OBJECTIVE: The object of Battleship is to sink all five of your opponents’ ships first

NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 2 player game

MATERIALS: 2 game boards, 10 ships, red pegs, white pegs

TYPE OF GAME: Strategy Board Game

AUDIENCE: Kids and adults

The History

Prior to the 1967 Milton Bradley plastic boards and peg version of Battleship, commercial versions of the game, such as Salvo in 1931, were played with pen and paper. Opponents would each have a piece of paper with two grids, a targeting grid and a grid to mark the placement of their ships. Following the release of Salvo, there were several other commercial releases of the game on pen and paper during the 1930s and 1940s. Battleship was also one of the first board games to be released as a computer game. It was produced in 1979 for the Z80 Compucolor and acted as a precursor for many more electronic versions of Battleship.

The Set-Up

Each player sits across from each other and opens their game boards. Secretly, each player places each of their five ships on the ocean grid, this is the bottom half of the game unit. Each space on the ocean grid has a corresponding letter and number. Letters are labeled on the left side of the board, from top to bottom. Numbers are labeled left to right across the top of the grid. The ships can only be placed horizontally or vertically, they may not be diagonal, off the grid, or overlapping. Players cannot change the location of any ships after the game has begun.

The 5 Ships (and amount of spaces they occupy)



Playing the Game

After choosing who will go first, each player will alternate turns, calling out coordinates on their targeting grid. The targeting grid is the top half of the game unit. Each space on the grid has a corresponding letter and number in the same fashion as the ocean grid. A player will call out a letter then a number (for example: B3) to their opponent.

A Miss!

If you call out a coordinate which misses the other player’s ships, that player calls out, “Miss!” You then mark on your targeting grid a white peg to the corresponding coordinate. The other player does not have to record misses on their ocean grid. Players now switch turns.

A Hit!

If you call out coordinates which hits one of the other player’s ships, that player calls out, “Hit!”You then mark a red peg to the corresponding coordinate on your targeting grid. The other player marks a red peg on their ship that was hit. Players now switch turns.

When all the holes on a ship have been hit (filled with red pegs), that ship has sunk. When a ship has sunk, that player must call out, “You sank my (insert name of the ship here)!” The player who sinks all five their opponents’ ships first wins the game!

A Challenge – Sal

For a more challenging version of the game, on each turn call out five different coordinates and mark them with white pegs on the targeting grid. After all five shots are called, your opponent will announce which were hits and misses. If any shots were hits, change the corresponding coordinate on the targeting grid from a white peg to a red peg.

If any of your ships sink, you lose one shot on your next turn. For example, if you have 2 ships sunk, you only can call out 3 sets of coordinates on your next turn or ‘salvo.’ So, the more ships you have sunk, the fewer shots you get.

To add more of a challenge to this variation- don’t disclose which ships have been hit.

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