Translated from French by Steve ThorsTen (2019)
In the Scottish Highlands two villages face off over 9 boundary stones which delineate their territory. No one wants to settle for less and each village sends their best men to ensure that they win the stones and claim the largest swathe of territory. To win, you need to come up with the best card combinations and guarantee yoursel three adjacent boundary stones or any five stones. The boundary stones are placed in the middle of the table with the Northern and Southern villages flocking down to the battle to produce their best combinations of cards and claim the stones as their own.
Game Overview and Opinions
The least that can be said about Schotten-Totten is that the theme of the game is somewhat whimsical. As you continue to study and explore the game, it becomes obvious that this doesn't matter or affect the game play in any way.
Schotten-Totten is a game where players form combinations of cards. These combinations will be known to poker players in particular. The originality of the game stems from the fact that each player has to build combinations across 9 different boundary stones at the same time.
In order to build these combinations, players will have to rely on limited information as they only have 6 cards in their hand and the outcome of the game somewhat depends on luck. However, the game is not as chaotic as this may suggest.
To succeed, a player will have to demonstrate good card management. Players should strive to defeat their opponents by producing better card combinations across the board based on the resources they have. Once again – the proper management of your cards is paramount.
While you will not have access to all the cards you will need, you can still tread carefully on the one hand, and learn how to bluff your opponents on the other. Understandably, players cannot expect to pinpoint the outcome of games as there are too many unknowns. Just like poker, the game involves strategical thinking and it is very enjoyable to play.
Each game box comes with extra cards called “tactical” and “advanced rules”, but we recommend that you stay clear of these as they make the game very confusing and disorderly. If you are looking for a reason to play Schotten-Totten, we will remind you that the game is portable and you can take it around with you. At the same time, the game provides players with the opportunity to exercise logical and tactical thought.
To win the game, you will simply need to claim three adjacent boundary stones or to win any five boundary stones.
Game Materials & Start of the Game
Each game comes with 54 clan cads, 9 boundary stones and 10 tactical cards, which we do not recommend to use if you want to streamline the gameplay and enjoy a more balanced gameplay. To begin the game, you will need to put the 9 boundary stones in the middle of the table. Shuffle the clan card and deal 6 to each player. The rest of the cards are left in the deck next to the boundary stones. Now, you have to choose which players begins.
A player can perform 3 actions. First, a player can attack a boundary stone. The player begins by assembling a combination of cards in front of a stone in the hopes of outscoring the opponent. There are several combinations that determine the strength of a combination:
Ordered Clan – Three cards of the same colour with consecutive values
Scottentot Team – Three cards of the same value
Clan – Three cards of the same colour
Ordered Group – Three cards with consecutive values
Wild Rabble – Any other set of three cards
A player can only win a boundary stone if they have placed three cards. There are a few circumstances to consider as well:
The opponent who has the strongest combination wins the boundary stones. If the combinations are matching, then the winner is determined based on the value of the cards. If the value of the cards match, the person to place the last card loses.
То claim a boundary stone before your opponent has placed the third card, though you have to demonstrate that the opponent cannot build a better group than yours. You need to use the information that is visible to all players, but not reveal any cards you hold in your own hand.
A maximum of three cards is placed in front of every boundary stone. This is three cards per player and not three cards in general. When a stone is won, it's moved behind the three-card combination of the winning player and the cards are kept on the field so that everyone can see who controls the boundary stone.
To conclude the game, players will need to fulfill the winning condition by claiming three adjacent boundary stones. If this condition is not met, then players can alternatively win by winning any five boundary stones. The player who fulfils either condition is pronounced a victor. With this the game ends and no further stones can be claimed.
If you decide to play multiple games, you will need to keep track of your points. The victor notches up 5 points. Meanwhile, the player who has lost the match-up will be credited one point for each boundary stone in their possession. Make sure you set a number of times that you want to play the game before you start.