Contributed by by Tim Orcutt

A game for three to six players. The game for three or four players is described below, the game for five or six is described in VARIANTS at the end of these instructions.

  1. Shuffle together two standard 52-card decks with no Jokers
  2. Deal 10 cards to each player. Remaining cards form the stock.
  3. Each player starts with ten chips.
  4. Only the suits matter. The rank is irrelevant unless you have "identical twins" (two of exactly the same card, such as two Jacks of Spades). The object is to create an "arsenal" of suits used to attack and/or defend against other players. Each card counts as one point in battle value. However, if you have identical twins, EACH of those cards counts as TWO points. Therefore Two Jacks of Spades would would have a total battle value of four points if spades are the attack suit.
  5. Strategy may vary. Some may wish to acquire a large amount of one suit, while others prefer to be well balanced, however, the player capable of the greatest number of points in an attack will usually be the first one to attack.
  6. STAGE ONE: Acquisition. The top card of the stock is turned over. This card starts the discard pile. Each player in turn, starting to the left of the dealer and moving clockwise may draw one card from the stock or the top card from the discard pile. The same player then discards any card face up to the discard pile. Once all players have drawn a card and discarded, the first round of acquisition is complete. Continue with two more rounds of acqusition.
  7. STAGE TWO: Bidding. In order to be the first to attack, you need a large number of cards of the same suit (at least four). Starting with the player to the left of the dealer, each player has one opportunity to bid or pass. If he bids, he says any number (not less than four) up to the battle point value of his longest suit (a player is never required to bid, even if he has a large number of points in one suit). Minimum bid is four. Each successive bid must be higher than the previous high bid. Once each player has bid or passed, the battle begins. If all players pass, dealer takes the role of high bidder and must make the first attack.
  8. STAGE THREE: Attack. High bidder lays down enough cards of his longest suit (actually his highest valued battle suit) to total a battle value at least equal to his bid, and names the player he is attacking. The defending player may place any number of his cards (including zero, called a "surrender") in that suit down (face up) to ward off the attack. The cards played by the defender must be in the same suit as those played by the attacker. If the battle value of the cards played by the attacker is greater than that of the defender, the defender loses a number of chips equal to the difference. These chips are out of play for the rest of the game. However, if the battle value of the defender’s play is greater than that of the attacker, the attacker loses a number of chips equal to TWICE the difference, AND those chips are given to the defender. If the battle values of the attacker's and defender's plays are exactly equal, no chips are lost or change hands. Cards used during the attack are squared up and placed face up at the top of the discard pile. Defender and attacker then draw from the stock to bring the total number of cards in each of their hands back to ten. The defender restores his hand to ten first, then the attacker. If the stock is exhausted during the process, the discard pile is shuffled and placed face down to form a new stock.
  9. Turns continue clockwise with each player making an attack on any other player in the same way. However, the attack suit may not be the same as it was for the previous attack. No player is permitted to "Pass" his turn during attack mode.
  10. The game ends when any player loses all his chips. The player with the greatest number of chips remaining is the winner.
  11. TOURNAMENT RULES: Keep track of the total number of chips each player has remaining at the end of each game. Begin another game by rotating the deal to the left. Once all players have had a chance to play dealer, the tournament ends. The player with the highest overall chip total is the winner.


  1. Everyone will closely observe what you discard during the acquisition round. Throw a card or two from your long suit to throw them off the scent.
  2. During acquisition try to avoid drawing from the discard pile unless you can form identical twins with the draw. However, your opponents will be observing and may think you have made an identical twin in that suit, whether or not you actually did.
  3. You do not need to use all the cards of a suit to defend. You may wish to save some for a later battle, but remember with each battle you will get new cards.
  4. You do not need to bid, or even begin an attack with every card in a suit. If you have seven points in clubs, and bid and attack with five, you will have two points in clubs left to defend yourself, plus any cards you draw to bring your hand up to ten cards. If you bid and attack with all seven, you may leave yourself open to attack in that same suit in a later round.
  5. It is probably in your best interest to attack the player with the greatest number of chips. If you have the greatest number of chips, then attack the player with the fewest chips. If he loses them all during your attack, you win.


BLIND ATTACK An attacking player always attacks the opponent with the greatest number of chips. If there is a tie, roll a die to determine who gets attacked.

JOKER ATTACK Add the Jokers into the deck before shuffling at the beginning of the game. Jokers can only be used to make "identical twins" (NOT triplets), and can only be used to attack.

FIVE OR SIX PLAYER BATTALION Shuffle in a third deck of cards with the Jokers removed. Each player gets 15 or 20 chips to start (as agreed by the group). In this variant, minimum bid is five and "identical triplets" (three of exactly the same card) have battle value of three points each, or a total of nine points. May also be played with BLIND ATTACK and/or JOKER ATTACK, but in the latter, Jokers may also be used to make "identical triplets" (not quadruplets!), but no more than one Joker can ever be used during an attack.

"GUTS" BATTALION Instead of each player maintaining a hand of ten cards, only seven cards are used. Seven cards are dealt of each player at the start, but all other rules are as in regular Battalion.

SCARCITY When the stock is exhausted it is not reformed from the discard pile. Play continues with no further replenishment of hands, players attacking and defending with the cards they have left. The20game ends at the completion of any attack sequence when any player is out of cards.20 At that point, the person with the greatest number of chips is the winner.

Copyright © 2001 Upstate Art Concepts

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Last updated: 6th February 2007