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Subject: Gaming with children - Battleship rss

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Sharon Khan
United Kingdom
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Games, games and more games!

This review is part of my series of reviews of how games have worked with my children, now aged 6, 8 and 10. For the full list see: My children's game reviews - children aged between 2 and 12.

Fun Components:

Little plastic ships, and lots of plastic pegs in two colours that you have to fit into holes as you fire at your opponent's ships! This game definitely scores highly in the fun components stakes. I have a paper pad of grids, but the children always want to play with the plastic set instead - much more fun!

Simplicity of rules:

There's nothing hard in this game. Read out a grid reference of a ship, and your opponent will let you know whether it's a hit or a miss, and if the ship is sunk. Young children might have some confusion with the dual board (certainly my 6 year old keeps trying to look at the wrong board), but a few plays and they rapidly get the idea. Even the "ships can't be placed diagonally adjacent" rule is easy with a plastic set, as the plastic ships can't physically be placed next to each other diagonally!


Obviously there is a high degree of randomness to this game, but there is still some thought required, in terms of planning out an effective search pattern when sending out the original hits. It's not deep strategy, but it does still teach the children to think things through, and it is noticeable that older children automatically try better search patterns, thinking about lengths of ships, whereas younger children naturally pick less optimal spaces.

Did the children enjoy it?

This has never been an "every day" favourite, and the fact that it's only 2 player doesn't work well with 3 children - naturally by choice they will always pick multiplayer games - but it still has had a reasonable number of plays, and the children enjoy the game when it does come out (although if one player/team gets too far ahead in sinking ships, there is sometimes frustration from the other side). Our set, being a travel set, has quite fiddly pieces, and both the younger two do get slightly frustrated at times with the fiddly pegs and prefer to play with an older person who can help them with that.

And how is it from the adult's point of view?

Battleship is a fun activity to play with children, but I have to say that it wouldn't generally be my first choice of game to play with them. In a travel situation though, where the game selection is more limited and larger board games are impossible, I can see this getting regular play.
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