FlatTop versions: Avalon Hill v Battleline

AH v Battleline production differences

At first glance I thought both games were identical and in fact sought confirmation from the AH wonks over on facebook. No one really seemed to know much. So as I progress through examining the two games I shall post up images and comments regarding what I find. Here is a quick look at the obvious differences.

A detail I first notice: US/Allied base Radar has an extended range of 4 versus 3 for everyone else in Battleline edition. BL also provides base formation boxes for US bases.

The rulebooks are substantially different in structure. There is a breakdown of basic versus advanced game in the BL version (which makes the game a bit more cumbersome to learn frankly), more on that in a moment.

The charts are also different, Air Ops charts  have no altitude boxes in BL version, rather they provide Low counters to pop on units in each formation box, the combat tables for air hits are combined for both sides (nice) and an ‘advanced’ table added in BL. Some additional tables for attacking fighters are left out (modifiers for Zeros etc) that are in the body of the AH rules and not included at all in BL’s version. So where AH leaves optional rules charts in the body of the rules, BL has either incorporated them or dismissed them all together.

Counter color for Allies different, and so are the Japanese!

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Battleline – using Yellow for Japanese!

Avalon Hill uses these colors for Japanese – Orange and then Yellow for Allies.




Avalon Hill

When you sit down to read the BL titles rule book, it is very warm and engaging at the outset. Clearly aiming it self to attract the new or early wargame player. Whereas AH’s approach is – you bought it, now get on with it!

The BL approach is nice at first, but as we progress into the the rules which by todays standards are neither complex nor poorly written BL insists upon extensive examples with a lot of text for everything. This almost doubles the size of the rule book. eek.


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The rules are also not clearly laid out. A fairly detailed look at the sequence of play then meanders into the actual rules themselves, but facts in one summary area are not repeated in the primary rules. I think that would cause confusion. After reading the  AH rules I found my self a bit baffled by the BL rule book to be honest.

More as I find it!

Why am I looking at this?

Check out the shrink rip coming soon.

2 thoughts on “FlatTop versions: Avalon Hill v Battleline

  1. The General, volume 18 number 4, contains an article by Alan Moon, on his revision of Flat Top for Avalon Hill. Concerning the map he mentions adding two rows on the left side, .minor coastline changes, and making all non essential islands black, He added new planes as well as many new ships (all those at Pearl Harbor). He goes into detail on all the changes the reasons for each that he made. Personally, I like the AH version better, having played both. You can find this issue (and the others) here: https://archive.org/details/GeneralMagazineVol18i6

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