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Subject: BattleLine vs. Lost Cities rss

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Ed James
United Kingdom
Huntingdon
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I've been told that BattleLine and Lost Cities are very similar games. I've played BattleLine but can someone please tell me how Lost Cities is different from BattleLine.

For example, is it just the theme that differs?
 
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Nairb Attobas
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Although sort of similar, they're pretty different games. The primary thing they have in common is that you first play a card, and then draw a card.

As you note, the themes are different.

Also, in Lost Cities you're trying to have more points than the opponent. In Battle Line you're duking it out for the flags.

In Lost Cities you're only creating increasing piles of cards in the 5 colors. Battle Line gives you more freedom since you can mix and match the cards to create the different 'formations.'

There's no 'special power' cards in Lost Cities, as there are in Battle Line.

In Lost Cities, your opponent can gain access the cards that you've 'discarded' to one of the five central piles. In Battle Line, they can only grab your cards using the 'special power' cards.

The card play in Lost Cities feels more like 'damage control' whereas Battle Line feels more like 'maximization of your options.' Although that may sound negative, it's really not. Trying to figure out where to dump your janky cards in Lost Cities is half the fun.

Those are the ones just off the top of my head. I'm sure there's plenty more difference.

Hard to say which game I prefer, although I've found that three rounds of Lost Cities takes about the same time as one round of Battle Line, since it's a bit 'thinkier.'

Edited to add more thoughts I had, but EvilTimmy beat me to the punch on one of them...
 
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Tim K.
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Seattle
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Don't forget the chaos of the Battle Cards (or whatever they're called) in Battle Line! Special text cards that break the normal rules and add a good dash of chaos to the game (though playing with them is optional).

Anyhoo, they're dissimilar enough to warrant owning both and are both under $20, so what are you waiting for?!
 
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:C.h.r.i.s. M.c.G.o.w.a.n:
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Differences:

Number of Cards

Battleline has six colors (suits) with # 1 to 10 for 60 total cards, not taking into account the tactic cards. Lost Cities has 5 colors (suits) with # 2 to 10 for 45 cards. BUT Lost Cities has three "handshake" cards for each color - an additional 15 (3 x 5 colors) cards for a total of 60 (45 + 15). You must play these handshakes BEFORE you play any numbered cards to start your expedition.

Size of Cards

BL Are normal playing card size and the numbers can be read no matter how they held.

LC are oversized and must be held in one direction to see the numbers.

Card Play

Lost Cities only has 5 columns in which to lay as many of one color cards as you have, but the must be sequential in ascending order. Unlike BL which has nine "flags" or columns to play with a restriction of 3 cards (not taking into account the tactic cards). In BL you can play different colored cards in each column to make a straight or scramble. In Lost Cities only one color per column, hence the board to help guide you where the colors go.

In Lost Cities the "handshake" cards act as multipliers, so one handshake allows you to double your score, 2 handshakes allows you to triple, 3 handshakes allows you to quadruple. An expedition only pays off a positive result if you reach a total score of more than 20. You can score negative by not reaching 20. There is an 8 card bonus - so it rewards "hoarding" and holding out for more one of one color. In BL you have the tactics cards which can affect your opponent or boost your side (wild, any 8, any 1/2/3, etc.) - no such cards in LC.

You can discard to the middle in Lost Cities, no discarding available in BL.

Game End

BL = win 3 consecutive flags or 5 of the 9 and you win.

LC = score each round (when the last draw card is taken) - repeat three times for total scoring.

------------------

I like and own both games. Lost Cities appeals to non-gamers since it plays more like regular card games that people know. It does involve some math (addition and multiplication). Battle Line appeals more to the board game crowd and has more involved decsions to make.

I can play LC with my wife, my mother in law, my nephew, etc.

I can play BL with my game group and my brother or brother in law.

Maybe the theme has something do with this, but I doubt it. For $15 to $20 US I don't think you can wrong if you're looking for another card game.
 
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Rob Robinson
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Rotherham
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Go here and try them both online:

http://www.flexgames.com/index.php
 
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Ryan McLelland
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They are both fine games. I think the biggest difference is their level of depth. Battle Line can be a brain burner. Lost Cities is very light, and good for playing with people that don't play games.
 
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Martin Moyer
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I wonder if you're confusing Lost Cities with Schotten Totten? I would say that Lost Cities and BattleLine are really nothing like each other while BattleLine and Schotten Totten are basically the same game (you battle over flags or stones by creating three card poker hands with the best hand taking the stone) although BattleLine has some extra cards in it.

martin
 
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Neil Palfreyman
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I agree with Martin - these games are nothing like each other. Whoever says they are obviously hasn't played them or doesn't get past the comparison that they are played with cards in a line. That's where the similarity starts and ends.

I like both but prefer battle line. It has more options and factors to consider and imho considerably more depth to the play.
 
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Dan Poole
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Goldsboro
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I agree, the only thing these 2 games have in common is that they are card games. My advice: if they both sound intersting, get them both.
 
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Sue Hemberger

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Can't stand Lost Cities; enjoy Battle Line. For me, the difference is that in Lost Cities the strategy is obvious and decision-making revolves around guessing which cards will surface when and then waiting/hoping you're right and/or figuring out when and how best to cut your losses. Battle Line, by contrast, lets you rethink and reorient your strategy as circumstances change or evolve.
 
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Chris Okasaki
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There are obvious surface similarities (Knizia, cards, play then draw), but the strongest similarity is in the feeling of the tension while you play. In both games, you are forced to commit to certain actions before you know whether you will get the cards that will make those actions successful, so a big part of the game is trying to delay making those committments for as long as possible. Eventually, you get hemmed in and have to make one of those painful decisions as to which options you are going to close off.

On BGG, Battle Line seems to have a better reputation, but I personally like Lost Cities better because it is less luck driven. I can hear the howls of outrage beginning already, so let me explain what I mean. First off, I dislike the tactic cards, so let me instead compare luck in Lost Cities to luck in Schotten Totten (which is, roughly speaking, Battle Line without 10s and without the tactics cards).

Many, many games of Schotten Totten come down to luck of the draw at the end. "If I draw the red 6, I win; if my opponent draws the red 6, he wins." Don't get me wrong, I quite enjoy the beginning and middle game of Schotten Totten. But this end game, where your options have narrowed down to one, comes up far too often.

Of course, you can run into similar situations in Lost Cities. "If I draw the red 10, I win; if my opponent draws the red 10, he wins." But the problem doesn't seem as severe. A big part of that is the scoring. In Schotten Totten, the single lucky or unlucky draw at the end determines whether you win or lose. In Lost Cities, the single lucky or unlucky draw and the end determines whether you score 20 points vs 30 pts, which by allowing shades of gray into a black/white situation lessens the difference between the lucky or unlucky result.

Plus, in Lost Cities, you typically play several games and add the scores, which lessens the overall impact of a lucky or unlucky draw in one particular game.

So, I'll agree with those who say to get both, but if you can only get one, I recommend Lost Cities.
 
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Miguel (working on TENNISmind...)
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Caen
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Quote:
In Schotten Totten, the single lucky or unlucky draw at the end determines whether you win or lose. In Lost Cities, the single lucky or unlucky draw and the end determines whether you score 20 points vs 30 pts, which by allowing shades of gray into a black/white situation lessens the difference between the lucky or unlucky result.

Not completely true! At least in BattleLine, you play several games and you score 5 flags if you win (even if you win by breakthrough) and the number of flags taken till then if you lose. So in the end, after few games, the luck is balanced at least as much as in Lost Cities...
 
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