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How To Play Battle Line Medieval

Battle Line Medieval cover

Battle Line Medieval (2017) is a themed version of Schotten Totten (1999) and Battle Line (2000). A tactical card game in which two players vie for control of nine battlefields. A typical game lasts around 20-30 minutes. Players of Schotten Totten and Battle Line note little difference in the rules for this edition.

Setup

Set the nine battlefield cards in a line between the players. (For a standard game, place the battlefields text side down.)

Players cut the Troop deck until one has the higher number. That player becomes the dealer, shuffles the deck and deals seven cards to each player. (Players never reveal the cards in their hand during the game.)

Place the remaining Troop cards face down beside the battlefields, forming a draw deck. Then shuffle the Tactic deck and placed them face down beside the Troop draw deck, forming a second draw deck.

Objective: To take victory a  player must claim five of the nine battlefields or three adjacent battlefields.

Gameplay

Each battlefield has three 'slot's' on either side, into which players can play Troop (and some Tactic) cards. The aim is to create a stronger 3 card formation on your side of a battlefield than your opponent, then claim it.

The formations, from highest to lowest are:

Wedge: Three cards of the same colour with consecutive values (Straight Flush)

Square: Three cards of the same value (Three of a Kind)

Column: Three cards of the same colour (Flush)

Skirmish: Three cards with consecutive values (straight)

Fray: Any other formation (sum of values)

In addition, the player may deploy Tactic cards to affect a battlefield. There are three types of ten Tactic cards:

Morale Tactics: Cavalry Mercenary, King of England, King of France, and Support Troops. Play a Morale Tactic to a battlefield in place of a Troop card.

Weather Tactics: Fog, and Mud. Play a Weather Tactic beneath a battlefield to influence the outcome. They do not count toward the 3 card formation.

Guile Tactics: Deserter, Redploy, Scout, and Traitor. Play a Guild Tactic to a battlefield to trigger an immediate effect. The card is then set aside.

A Game Turn

The non-dealer takes the first turn, with play then alternating until one player meets a victory condition.  A game turn has three stages: play a card, claim a battlefield (optional), and draw a card.

Play a card: The player will choose one card from their hand (Troop or Tactic). A card must be played to an unclaimed battlefield with an open slot.

A player cannot play more than 3 cards on their side a battlefield (Weather and Guile Tactic cards do not count). Also, a player can only play up to one more Tactic card than their opponent has played.

Claim a Battlefield: The player may claim one or more battlefields on their turn. To do so they must have a complete 3 card formation on their side of the battlefield(s) being claimed. They must be able to prove that their opponent cannot form a stronger formation at the claimed battlefield(s). To do so, use only the cards in play to prove the claim(s), never reveal cards in hand.

In some scenarios, a battlefield will be tied, or at best will be. Here, the player who played (or would play) the last card on the battlefield lose the tie. The opposing player may claim the battlefield on their next turn. When a player successfully claims a battlefield, they move it to their side of the battle line.

Draw a card: The player will draw one card from either the Troop or Tactic deck to replenish their hand. When the draw deck runs out, no further cards can be drawn but play continues.

Game End

The game ends immediately upon one player claiming their fifth battlefield or has claimed three adjacent battlefields. No further battlefields are claimed.

If playing multiple games, the winner receives 5 points. The loser receives points equal to the number of battlefields they won. The winner plays first in the next game.

Rule Variants & Terrain Rules

Each Battlefield card features artwork on one side and text on the other. Turn the cards text side down to play a standard game. However, for a more challenging game players can set the battlefields text side up, and apply the text when playing cards.

A twist on this rule is to play with some battlefields text side up, and others text side down. I sometimes enjoy this approach for something a little different.

Claiming Battlefields

Players may only claim battlefields at the beginning of their turn. This rule delays the claim by a turn. Thus, providing the opposing player with an opportunity to modify the result with a Tactic card.

No Tactic Cards

This isn't an official variant, as such as it's not in the rule sheet. However, I have known players to set aside the Tactic cards and play only with Troop cards. Use this variant to imitate the gameplay of early editions of Schotten Totten. Battle Line introduced Tactic cards in 2000. This isn't something I would do, but it is an option!