Brunswick Fortera Intrigue Bowling Ball Review

Another Fortera, Is this One Intriguing?



Brunswick Fortera Intrigue Layout
Kerry: 45 x 4 x 35
Brunswick Fortera Intrigue Layout
Brandon: 65 x 5 x 40

First Impressions
A little confused to be honest. This ball seemed so close to the Fortera Exile in overall reaction, I’m not sure if Brunswick really got what it was looking for here with the Fortera Intrigue.

Our Testers:
Kerry Smith
Stroker: 225 rpm
PAP: 5 1/8 & 3/4 up
Axis tilt: 13 degrees
Axis rotation: ~45 degrees
Layout: 45 x 4 x 35

Brandon Hinderer is a PBA Member as well as Brunswick and Vise Staffer.
Power Player: 450 rpm
PAP: 5 3/8 & 7/8 up
Axis tilt: 10-15 degrees
Axis rotation: >45 degrees
Layout: 65 x 5 x 40

Keep in mind that coverstock accounts for 70% of ball reaction, but the core creates the dynamic shape of the reaction. Your driller will alter the shape to suit your game.

Test Patterns:
41ft THS, 12:1, 24ml
House: 222 Dutch Lanes, Ephrata, PA

Thanks to Jeffrey Smith of Pure It Pro Shop in Lebanon, PA, our partner for ball reviews.

Value 6/10
Personally, I’m kind of disappointed here. The Fortera Intrigue is a high end ball from Brunswick. It has commensurate cost. However, given how similar it is to the Exile and that it isn’t as versatile in my mind as say the new Melee Jab, I couldn’t justify a higher value score.

The Fortera Intrige utilizes the same Fortera Flip core as the Exile but moves to a Fortify Hybrid Reactive. It comes finished with 500 Siaair Micro Pad; Royal Compound from the factory. That’s the same finish as the Exile, sans the Royal Shine.

Overall 6.5/10
No doubt, the Fortera Intrigue continues the Flip line in terms of the ball reaction shape. It is still very clean, seemingly just as clean as the Exile, but also the same kind of flip downlane, maybe a minuscule amount less flip. It clears the heads easily. I would say too easily. It’s the same reaction we saw with the Exile. What that does is simply leave too little room for error down lane. But due to the flippy nature, it has a risk of “getting it wrong”. Sometimes too much and sometimes too little. In the out of box condition, neither ball in the Fortera line so far can be thrown on many fresh conditions. However, even on broken down conditions, this ball has to match up to a specific condition.
Kerry as a lower rev bowler, had less difficulty finding success with the Intrigue. She can take advantage of the flippy nature of the ball. Brandon with a much higher rev rate had to fish more. The ball has potent backends. Sometimes too potent from more direct lines and not enough from deeper lines. Bottom line is the finish left the ball very finicky.
I believe altering the surface will be a must if you want this ball to work. Kerry took down the surface a bit and found a better more consistent ball reaction. Brandon did not alter the surface for the test.

Here’s what this ball is good at. The Brunswick Fortera Intrigue offers a very clean motion, rarely checking up from the friction. It is also very punchy on the backends and definitely fits the bill for flippy. On the “flip” side, that makes it difficult to control at times. It doesn’t offer enough of a difference from the Exile in my humble opinion and what it overlaps in are the same weaknesses. All this is to say that no ball is a bad ball. You just have to find the right condition to match the reaction. The Intrigue is a bit too condition specific for our liking, especially when compared to so many other versatile balls in the Brunswick lineup. Brunswick has decided to offer this ball because bowlers wanted flip. Well whomever asked for it got it and then some…

Digitrax analysis coming soon…