OBJECTIVE OF BATTALION:  Be the player with the most chips at the end of the game

NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 3 – 6 players

MATERIALS:  104 cards, 10 chips or tokens for each player


AUDIENCE: Kids, Adults


Battalion is a combat style card game for 3 – 6 players.  It’s creation is attributed to Upstate Art Concepts in the year 2001.  In this game, players are fighting to have the most chips at the end of the game.  Players will take turns attacking and defending with the loser surrendering their chips.  The game ends when a player runs out of chips.


Battalion is played with two 52 card decks.  Players will start with a ten card hand as well as ten chips.  The rest of the cards become a draw pile.  Flip the top card of the draw pile over to begin the discard pile.

In this game, players will only need to focus on the cards’ suits.  Card ranks do not matter unless you have two of the same cards.  Since this is a double deck game, a pair of two identical cards is possible.  Typically cards are worth 1 point each, but each card in an exact pair is worth 2 points each.


Gameplay can be broken down into three phases: acquisition, bidding, combat.


On each player’s turn, beginning with the player on the left of the dealer and continuing in that direction, a player may draw one card from the top of the draw pile or the top of the discard pile.  That player then chooses one card from their hand and discards it.  Three rounds of Acquisition occur in total.  Once the dealer completes their third round of Acquisition, play continues to the Bidding phase.


Beginning again with the player left of the dealer, each player will bid to see who attacks first. A player’s bid equates to the number of cards that player will attack with if they go first.  A player that bids must bid at least 4.  If a player chooses not to bid, they may pass.  Subsequent bids must be higher than the most previous one.  For example, if Player 1 bids 5, the next player to bid must bid 6 or more.

A player does not have to bid precisely how many cards in a suit they actually have.  They may bid less (to conceal information), but they cannot bid more than their actual number of cards in that suit.  Just remember, a player only gets one chance to bid.

The player with the highest bid goes first.


The player with the highest bid attacks first.  They play a number of cards in the same suit equal to or more than their bid.   Those cards are played face up to the center, and the attacker declares who they are attacking.  Each card is worth 1 attack point unless it is an identical pair which is worth 2 points each.  The person being attacked is referred to as the defender.

The defender then chooses to defend or surrender.  If a player chooses to defend, they can play a number of cards in the same suit as their attacker’s cards.  The cards must be in the same suit. For example, if the attacker plays 6 Spade cards, the defender must play Spade cards to defend with.  If a player is unable (or unwilling) to defend, they may surrender.  To surrender, they play zero cards in defense, and the battle is automatically won by the attacker.

To resolve the battle, determine the difference in the amount of cards played by the attacker and defender.  If the attacker played more cards than the defender, the defender loses an amount of chips equal to the difference.  If the defender plays more cards than the attacker, the attacker loses twice as many chips as the difference, and those chips are given to the defender.  If the amount of cards is equal, the battle is a draw and no chips are lost by either player.

Discard all attack and defense cards to the discard pile.  Each player replenishes their hand back up to ten beginning with the defender followed by the attacker.  When the draw pile runs out, shuffle the discard pile and flip it over to begin the draw pile anew.

Play continues around the table with each player attacking on their turn. The same suit cannot be used two turns in a row for attacking.  For example, if Player 1 attacks with Spades, Player 2 must choose a different suit to attack with on their turn.  Player 3 would then be able to attack with Spades.

Once a player runs out of chips, the game ends.


The player with the most chips at the end of the game wins.

Mark Ball
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