Pages Menu

Categories Menu

Posted on Dec 23, 2007 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

Battle Line – Game Review

By Brandon Neff

The tactic cards may be played instead of a troop card. However, you may not play more than one tactic card more than your opponent, thus maintaining balance. Some tactic cards, like the leaders Alexander and Darius, are wild cards. Others are of a defined value, but any color. For example, the Companion Cavalry card is an 8 of whichever color the player chooses. The Guile cards allow you to transpose cards in formations or gain an advantage in the draw pile. For example, the Scout card allows you to draw three cards and return any two cards in any order. The Redeploy card allows you to move any one of your troop cards from an unclaimed flag to another of your formations or to the discard pile. Other tactic cards are in play for the entire game, but are only played on a single flag. The Fog card disables all formations and the flag is claimed solely on the sum of the values of the cards. The Mud card expands formations to 4 cards rather than three.


An advanced rule is included, which restricts when flags may be claimed, enabling the opponent to attempt to modify the situation with a tactics card.


My entire family enjoys card games and so I decided to try this game out at our most recent family gathering. Over a total of three games, everyone that played was clamoring for more. The youngest player was 11 and the oldest was my 81-year old grandmother. I left out the details about military formations and instead told her she was trying to make a straight flush (wedge), 3 of a kind (phalanx), flush (battalion order), straight (skirmish line) or any other combination of three cards (host). With that, she was hooked and ended up dominating the rest of us. Each game lasted approximately 20 minutes and everyone agreed that this was a game that would get frequent play during our gatherings.

Overall Impression

Battle Line is nothing more than a card game, thinly veiled as a war game. You could substitute the components, eliminating entirely the military theme, and this would still be a resounding success. In fact, this has been done! The Reiner Knizia game Schotten Totten is practically identical to Battle Line except it has a different, lighter theme. Either way you play it, this game plays fast, has as much flavor as you wish, and is a great deal of fun.


Pages: 1 2