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Battle Line

revised version of Schotten-Totten


Your Price: $21.99
(Worth 2,199 Funagain Points!)

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Product Awards:  

Ages Play Time Players
10+ 20-30 minutes 2

Designer(s): Reiner Knizia

Manufacturer(s): GMT Games

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Product Description

Battle Line is a card game of "capture the flags" using an ancient battle formation theme. It plays like rummy or poker, is easy to learn, and has strategy and the ability to provide surprises to your opponent. The leaders of both sides direct forces along the battle line to gain tactical advantages. The first player to win three adjacent Flags or any five Flags is the winner. Based on Reiner Knizia's original design published in Germany as Schotten-Totten, Battle Line enhances and expands the game with more options and fun.

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Illustration

Product Awards

International Gamers Awards
Best 2-Player Game Nominee, 2000

Product Information

Contents:

  • 60 Troop cards
  • 10 Tactics cards
  • 9 red wooden pawns
  • Rulebook

Product Reviews

 
 
 
 
 

Average Rating: 4.4 in 40 reviews


 
 
 
 
 
by Mark Paul
A Classic, Scotten-totten/Battleline
September 28, 2007

I reviewed this game as Schotten-Totten and Battleline years ago. The edition of Scotten totten was the basic game, which was simple, straightforward Battleline added some cards which, at first may be seen as simply window dressing, but once remembered and understood, they become part of the planning and strategy of the game. They actually add a depth and color to the game. It also has an excellent replay value.

 
 
 
 
 
by Game Fiends
Fantastic 2 player, even for gamers
November 16, 2006

We have played hundreds of games. We're usually more into board games than card games, but this has the strategic thinking and "feel" of a good board game for two. I'd say this is one of the best two-player games for those with a competitive nature and affinity for games beyond the typical Monopoly and Clue. Yet, even those who prefer the classics will love this one once they read through the rules and play it a time or two. It is addictive and has a completely new scenario each time, so very replayable.

 
 
 
 
 
Battle Line: A Quick Review
May 23, 2006

Battleline:

Battleline is a clever little card game for two players by Reiner Knizia (Tigris and Euphrates, Amun Re, Dragonland, Ra, Lord of the Rings and many, many more). Battleline is a redesign of the original game by Knizia called Schotten Totten, and even though this second version is very different it is this one, of the two, that feels more natural.

In Battleline players compete to seize ‘flags’, of which there are nine, through the building of powerful regiments – the placing of Troop cards with different values. Like in poker different sets of cards are more powerful than others, the object is to build a set behind a flag that will beat the set, or formation, that your opponent is building.

Battleline is a quick game that is extremely simple but surprisingly deep. The addition of the Tactics cards, which give the person playing them a special bonus or advantage, means the game has a re-playability that is rare for a game so small. The theme of Battleline is warfare in antiquity, particularly focussing on the regimented, formation-based combats of Alexander the Great and Darius III. You will not be replaying the battle of Issus, the siege of Tyre of any of the great battles of the period through this game, but the theme of formation based phalanx warfare sits amazingly well with the mechanics of the game. If a player manages to seize three adjacent flags that player’s army has achieved a Breakthrough, and wins the game. If, on the other hand, they manage to seize five flags (without getting three adjacent), the battle has been particularly long and gruelling, and the player’s army has achieved, finally, an Envelopment, which will also result in a victory.

It is not the victory mechanics that make this game so interesting, although they certainly form a large part of the game, it is the play mechanic itself - play a card behind one of the nine flags and pick up a card, it doesn’t sound like it could hide too much complexity, but it does. There may be nine flags, but it is easy to put yourself into a corner by filling up too many too swiftly, it is easy to play your formations too soon and give your opponent more time to counter them, it is hard to decide sometimes how to play a hand – to wait on one of a particular couple of cards, or to go with a weaker formation but one you have already. In fact it is in balancing the need to get rid of cards, to play cards and to draw cards that the game derives its tactical depth and in-game tension. Battleline is a game filled with tension, there is always more that you want to be able to do than you can do, you want to be playing cards, you need to be drawing cards, you are hoping against hope that the next card you do pick up will help out the formation you played earlier, you want Tactics cards, but if you take them you won’t be able to draw a Troop card. So many agonizing choices spiced with a touch of risk taking and a dash of luck all rolled up into a 20 to 30 minute card game; that is the beauty of Battleline.

Battleline manages to unite simplicity, depth and variation of play in a way that is rare and surprising for a game of its size and length. It is a real pleasure to play, and for a game that has had its theme changed significantly from its original incarnation, it is remarkably thematic and feels quite natural.


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