Do You Remember? Battleship

In this “classic naval combat game,” the open seas were cluttered with ships of war, five on each side. But unlike real war, these nautical enemies decided to play fair, standing perfectly still and taking turns firing missiles at each other. Battleship was a hit-and-miss game of strategy, combining lucky guesswork with deductive reasoning to sink the enemy fleet and rule as master of the waters.

Two flip-up gameboards kept your fleet’s location hidden from the enemy and vice versa. On a 10×10 grid (labeled A-J vertically, 1-10 horizontally), players arranged the five members of their fleet—carrier, battleship, sub, destroyer, patrol boat—on either horizontal or vertical rows (and no, you little cheaters, the ships’ pegs wouldn’t let them fit in diagonally). Once the opposing fleets were arranged, the firing commenced.

Taking turns, players called out bingo-like combinations of numbers and letters (“H-7! C-3!”), hoping to score a lucky hit on one of the enemy craft. To keep track of the misses (and there were usually many), players stuck white pegs in a matching grid on the flipped-up top of the gameboard (red pegs noted the hits). But even after that lucky first strike, the guesswork wasn’t over—was that the 5-space carrier or the 2-space patrol boat, and is the rest of that tender hull laying north, south, east, or west of here? Bad guesses meant more misses, and that gave the enemy more time to hunt your own craft down and blow them out of the water.

Battleship caught on quickly in a Cold War world, and the game eventually expanded into several forms. Electronic Battleship took some of the manual labor out of the game, replacing it with nifty sound effects. Things went a step farther in Electronic Talking Battleship, which barked out commands and results to its opposing naval officers. The game even took on outside licenses, resulting in customized versions with Star Wars spaceships and other craft.

The ’90s found Battleship moving into the CD-ROM world with added features and new forms of gameplay. Back in the physical world, Electronic Battleship: Advanced Mission gave the original board game a few new tweaks of its own (torpedoes, reconnaissance aircraft, voice recognition, etc.). Even with all the advanced versions on the market, the original Battleship remains a favorite of gamers, more than earning its status in our Board Game Hall of Fame.

You Might Enjoy These Classics

About Mickey Yarber 240 Articles
Editor-in-Chief Sometimes referred to as the Retro Rambler...I was born in the '70s, grew up in the '80s, and came of age in the '90s. I love to share all the fun stuff from those years via my Retro Ramblings column.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply