis, 1860-61 from GMT Games, we will take a look at how the Final Crisis round works and also take a look at some basic strategy tips for the game.