Fort Sumter: The Secession Crisis arrives

Originally published at:

  • iOS, Android, PC/Mac

When we heard about the partnership between GMT Games and Playdek, it was like hearing that your two favorite people were finally tying the knot. I mean, they’re so right for each other! It was only a matter of time before this pairing started to bear fruit and, today, they have their first born! (I’m discounting Twilight Struggle as that was pre-partnership and has turned into a titillating ménage à trois with Asmodee) It’s Fort Sumter and it’s coming to mobile and Steam today. Right now, as a matter of fact.

Fort Sumter is the brainchild of game design genius, Mark Herman. You might recognize the name from Washington’s War, Churchill, Fire in the Lake, and so many other titles that it would be unwieldy to list them all.

Going over his ludography, you’d notice that while most of the games are strictly for the grognard crowd, there are a few exceptions. Churchill is more negotiation euro than wargame and Fire in the Lake is a COIN game which, while war-like, tend to not follow the usual hex-counter tropes wargames are associated with. Fort Sumter fits into that group. It’s more of an area control/hand management game than wargame and, in fact, shots being fired means the game is over.

Taking place in 1860-61 when southern states were mighty pissed about a certain bearded Kentuckian winning an election and decided to start splitting from the US. One player plays the angry secessionists while the other the Union and, in abstract fashion, the card-driven game allows you to play cubes to the board, score points, and get yourself in a good position once Beauregard starts firing.

The game is short, lasting only 20-30 minutes on the table, and is a hoot to play. While a bit on the abstract side, there’s enough history here to hold anyone’s interest, if that’s your thing. Or you can ignore it and just push cubes around.

Being a Playdek joint, we can assume it will have robust online play as well as an AI worth playing against. We know it’s coming to mobile (iOS and Android), but we’re not sure when. Considering that it’s already available for PC/Mac on Steam, it may just be percolating in the interwebs and will show up in the App Store of your choice shortly.


This is doubly exciting because the game looks great and it also happens to be the first Playdek release in what seems like quite some time.

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3 years and 1 month, but who’s counting?


Playdek is the Orson Welles of game developers.

Wow! I didn’t want to claim years because my claims have been wildly inaccurate today, but that’s quite a while. But you guys are like the Blizzard of iOS for me. Games are worth the wait and I purchase them instantly.


It is up for me on the App Store. Will download as soon as I’m in WiFi. Will spend the next few months losing every game and wondering why I sick at everything.

Edit: Including spelling…


Partway played the tutorial till my 6 year declared she was bored and wanted to play something else. Amused her with Mini Metro till bedtime.

In any event, I’m JS619 there too. Up for a learning / butt kicking game anytime.

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I’m mgeiger9 in game. Happy to learn this one the hard way (by losing a bunch of games to friends).

One thing I really loved about twilight struggle was that I learnt so much about the history of the time. Memorising the deck put the events of that time into a mental framework, and further learning has built on that foundation. I’m looking forward to learning a lot here too.

From my very brief reading of the wiki, was this series of events considered the flashpoint that started the civil war, or was it simply inevitable? I’m sure I’ll read more myself, but thought I would throw this broad question out here and I’d love to hear your opinions

Can it be both? While war was increasingly more and more inevitable, it still took the shots fired to really ignite the powder keg.

After playing through the tutorial, this looks to be more like El Grande than Twilight Struggle. Having very little knowledge of the US Civil War, I’m not sure whether I’ll ever see these cards for more than their cube pushing properties…

I’ll take invites at hardco if anyone wants to play though.

I am (of course) my Playdek handle of “robthomasson”.

I have tossed out a couple of invites … more will follow. So there.

I am blackfire1929 in Playdek!

It’s tight, isn’t it. Reminds me naturally of the Carcassone, Agricola and TS apps, lovely to look at and touch and press and swipe and caress. Gorgeous stuff. A reminder that boardgame adaptations can be perfect.

They missed a trick however, hiding the historical significance of the cards away in a separate menu; I know nothing about the US Civil War and would have welcomed an info button somewhere during gameplay to tell the story as I go along. When Labyrinth blossoms into life, I do hope there’s something similar going on there.


Posted my review of it.

But I forgot to mention how long the AI can take its turn. See the comments for more on that. :slight_smile:


Much like Twilight Struggle in its early days. They sorted that out so fingers crossed…


Nicely, and quickly, done. Also, plaudits for your original review of the game.

I agree about the subtle “your turn” indicator … but now I have seen it (took a while) I can see it at will. Plus I presume the games with my turn will be earliest in the list.


I would presume that is the case.

I’m hoping!

And I love the “finger” that’s not only the “Next Game” indicator but also, when you’re removing cubes back to your opponent’s cube pool. :slight_smile:

It also took me a while to see the „my turn indicator“.

BTW you can turn off email notification in the settings. Very convenient.

One thing I wished Playdek would do is a way to change your login, password and email address online through a website. They have a separate forum account, but that ain’t linked to your online profile.

Is the AI slow all the time, or just in certain situations?

It is supposed to be capped at 12 seconds for each decision, but I’m now seeing some situations on iOS where is taking considerably longer.

Could you keep an eye out for cases where it is taking a long time, and let me know if you see a pattern to which cards it decides to play when it is slow? Thanks.