Michael Garton
United States
Suffolk
Virginia
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The game is called Battle Line and the cards have ancient soldier art and the object of the game is to gain a tactical advantage along 9 positions (flags) of the battle line. You win by either gaining a tactical advantage of 5 flags or 3 flags in a row. Each player plays a total of 3 cards (a formation) at each flag, taking turns playing one card at a time from a hand of seven, then drawing to refill their hand. No discarding is allowed, except through play of Tactics cards. Flags are won by having a guaranteed tactical advantage and declaring it. The order of winning is, well, like poker. The highest hand (formation) to the lowest hand are:
Wedge (Straight Flush)
Phalanx (3 of kind)
Battalion Order (Flush)
Skirmish Line (Straight)
Host (any cards, highest total wins)

To make it more interesting, there are 6 suits (colors) and each suit is numbered 1 to 10, and to add to the variety, there are two decks, the 60 card TROOP DECK and the 10 card TACTICS DECK. The tactics deck allows a player to draw a card that may allow the play of a tactics card (instead of a troop card) to gain a tactical advantage at a flag. The guaranteed tactical advantage is declared when the other player cannot beat OR MATCH your 3 cards in play at a flag. Rules state ties go to the last player playing a card. This is declared by proving that the cards in play along the whole battle line will not allow the other player to take the flag. For example, you play, 10,9,8 of a color and the remaining 5 10's are in play elsewhere. This means the best play left for your opponent is a 9 high straight flush. Even though a Tactics card could win him the position, declaring and winning a flag is based solely on Troop cards.

The strategy of this game is to out maneuver your opponent along the line. Play your high cards in concentration if you want to go for the 3 in a row win or lay back and one up your opponent's troop cards by continually playing a card higher than their play. You need to track the cards in play and dump cards on flags to get them out of your hand. Don't give away that a flag is a dumping ground too soon or your opponent will play just enough to declare the flag won, closing it out for further play. Cards can only be played on undeclared flags. Your hand will influence your play as you analyze the playing field. You'll find your opponent playing cards that you need for those straight flushes you thought you could build. Now what to do with those cards!

Drawing and playing tactic cards can help if you have a mediocre hand, the 10 tactics cards are:
Leader (2 available, Alexander and Darius) This is a wild Troop card, plays as any color and any number you wish. You may only have ONE on your side.
Companion Cavalry - Plays as a Troop card, 8 of any color
Shield Bearer - Plays as a 1, 2, or 3 of any color
Fog - the flag is won by total points, formations are disabled
Mud - 4 cards must be played vice 3
Scout - draw any 3 cards from the 2 decks, replace 2 back face down on top of the deck(s)
Redeploy - Choose any troop card from your side and move it to another flag are discard it face up
Deserter - Choose any troop card from your opponent's side and discard it face up
Traitor - Choose any troop card from your opponent's side and place it in an EMPTY slot on your own side

You may NEVER play more than one more Tactics card than your opponent. Once you play a tactics card, any more in your hand are dead weight. Try not to draw too many Tactics cards in to your hand.

I played and won the first game of this quick playing, but deep card game. Since then, I've lost 6 in a row to my son. Thank you Secret Santa for a nice 2 player game that we both have enjoyed over the holidays.
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John Earles
Canada
Toronto
Ontario
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>> Rules state ties go to the last player playing a card

Actually, the rule states the last player to play into a tie LOSES.

--

Battle Line is a wonderful little card game. The amount of tension you get by always having to play a card before drawing is wonderful (eventually you have to chose the battles you think you have the best chance in), and having to prove (with cards in play) a flag claim is masterful.
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Michael Garton
United States
Suffolk
Virginia
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Okay, that is what I get for listening to my son angry
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Joe Stude
United States
Farmington Hills
Michigan
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congrats on receiving the game. It's still arguably my favorite 2-player game.
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Scott Groat
United States
Ames
Iowa
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While doing research for inexpensive games for my friends, this kept coming up. I didn't get it for anyone because it just didn't look appealing to me. Even after x-mas I was still reading reviews and everyone was giving it such praise so, I bought myself a copy yesterday.
I went through the game once solo using the Schotten Totten rules as was recommended in a review and am quite happy with the purchase.
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Michael Garton
United States
Suffolk
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Since playing correctly, I'm 2-0 cool
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