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Subject: The Starting Line Up, and Flanking rss

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Nathan James
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Covington
Ohio
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Here's a variant in two parts. It's intended to somewhat speed the game, while allowing for additional elements of planning and uncertainty.


The Starting Line Up:

Deal each player an additonal 5 cards at the start of the game. Then before normal play begins, each player places five cards face down, one at each of the five center flags. No cards may placed at the four outer flags (two flags on either end,) and no additional cards are drawn during this phase. When each player has placed his five cards face down, both reveal the cards they have placed. Then begin alternating play as described in the official rules.

Flanking:
When either player claims one of the very outside flags he may draw an extra card. This will give him a larger hand for the rest of the game. Also, amend the breakthrough rule to include a victory by 'envelopment.' If one player has claimed both end flags and one flag adjacent to either of these, he wins. Thus, the three adjacent flags wrap-around.

These variants let the player see more cards giving him greater latitude to plan. On the other hand, each must play their first five cards blind to the opponent's cards. Overall I think it's primary benefit is in accelerating play. It can put someone at a disadvantage or demonstrate an apparent weakness earlier. I don't mind this as I find the cards to be fickle anyway. I also find much more enjoyment when I'm looking at the possibility of a breakthrough for either side.

Enjoy!
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Kent Alot
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Seems interesting. However, I feel that for your Flanking Variant, if you are making the end flags equal (almost at least), you shouldn't also be able to draw an extra card. That makes breakthrough from the flanks even better (drawing 2 extra cards). I'd either get rid of the extra card and just make the circular flag setup like suggested by others or make it such that the envelopment only happens if you get 4 in a row (2 on each side) if you must keep the drawing extra cards, that way it's harder to win than breakthrough but easier to win than the standard 5.
 
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