Publisher: GMT Games
# of Players: 2
Playing Time: 30 minutes
Rules: The rules are fairly straight forward since all a person is really doing is laying cards, replinishing their hands, and claiming flags. The examples used for the different formations is helpful and clear. However, it would have been better if they had provided reference cards for both players.
Components: The card quality leaves something to be desired. They are slick and easy to shuffle. However, the cards are thin and they are surrounded on the back with a black border, which leads to easily visible frayed edges. This wouldn't normally be too big of a deal except this game can be highly addictive and it is so quick to play. You can't just play one time - might need a best out of 3 or 5. That leaves plenty of opportunities to wear out the cards.
Gameplay: The gameplay is simple since the majority of the game involves laying cards in different formations, but don't let that fool you. There are plenty of agonizing decisions to be made. Can you fool your opponent into thinking you can beat what looks like the start of a red Wedge 3,4 that is one card short by laying down a 6 or are you just using that section as a junk pile? Should you use your 9s as a Phalanx or hold out for the chance at a 10,9,8 Wedge? You always have to evaluate the situation each turn. What did your opponent just play and where? Does this make a difference on any of your formations?
Impressions: Battle Line is the perfect game for me to play when I only have a short amount of time and a willing opponent. There is some luck of the draw, but that can be managed by the tactic cards and smart plays. Luck won't always be on your side, but you can try to keep your options open. My favorite aspect of the game is proving that you won the battle. You have what looks like a lower ranked formation complete, but they just need one card to beat you. You've been holding that card for a while so you slip it onto your junk pile. You've just won 3 battles in a row and won the game!
If you are looking for a quick 2 player game with turn angst and agonizing decisions, then this may be the game for you. Also, if you are a fan of Lost Cities, then you will probably enjoy Battle Line too since it seems like a step up from that game.