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Subject: Session Report rss

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Greg Schloesser
United States
Jefferson City
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Before heading off to bed, I asked Jason to show me the new Battleline game recently released by GMT Games. For those unaware, Battleline is a re-vamped version of Reiner Knizia's earlier Schotten Totten, a game I thoroughly enjoy. Since GMT is predominately a war game company, they changed the theme of the game. Now, instead of warring Scottish clans, we now have warring ancient armies. And, to add a level of complexity, they added tactical cards which can be used to shake things up. Now, instead of drawing a regular card to re-fill your hand after playing a card, a player can instead draw a tactical card into his hand. On a future turn, he can then play this card instead of a normal card. These tactical cards can cause a variety of occurrences, including the removal of an opponents card, serve as a wild card, re-arrange cards, etc.

So, which is better? Hands down, I'll say Schotten Totten. In my opinion, the tactical cards add a level of chaos to the game which is not needed and hinders careful planning. Schotten Totten allowed players to utilize several various tactics, many based on the knowledge of which cards had been played and which cards you held in your hand. Players could then play cards armed with this knowledge, with the certainty of capturing certain stones. The tactical cards throw such careful planning to the wind as they can suddenly and violently alter the 'board'. No longer can one be assured that all "8's" have been played or are in your hand. Now, there are 'wild' cards and leaders which can be played. No longer can you be certain that your 3 "9's" are firmly in place - a tactical card can alter that. To me, this detracts from the beauty of the original game and makes it much more chaotic. A player simply doesn't have the same degree of control as he has in Schotten Totten.

The good news is that it's easy to play Schotten Totten using the Battleline deck. Simply remove the "10" cards and the tactical cards. That's it. So, the game is adaptable to whichever method you prefer.

I tried to use the tactical cards early to gain an advantage and, temporarily, it worked. However, Jason managed to use several nice tactical cards to rearrange previously laid cards and serve as wild cards, upsetting my carefully laid plans. Jason captured the victory, 5 - 3.

The next morning, I introduced John to the game. This time, I managed to capture the victory.
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