Check out the resources offered on the Fort McHenry site and rely on those materials to provide a deeper dive into the historical events, significance, and detail. Paired with this extra information, Hold the Fort could offer a nice change of pace.Continue reading Show less
Set on the eve of a British invasion during the War of 1812, Hold the Fort puts students into the boots of Fort Henry's commanding officer. It's an instantly compelling premise that isn't quite realized. While there are bits and pieces of historical information woven throughout the game's events, the activities -- while well intentioned -- don't merge mechanics and learning objectives well. Most of players' time is spent requisitioning resources from a static point-and-click menu and bolstering troops' morale by just walking around the fort. When it comes to the battle, players similarly do things connected to the historical events -- gathering and distributing rations and choosing tactics -- but this learning isn't wrapped in compelling game design, just basic menu navigation, or, in the case of the song and dance mini-game, Dance Dance Revolution style play that feels out of place.
Hold the Fort isn't a great option unless the lesson is about Fort McHenry and this battle specifically. Beyond that, it's just too dated and doesn't meet the expectations of solid learning game design. There's some decent background on the war and the battle, but the activities focus on the mundane logistics of troop and fort management, when and how to fire, rationing of food and drink, and are performed through simplistic menus that foreclose creativity, problem solving, and the intricacies of resource management to which players are accustomed.
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