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Game Review

The classic naval combat game

Ages 8 and up
Game © 1990 Milton Bradley
game in play
Uncle's Games link

2 Players15+ minutes


Two naval fleets open fire upon each other -- never being certain of the exact location of an enemy ship until it is hit.


Players each take one of the game "boxes." On the horizontal grid in the box, they place their five ships. The ships do not move during the game. The ships vary in length -- the aircraft carrier is 5 units long, the battleship is 4 units, the submarine and cruiser are both 3 units and the destroyer is two units.

Players decide who will go first. They then alternate announcing a grid coordinate that they are shooting at. (The grids are indexed A - J vertically and 1 - 10 horizontally.)

After a player announces the coordinate, the opponent responds one of two ways -- by saying "Miss," or by saying "Hit" followed by the ship type that was hit -- for example "Hit, submarine." When the shooting player knows the result of his shot, he/she records it in the upper grid of the game box by inserting a white peg for a miss, or a red peg for a hit. The opponent is only required to record the shot if it was a hit by placing a red peg in the ship that was on the grid.

When a ship cannot take any more hits (that is, has a red peg in each of it's units) then the player announces that the ship was sunk. The game ends when one player has sunk all five of his/her opponent's ships.

player's target grid

player's fleet

Winning Conditions:

  • The player who sinks all of their opponent's ships the fastest wins.

Our Opinion:

Thumbs Up!I can remember playing this game as a kid. It was simple then, and it is simple now. It's still a fairly fun game, but for adults, it's way too easy.

Formally reading the rules actually held one surprise for me: the requirement to specify which ship was hit when a hit was fired. This rule causes shooter to know far too much information: by knowing that you hit a submarine instead of an aircraft carrier, you can conserve shots and not waste time hunting for a bigger ship. It's alright for kids who don't care about strategy too much, but for someone with strategy in mind, the information is way more powerful than it should be.

The Baroness found this game for me at a garage sale...honestly, this is probably the best way to buy it: a new copy costs up to $20...a garage sale can sell it to you for 50 cents. The game has been around for a VERY long time -- it's a classic, it's replayable, and it's easy to find almost anywhere in the USA.

It is a nice game to have for younger kids -- it can teach grid coordinates and search patterns to them. Older players can enjoy it for nostalgia purposes. We still like the game, and I can remember playing it over 20 years ago. It's a good classic pick for a family.

Where to buy:

Any local toy or game store. It costs about $15.

Uncle's Games link

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