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Game Review

The classic game of battlefield strategy

Ages 10 and up
Milton Bradley
Game © 1986 Milton Bradley Co.
The start of the battle!
Uncle's Games link

2 Players30+ minutes


Two equal strength armies meet on the battlefield. The goal is to capture the enemy's flag. Spies, Scouts, Bombs and soldiers will fight -- but even the weakest piece has its advantages.


The setup of the board is very important in Stratego. When placing their army, each player must decide three things: First, where to hide the flag; Second, which pieces should defend the flag; and Third, which pieces should attack the enemy.

Most pieces have a number ranging from 1 to 9. In a fight, the lower number always wins -- if there is a tie, both pieces are removed. So, the piece with the number 1 (the Marshall) is very strong and won't lose often in a fight -- and a 9 (a scout) is at the mercy of every piece.

There are a few other pieces that are on the board that don't have numbers. There is the Flag --the object to be defended -- there are bombs, which destroy any piece that touch them (except an 8), and there is a Spy marked by an "S". Bombs and Flags cannot move, but a Spy has a special value. Spies can kill the Marshall (the #1), but if any other piece finds the spy, the spy loses the fight.

Two other pieces have special abilities -- as noted above, an 8 (a Miner) can defuse bombs; And a 9 (Scout) can move any number of spaces in a straight line on one turn and still attack (a good way to discover where your enemy's strong forces are hidden.)

All of the other pieces can move 1 space forward, backward, left or right -- no diagonal movement is allowed.

The Red Army moves first. Players alternate moves, attacking each other and repositioning their forces until a flag is captured.

a closeup of the pieces

Winning Conditions:

  • The player who captures his/her opponent's flag first wins.

game in play

Our Opinion:

Thumbs Up!Stratego is a simplified chess game -- combined with a memory game. It's very easy to learn and fun to play over and over.

This game has two main focuses in order to win -- first, you must set your pieces up so that you can win, and second, you have to hope that your opponent doesn't cut through your defenses before you can get your attack going. Playing this game will really let you learn about your opponent's strategic thinking patterns. For instance, the first time that I played this game against the Baroness, I played an unusual tactic of placing my flag in an under-defended area and fooled her into attacking a heavily guarded area far away from the flag. Of course, the next time we played, she massacred my army when I attempted a similar tactic. I couldn't fool her a second time.

Stratego is a quick and fun two player game. It isn't as cerebral as chess, but it gets your brain into a good strategy-development mindset. Both the Baronness and I enjoyed this game as children and we still enjoy it now. This is a good game for families and other events when you can only get two players.

Where to buy:

Any local toy store including K-mart, Target, WalMart, etc.

Uncle's Games link

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