Fort McHenry and the Star-Spangled Banner: Hold the Fort! A game of survival, strategy, and nerve in the war of 1812! The fate of Baltimore and perhaps the United States hinges on your actions.
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Hold the Fort!

A game of survival, strategy and nerve in the War of 1812!
About the Game
Temp Image
Rallying the troops
Take command of Fort McHenry during the Battle of Baltimore!

Lead and inspire 1000 men under your command!

Manage fort resources to survive the long day and night!

Explore a 3D virtual world of the fort!

Play the Fife & Drum and command a Gun Battery!

And of course, fly the flag!

Hold the Fort puts players in charge of Fort McHenry during the Battle of Baltimore, responsible for the defense of the fort and the city. As commander, players lead the troops, manage resources to keep the fort from falling under the withering British bombardment.

The game begins by introducing players to the situation in September 1814: after two years of war, the British have invaded Washington D.C. and burned the White House and are now sailing up the Chesapeake to attack Baltimore. Fort McHenry stands in their way -- but victory or defeat depends upon the player's nerve and wits.

Players make preparations for the battle. Then the British begin their bombardment. As the bombs explode overhead and rockets whiz past, you must manage fort resources to keep troop morale, or fortitude, high -- without running out of rations or ammunition. You can send out gunboats and fireships against the British. And you must walk around and inspire your troops in person, choosing the most effective words to raise their spirits. For if fortitude falls, the troops will desert and the battle will be lost.

Throughout the bombardment, you must keep an American flag flying -- the bigger the better, to inspire the troops and to let everyone else -- including a lawyer named Francis Scott Key -- know that the fort has not fallen.

During the game, two mini-games let players take on two other roles at the fort: Music Corp: Play traditional songs on fife and drum a la Guitar Hero. Gun Captain: Aim and fire a cannon at the approaching British ships, trying to drive them back.

The game takes about 45-75 minutes to complete, depending how quickly you make choice and walk around the fort, and whether you play the mini-games.

Technical Requirements
Due to the 3D virtual world, the game requires the Unity3D browser plug-in. You will be prompted to download it if your browser does not already have it installed. You can also download it here.

Because of the visual complexity of the game (depicting a fort manned with 1000 troops during an intensive battle), you will need a reasonably recent computer with a decent graphics card. (Specifics to come.)

We recommend upgrading your graphics drivers before playing the game, for best performance and visual quality.

  • Some school or corporate firewalls may block the plug-in installation process. Please check those settings if you get errors during the plug-in installation process.
  • On Macs: You must be logged in as an administrator when installing the plug-in, or you will see error messages about upgrading the plug-in.
  • If the game runs slowly (jerky, slow to respond to clicks or movement), open Game Settings in the top-right corner of game) and choose the Fast Quality setting.
  • If the sky looks weird (odd colors, flickering), open Game Settings (in the top-right corner of game) and toggle Dynamic Sky off.

Funded by:
National Park Service, Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine
Friends of Fort McHenry
The Living Classrooms Foundation
Maryland Heritage Areas Authority

Developed by:
National Park Service, Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine
Tina Orcutt, Superintendent
Vince Vaise, Chief of Interpretation
James Bailey, Park Ranger

The Living Classrooms Foundation
Christopher Rowsom, VP Heritage Programming
Scott Raymond, Education Specialist

David T. Schaller, Game Producer and Designer
Russell Lunsford, Software Architect
Steve Wagner, Graphic Designer
Pete Moretta, 3D Environment Artist
Steve Adamson, 3D Character Artist
Oleg Schmykov, Game Progammer
Alexander Martinez, Game Programmer
Paul Gardner, Web Developer

Music created and performed by Tim Buzza

Character Voices
E.J. Subkoviak
Nathan Christopher
Bob Malos
John Middleton
Patrick Bailey
Amanda Whisner