Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Shuffle Battleships

Whilst I was in Waterstones a few days ago, I bought a card game entitled BATTLESHIP.

It appeared to be a card-based version of the traditional paper-and-pencil game and although I could not imagine when I might use it, I thought that the component parts might be of use.

Inside the box were eighty eight playing cards split into two colours, red and blue. Each colour has:
  • Twelve coordinate cards (five are ships cards [an aircraft carrier, a battleship, a destroyer, a motor torpedo boat, and a submarine] and seven are 'miss' cards)
  • Thirty destruction cards (ten white 'peg' cards, twelve red 'peg' cards [seven with one 'peg', four with two 'pegs', and one with four 'pegs'], and eight 'power' cards), and
  • Two reference cards.
Play appears to be quite simple. Before the game starts each player chooses a colour, and then separates their coordinate cards and destruction cards into two separate decks. Each deck is then shuffled, and the coordinate cards are placed face down in a 3 x 4 grid in front of them. They then take the top five cards from their destruction card deck ... which is shown below with the portentous name 'Deck of Destruction'!

One player goes first. (The rules state that this should be the youngest ... but as an aged curmudgeon I object to this sort of ageist tosh!). They select a card from their hand and play it. Once the card is played a replacement card is taken from the top of their destruction deck, and the used card is placed in a discard pile.

Players can use white 'peg' cards to search for enemy ships. They choose which of the enemy coordinate cards they wish to turn over, play the white 'peg' card, and the enemy's card is turned over to reveal what is there. A white 'peg' card cannot normally do any damage to an enemy ship unless it is a submarine, in which case the 'peg' card is placed under the coordinate card and not onto the discard pile.

Red 'peg' cards can be used to search for enemy ships and to damage them. It is played in exactly the same way as a white 'peg' card except that if an enemy ship is revealed, damage is caused and the 'peg' card is placed under the coordinate card and not onto the discard pile. Once an enemy ship is revealed, further red 'peg' cards can be played in future turns to sink it. (The number of 'peg' cards required to sink a ship are shown on its ship card.)

Players can use 'power' cards to:
  • 'Shield' a ship (i.e. help prevent further damage to an already damaged ship)
  • Discard a white 'peg' card from their hand so that they can draw another card from their destruction deck or play two more cards this turn
  • Repair a ship (i.e. remove a 'peg' card from one of their damaged ships) and play another card from their hand this turn or draw three more cards from their destruction deck (thus increasing the size of their hand) of which they must play one.
Each type of ship has special powers as well. For example once a player's destroyer is revealed, all further white 'peg' cards that player uses can cause damage to enemy ships in the same way that red 'peg' cards do.

I suspect that the game will prove to be quite subtle when played and not quite as simplistic as it at first appears to be. As to the components ... well I suspect that they might well have their uses.


  1. There might be some entertaining posts coming up on the back of this purchase!


    1. Prufrock (Aaron),

      We shall see ... we shall see ...

      All the best,


  2. I have this game, it can be fun to play with my kids. I suspect the "youngest player goes first" rule is an admission that the first to go has a distinct advantage in the course of he game.
    The cards could be a nice resource for creating a different game. I'm looking forward to whatever you come up with.

    1. Mr. Pavone,

      Your explanation of the 'youngest player goes first' rule makes perfect sense.

      I have one or two ideas about how to use the cards in a naval wargame ... but it might require another pack of cards.

      All the best,