Guide to Battleship Board Game

Games like Battleship promote logical thinking.

The Battleship Board game is a game of strategy and skill with a little chance thrown in to make it interesting. Although the game has been played in a pad and pencil version since World War I, Milton Bradley created the board game version in 1967.

Battleship Pieces

The basic Battleship game comes with several pieces:

  • Two plastic battle stations, one for each player.
  • 168 plastic pegs to mark misses.
  • 84 red pegs to mark the hits.
  • Instructions for play.
  • Five plastic ships of various sizes for each player.
Ship Sizes
Kind of Ship Size of Ship
Patrol Boats Two pegs
Destroyer Three pegs
Submarine Three pegs
Battleship Four pegs
Aircraft Carrier Five pegs


How to Play Battleship

Players sit opposite each other and place their ships on their game board in a random pattern. The game boards are set up as a grid with each point assigned a different letter and number. Players take turns calling out points on the grid, such as "A-2", "B-5", etc. They keep track of the points that have been called by placing either a red peg (for a hit) or a white peg (for a miss) on their game board.

When a player calls a point that has a ship on it, the opponent must tell him that he has hit the ship. The ship is considered sunk when all of the points that the ship covers have been called. The first player to sink all of his opponent's ships is the winner.

If you have lost the rules that came with the game you may want to print the official rule book (This is a pdf file).

Battleship Strategy

Battleship is a strategy game and is an excellent way to build thinking skills. Generally speaking a player cannot win by making random guesses. Generally working across the board on a diagonal is the best way to find the ships.

  • Start with point A-1 and work your way down the board.
  • When you hit a ship call each point around that hit until the ship is sunk before continuing your diagonal pattern.
  • Try keeping at least three spaces between shots. All of the ships except one are three points or larger.
  • You may also choose to work in a circular pattern or a checker board pattern to find the ships. Use each method at least once and decide which works the best for you.

There is also a strategy to placing your ships on the board.

  • Never place them close together.
  • Keep your ships away from the center of the board. This is where many people begin to call points.
  • Place your ships on the board in as random pattern as possible.
  • Place them differently in each game

When playing the Battleship board game several times with the same player, observe how he plays the game. There will generally be a pattern to how he sets up his ships or how he calls points to try to find yours. If you can figure out the pattern you will be able to outsmart him in the game. If he consistently chooses the same area to target, you will know to keep your ships away from that area.

Variations of the Battleship Board Game

The simplest way to play Battleship is with a paper grid and a pencil, but over the years there have been many variations of the game created. Some of the games are:

  • Electronic Battleship Advanced Mission
  • Travel Battleship
  • Battleship Command Pirates of the Caribbean
  • Electronic Battleship Star Wars Game
  • Battleship Folio
  • Battleship Torpedo Attack Game
  • Battleship Express
  • Electronic Talking Battleship

An Excellent Learning Tool

The Battleship board game is not just a game for children. People of all ages enjoy the challenge and strategy of this game. Because of the compact size the game can be taken almost anywhere and played at almost anytime. It is especially suited as a math enrichment game because it helps children become familiar with points and grids. It also allows them to use techniques that they will later use in advanced mathematics. Battleship enhances thinking skills and promotes logical thought making it a useful tool for learning.If you like strategy games like Chess, the Battleship game may be one that you should add to your collection.

Guide to Battleship Board Game