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Subject: Go of card games? rss

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Tony Chen
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I haven't played a comprehensive number of card games by any means, but of the ones that I've played Schotten Totten is the closest thing that comes to Go (the deepest game in the world in my opinion). This may seem like a bizarre comparison--let me explain.

Brain Burning
Schotten Totten is mentally exhausting, more so than any other card game that I've played. Constant analysis and calculations are required throughout the entire game. I find myself having to pay very close attention to the "board" at all times. Both Go and Schotten Totten are highly demanding mental excercises.

Tense
Just as a well-placed Go stone may threaten your enemy in multiple ways, so is a well-played Schotten Totten card. There are many factors to consider on which card to play where--sometimes these factors corroborate each other, sometimes they contradict. In the case of the latter, weighing the cost and benefit is a very tense decision.

Creative
In many other card games the choices are laid out clearly on a restricted path, with the tension coming from waiting for the opportunity (draw of a card, opponent's playing of a card) to take a further step down that path. Schotten Totten however, like Go, has much more room for creativity and ingenuity.

Rewarding
Perhaps most importantly, a victory in Schotten Totten is the most rewarding--likewise a defeat in the same is the most devastating--of all the card games I can think of. The result of a game of Schotten Totten or Go is more keenly felt, because it is so much a fruit of your labors and a testament to the strength (or lack of) of your strategy.

When I win a game of Schotten Totten, I feel like I've really earned it. Similarly, when I lose, I feel acutely that I've blown it. In most other card games, play is more mechanical and impulsive, and the mind is engaged in waiting for, rather than figuring out how to make, things happen. For example my attitude when playing Lost Cities: when I win, I am happy to have drawn the cards that I needed, but not much more than that; and when I lose, I just shrug it off and life goes on. Not that life doesn't go on when I suffer a defeat in Schotten Totten, but you get the point.

Control
The last thing I'd like to touch on is control, and this contributes directly to the game being more rewarding: players have relatively more influence on the outcome of the game. In this way, it is closer to perfect information games such as Go, where players have complete influence on the outcome. There is more room for creativity and manipulation, such that a competent player can dextrously mitigate the random factor. Games are more often decided by skill than by luck, so they are more rewarding.

more detailed analysis on strategy
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C.K. Au
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If you've not played Battle Line, then you might want to give that a try. It's essentially Schotten Totten with the addition of Tactic cards which makes you even more paranoia!

For eg there's a Tactic card (Traitor) that allows you to "steal" a card from your opponents battle field into yours!

It's by the same designer (Knizia) and is simply a newer re-print under different publisher (GMT).

p/s But I like the Scottish pictures of Schotten Totten compared with Battle Line and my copy of Schotten Totten is still unplayed. I bought it just for the pics!
 
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Tony Chen
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I haven't played Battle Line, but it seems that the action cards will make the game too random and not reward planning ahead.
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Liz Rizzo
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jack208 wrote:
If you've not played Battle Line, then you might want to give that a try. It's essentially Schotten Totten with the addition of Tactic cards which makes you even more paranoia!

For eg there's a Tactic card (Traitor) that allows you to "steal" a card from your opponents battle field into yours!

It's by the same designer (Knizia) and is simply a newer re-print under different publisher (GMT).

p/s But I like the Scottish pictures of Schotten Totten compared with Battle Line and my copy of Schotten Totten is still unplayed. I bought it just for the pics!


I find that the extra cards basically kill the beauty of Schotten Totten as described here in that they increase the random factor and decrease the tense brain burning.

I've pulled my Battle Line cards into a Schotten Totten deck (in otherwords, ditched the extra cards), and while the new Battle Line cards that came with my new Schotten Totten are pretty, they won't be getting any use.

I will add that if you play that you take the stones at the end of your turn like on yucata.de, it significantly improves the game. I find myself wondering if they changed it to that in the new rules, but they are in German, so I'm stuck just wondering.
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Guillaume Chaput
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I'm not sure I understand your statements about control. It seems to me that in Schotten Totten we are quite far from "perfect information" as each player has a hand, and you don't know what you will draw.

Also, I'm not an expert of the game or anything, but it appears to me that in Schotten Totten, you play with probabilities where this doesn't exist at all in Go.
Even if enjoyable, I feel that Schotten is mostly luck/probability driven which is why I have problems conceiving a comparison to Go.
 
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Nick Bentley
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I especially agree with the part about how it feels to win and how it feels to lose. As is the case for Go, losing is agony, and winning is ecstasy. Few other games compare.
 
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Guillaume Chaput
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Well, that might be just me being a total noob, but for instance, last game I played, my opponent got 4 straights flush (he actually got every single cards of one color) so there I was really wondering if the best player in the world could have beat him on this one...
Well may be I was just unlucky on this one, but that's actually my point!

I recon this happen seldom, and most of the games are decided by who is the best, but such cases can happen, where in Go, it will never happen.
 
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