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Subject: Advanced rule discussion thread rss

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Matt Dodor
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Hi all. We've all seen geeklists, reviews, etc. with people putting their two cents towards using the advanced rule or not. Just to make sure we're all on the same page by advanced rule I mean the option of ONLY claiming flags at the beginning of your turn. I felt I had a good argument against it in my session report:

"My second observation is that I do not feel that the advanced rule, which says that you may only claim a flag at the beginning of your turn, does not make the game harder to play. In fact I would argue that it makes Battle Line easier to play. By omitting this rule, the game adds a huge patience factor. Here's my example of this rule. I am waiting on the blue 4 to complete the already played blue 5 and 6. I also have the Darius card in my hand which will win this set for me, but it can also be placed in another slot that is far more important for me. This second slot also has the card I need (which was something like a red 4 or 7 to complete another straight-run). So I decided to hold off on the Darius card until I drew one of the three cards I needed. Good plan right? Wrong. Well, I would argue it was the right plan, it failed. Nicole found the card I needed and laid it on her side. I lost that flag, which I underestimated the value of and subsequently lost the game."

Elaborating on this quote, I think that the advanced rule does not mesh with the rest of the Battle Line ruleset. Specifically, ties are broken by the first player who finishes their set. Now including the advanced rule would reward players for holding off until a player has made a decisive move. Why use a rule that makes the game reward the first play on one hand and on the other hand give a player an advantage for making the last play? I've lost games that if I used the advanced rule, I may or may not have lost. But with the absence of the advanced rule a new skill, specifically timing is introduced to the skillset of the game.

By using the advanced rule, some nuances of Battle Line are lost, specifically timing. Without the advanced rule Battle Line can be a tense game of knowing when and where to play your cards. With the advanced rule, it's just where, one can always wait until their last second.

I'm interested to hear what other gamers think of the advanced rule. Do you use it? What are your reasons for using or skipping it? I guess I'm not looking for another poll of yes or no, but why? What reasons do you cite for your decision?
 
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Michael Sosa
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I consider myself an expert Battleline player and look forward to the WBC tournament. The advanced rule, claiming flags only after your opponent has had an opportunity to respond, is clearly superior to claiming flags immediately because it serves to reduce the element of luck of the draw by allowing the losing side to discard before the flag is claimed. Discarding gives you a chance to draw a card you need for a set and not be forced to make a play. Since discarding mitigates the loss of the flag it actually increases the tension in the game, as it increases the chance your opponent will play good cards somewhere else. Discarding sometimes is not an easy decision either, and occasionally I will forgo it, but having the option to play a third card to a losing flag is clearly better than being stuck at two cards played.

Another rule that I strongly recommend is using the point system described in the rules, so that a match is at least two games with an optional third for tie breakers. Players rotate going first, since that is a disadvantage.
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Matt Dodor
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That is a really good argument, and I see how that would reduce luck.

Still, I feel that the advanced rule takes away the consistency of the game. In the base rules, the game rewards the aggressor with ties. The advanced rule seems to reverse this with potentially rewarding the last player. Granted the first player who finished their side is still rewarded with the flag, but the defender will get an opportunity to dump a card on their side.

I guess this argument will come down to mechanical preferences. I can see how players will enjoy the pure skill involved in gaming will enjoy the advanced rule. Others, who may value bluffing/intrigue may want to leave out the advanced rule.
 
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