Destroy a Fort – How to WRECK forts!

I would love to get some input on strategies for assaulting island with Fort. We have failed many times.

This was a suggestion on a youtube video that I turned into a response video.  Specifically, tough forts such as Paradis de la Mer and Fortaleza Dorada.  Forts are not seen all that often in a lot of games, especially due to their appearance being limited to Crimson Coast and Revolution.  However, they can be a great tool in a winning player’s arsenal.  They can also be a thorn in your side if you have to take them out in order to win, as often happens in close-fought competitive games.

To destroy a fort, you’ll often want a combination of:

  1. Multiple ships
  2. Anti-fort abilities
  3. L-range cannons
  4. Gunships equipped with captains and helmsmen

In this guide I will outline the best ways to wreck forts!

Ability: Forts cannot hit this ship.

There are only 6 ships with this ability, none of which have more than 3 masts.  However, this is the most direct route you can take to destroying forts – simply don’t allow them to shoot!  Although the quantity and size of the ships with this ability are limited, conveniently enough they have good accuracy.  None of the 6 ships have any cannons of rank-4 or worse, so they’ll do their job well when assaulting forts.  The Windjammer, Treasure, Boston and San Salvador are the best of these, and you really can’t go wrong with any of them.  The Windjammer is probably the best pure value for points as a gunship, while the San Salvador has some hybrid potential.  If you really wanted to, you could also use Davy Jones to copy this ability to a large ship with great firepower to obliterate a fort in a single turn!

Ability: L-range cannons cannot hit this ship.

This is fantastic because of the 10 forts in the game, only two even have S-range cannons, and one of those (Fortaleza Dorada) is immune to L-range cannons itself!  This means that 8/10 forts will not be able to hit ships with this “L immunity”, making it nearly as good as the outright “forts cannot hit” ability.  This ability is also fantastic to have on any ship, regardless of whether or not you plan to go off on a fort-trashing adventure.  🙂

Of the ships with this ability, there are some decent ones to choose from.  The Cygnet, Duke, Jarvis, Tiger’s Eye and Silverback are probably the best of the bunch.

Ability: This ship gets +1 to her cannon rolls against forts within S of her.

This can be good because there are a few crew with this ability – put them on a ship with 5 or more masts, and you’ll be getting a nice bonus against forts.  However, those crew also have other abilities tacked on that make them overpriced for the value they provide.  I’d only recommend using them if you KNOW you’re going to attack a fort, such as in a campaign game where you can assign ships to very specific roles.  For example, Carl Smith on the Jarvis or Boston would make fort-wrecking easy.  Of the three ships with this ability, the Oxford and Cutlass are both excellent gunships and even potential hybrids, while L’Atalante is boring but a reasonable value for the points.  This ability pales in comparison to the defensive abilities above, so it’s not as highly recommended.

Long range bombardment

Since forts are stationary and only Ramsgate has a cannon whose range can be increased beyond L, anything that gives S+S cannon range or better is a great way to blast away at forts while staying out of their range.  All 10 flotillas in the game have the Extended Range keyword, and some of them have very good accuracy as well.  Combine this with a ship that has at least S+L speed, a captain aboard, and L range guns, and you’ll be in good shape for a fort assault.  You can maneuver to stay out of the fort’s range, then park or “anchor” your ship there and simply blast away each turn until the fort is gone.  Flotillas are also just great in general – getting 4 extra cannons that fire at doubled range for 10 points or less is just a great deal on firepower.

The sniping ability is more fun than reliable, but it’s still an option if you don’t have access to other abilities when going after a fort.  It’s a nice option to have for gunships in general and doesn’t inflate the cost of the ship.  Looking at the ships with sniping, almost all of them are solid candidates to be gunships, with solid speeds and good cannon ranks throughout.


I would say that flotillas are a better option for fort-wrecking than the +1 to cannon rolls against forts within S, but it depends on the situation.  If you’ve got a large and accurate gunship with extra actions, the bonus could be enough to give you a decisive edge and destroy the fort on the first turn of the engagement.  It’s also good for a brute force strategy when using multiple ships to attack a fort all at the same time.  However, staying out of the fort’s range is a better tactic if you need to play defensively and don’t have a lot of firepower at your disposal.  This is where good maneuvering, many-segmented speeds (such as S+S+S or S+L+S), and L-range cannons become important.  Combine good positioning with a flotilla, and you should be able to crush the fort without even getting hit.

Alternative/Niche tactics

Neptune’s Trident ignores the ability of Paradis de la Mer.  Depending on who rolls for the ability, a reroller or Potions and Brews could be useful against Paradis.  A few other UT’s could help too – Wine and Letter of Marque are fun in general and worthy additions to any game.

In terms of prevention, you could go after opposing gold runners very early in the game, build your own fort first, or use Mysterious Islands that have beneficial positive effects that could make an opponent prefer the 5-6 effect to building a fort.

General gameplay tips

  • All gunships need captains, and preferably helmsmen too.
  • Pay attention to maneuvering.  There’s no rule against pre-measuring the fort’s cannon ranges to see what kind of space you’re working with.
  • If you use multiple ships, use all of them at once, even if that means waiting for one to catch up to the squadron.  Forts can win battles against small fleets if the ships attack one by one.  Surround it with cannons and give the fort many targets to shoot at.


Overall, forts can be a problem if you’re not well-equipped to take them on.  However, the numerous counters available make it quite possible to beat them easily.  If you’ve got a combination of helpful abilities and more than one gunship, most forts will not be able to hold up in the long term.  Go out there and wreck some forts!  If you have any additional suggestions, please contact me.  (  Thank you for reading.


Here are a few pictures that show fort-wrecking at its finest.

During Economy Edition, 2015.

During Economy Edition, 2015.

The Roanoke barely prevails during an extremely memorable and competitive game between the American Pirates and Hai Peng Fort Frenzy.

Posted in Informational.

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