Board Game of the Week- Battleship (Salvo Rules)

  • Game Title: Battleship
  • Release Date: 1931
  • Number of Players: 2
  • Average Game Time: 30 minutes
  • Game Publisher: Milton Bradley
  • Website: https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/2425/battleship
  • Game Designer: Antoine Bauza
  • Expansions/Alternates: Yes
  • Available in Stores: Yes (newer versions only)

It’s not that often that I choose to delve into games from the 30’s for a Board Game of the Week, mostly because the assumption is that if a game has been around for over 80 years, it’s not exactly new and so it’s harder to write interesting stories. Battleship would seem to be one of those types of games; pretty much anybody from my childhood, my parents’ childhood, and even my grandparents’ childhood has played the game or at least knows of its existence. One of the games that has withstood the test of time, multiple different versions and reiterations of Battleship have been created to keep the game popular through the decades. I had an anniversary Battleship as well as a Star Wars Battleship when I was a kid, so I’ve known the basic rules for a long time and remember them to this day.

Star Wars Gaactic Battle

For a while I have felt that Battleship is one of those games that is fun, but there isn’t too much variety to it. Luckily for me, when I pulled out my classic Battleship game and played a few rounds with my sister’s fiancé I was introduced to a whole new way of playing Battleship; the Salvo rules variation.

Salvo is a great example of a rules variation helping make a good game great. Salvo is actually listed as a recommended game type in the Battleship rulebook for advanced players, but the rules are fairly simple so you don’t have to be a master to play. The salvo rules are the same as regular Battleship rules, except that instead of one shot per round a
player gets one shot for every ship they have. This means that at the start of the game you have five shots, and as time goes by and you lose ships you Battleship board gameget less and less until you lose all of your ships. If on any of your shots you hit a ship, your opponent must tell you where you hit and what ship it was. This speeds up the game significantly and also provides an added layer of strategy for when you’ve hit someone. Ultimately it’s a simple change, but it provides better results in my opinion compared to the traditional version. There is an element of luck to it because if you lose a ship early and have less shots to work with you are at a big disadvantage, but from the times I have played salvo I found that it stayed pretty even no matter how the first few games started solely due to the volume of opportunities to get a hit on your opponent.
Another version of the Battleship game with an added layer of complexity is the advanced salvo variation, which includes the same rules as salvo except when a player gets a hit the opponent doesn’t say which shot hit or what ship they hit, and only says the number of times they hit in that round. This is a significantly harder style of play and requires paper and abattleship pieces pencil available because you will need to write down as much information as possible each turn to help figure out which of your shots was a hit. For example, if on your first turn you choose A2, B7, H5, G9, and A10 as your five shots and your opponent tells you that you hit twice, that’s not a lot of information to go on. If you don’t keep a record of the hits and do some experimenting to figure out where those hits came from, it will be impossible for you to keep track of everything as the game progresses. This type of game can be a lot of fun if you play it right, but can also be very frustrating if you don’t keep organized and use your shots wisely.

Ultimately Battleship was a fun game by itself, but playing the Salvo or Advanced Salvo version is a good way to try something new with an older game. For those of you who haven’t played the salvo rules, I recommend picking up your old copy or buying a new one and giving it a shot (no pun intended).

battleship-board-game

Jack’s Rating (salvo): 4/5 stars

Jack’s Rating (advanced salvo): 4.5/5 stars

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A Blast from the Past

All Board Games

This Christmas vacation, like the ones before it, has had a lot of fun surprises in store for me once I drove up to see my family. I’ve been to a cool Pittsburgh museum, had lunch at a church converted into a restaurant, saw a University of Pitt basketball game, and have gotten some much needed R&R in the process. One of the coolest surprises, however, came in the form of a large box my Grandfather handed to me my first day in PA. This box contained a large number of games for me to add to my collection.

For some background on this: my Grandpa recently sold his condo in Florida and was working hard packing everything up to take to his house in PA for Christmas. A lot of unneeded items were donated, and unusable ones were discarded, but he was always keeping an eye out for useful things he could give his relatives. He also was aware that I write this blog, so one day in November he called me up and asked if I had any use for his old board games. As I’ve discussed before in my post about old school vs. new school games, I have always enjoyed older games and like the idea of owning originals of some of the more popular ones. Remembering that I used to play original versions of Monopoly and the Game of Life at his condo when I was young, I told him that I would be happy to take those games off of his hands.

Fast forward to the present, and the box I was given was much larger and heavier than I originally expected. I open it up and to my surprise, it’s a large stack of older and newer games in all shapes and sizes! Grandpa gave me over a dozen different games, including some staples of the gaming industry as well as some games from my childhood. I’ve been delving into the games periodically throughout the trip and have found some gems, including but not limited to:

  • An original copy of Monopoly
  • An original copy of The Game of Life
  • An original copy of Battleship
  • An original copy of Parcheesi
  • Block-building games such as Blockhead!, Ta-Ka-Radi tiles, and Lincoln Logs
  • Slightly newer games like Hoopla and Tiddley Winks
  • Games I don’t remember and haven’t seen before, but am looking forward to trying out!

I’ve already gotten a chance to play a few rounds of Battleship with my sister’s fiancée, and plan on trying out some more along with newer additions to my collection the rest of the week. Needless to say, I’m extremely thankful to have such a kind-hearted Grandpa, and I can’t wait to put these games to good use!

Old School versus New School board games

Old School vs. New School comment below

As a 24-year-old, many people have told me that I’m now considered a “responsible adult.” What this means to me is that I pay my own bills, do my own laundry, deal with any issues that come up in my life, and, most importantly, talk about how older stuff is way better than newer stuff. While I begrudgingly deal with the first three parts of adulthood, there is something to be said about the era so eloquently dubbed as “the old school”; it’s got some pretty cool stuff. Board games are a great example of that. Classic games like Monopoly, Trivial Pursuit, and Yahtzee are some of the most fun games you can play. Families in particular like playing older games because it’s a good way to bond with older relatives and spend a brief moment in time learning about and understanding the past. Nostalgia runs rampant for me whenever I pull out the Game of Life, which my Dad emphatically dubbed “The Game of Death” after losing to me time and time again. These games were extremely important to my development as a child, so they will always hold a special place in my heart.

All that being said, older games aren’t the only ones with merit. As amazing as the classics are to play, there really is something special about trying out a new board game for the first time. It’s youth personified: the joy of unwrapping the game, learning the rules, and trying to get every advantage you can to win against your friends. And there’s no doubt about it, popular new games are extremely inventive and have an extremely high replay value. I’m confident that in 50+ years, games like Kings of New York and Quirkle will be just as engaging as they are now. The reason that board games are being revitalized isn’t just about the people, or the era we live in; it’s also the new board games and how impressive they have become. Ultimately I have to credit this blog to new board games, because if they didn’t hit the scene I honestly believe that there would significantly less interest in these types of games.

So do I prefer the old school or the new school? My best response to that is “ask me when I’m older.” Because right now, I can’t consider myself a true board game enthusiast without having both types of games at my disposal. Is that a cop out? Probably. Do I expect this opinion to change any time soon? Probably not. But it’s pointless for me to sit here and say that I like one game type more than the other because I like all of them so much. So when you’re sitting down for board game night with whomever you spend your evenings, whether you’re playing Risk or Myth, Sorry or Munchkin, Scrabble or Bananagrams, the year the game was made doesn’t matter. All that matters is that you enjoy it in the present.

So because I’m stuck on the fence, I’m going to let you all decide! Leave a comment below about which types of board game you prefer.