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"You sunk my battleship!"

- W.J. Flywheel, Webporium Curator

BATTLESHIP

Battleship (also Battleships or Sea Battle) is a strategy type guessing game for two players. It is played on ruled grids (paper or board) on which each player's fleet of ships (including battleships) are marked.

The locations of the fleets are concealed from the other player. Players alternate turns calling "shots" at the other player's ships, and the objective of the game is to destroy the opposing player's fleet.

Battleship is known worldwide as a pencil and paper game which dates from World War I. It was published by various companies as a pad-and-pencil game in the 1930s, and was released as a plastic board game by Milton Bradley in 1967.

The game has spawned electronic versions, video games, smart device apps and a film.

The game is played on four grids, two for each player.

The grids are typically square – usually 10×10 – and the individual squares in the grid are identified by letter and number. On one grid the player arranges ships and records the shots by the opponent. On the other grid the player records their own shots.

Before play begins, each player secretly arranges their ships on their primary grid. Each ship occupies a number of consecutive squares on the grid, arranged either horizontally or vertically. The number of squares for each ship is determined by the type of the ship. The ships cannot overlap (i.e., only one ship can occupy any given square in the grid). The types and numbers of ships allowed are the same for each player. These may vary depending on the rules.

After the ships have been positioned, the game proceeds in a series of rounds. In each round, each player takes a turn to announce a target square in the opponent's grid which is to be shot at. The opponent announces whether or not the square is occupied by a ship. If it is a "hit", the player who is hit marks this on their own or "ocean" grid (with a red peg in the pegboard version). The attacking player marks the hit or miss on their own "tracking" or "target" grid with a pencil marking in the paper version of the game, or the appropriate color peg in the pegboard version (red for "hit", white for "miss"), in order to build up a picture of the opponent's fleet.

When all of the squares of a ship have been hit, the ship's owner announces the sinking of the Carrier, Submarine, Cruiser/Destroyer/Patrol Boat, or the titular Battleship. If all of a player's ships have been sunk, the game is over and their opponent wins. If all ships of both players are sunk by the end of the round, the game is a draw.

The 1990 Milton Bradley version of the rules specify the following ships:

No.

Class of ship

Size

1

Carrier

5

2

Battleship

4

3

Cruiser

3

4

Submarine

3

5

Destroyer

2

In 2002, Hasbro renamed the Cruiser as Destroyer, taking three squares, and substituted a new two-square ship called the Patrol Boat.

No.

Class of ship

Size

1

Carrier

5

2

Battleship

4

3

Destroyer

3

4

Submarine

3

5

Patrol Boat

2

The game of Battleship is thought to have its origins in the French game L'Attaque played during World War I, although parallels have also been drawn to E. I. Horsman's 1890 game Basilinda, and the game is said to have been played by Russian officers before World War I. The first commercial version of the game was Salvo, published in 1931 in the United States by the Starex company. Other versions of the game were printed in the 1930s and 1940s, including the Strathmore Company's Combat: The Battleship Game, Milton Bradley's Broadsides: A Game of Naval Strategy and Maurice L. Freedman's Warfare Naval Combat. Strategy Games Co. produced a version called Wings which pictured planes flying over the Los Angeles Coliseum. All of these early editions of the game consisted of pre-printed pads of paper.

In 1967 Milton Bradley introduced a version of the game that used plastic boards and pegs. Conceived by Ed Hutchins, play was on pegboards using miniature plastic ships. In 1977, Milton Bradley also released a computerized Electronic Battleship, followed in 1989 by Electronic Talking Battleship. In 2008, an updated version of Battleship was released, using hexagonal tiles. In the updated version, each player's board contains several islands on which "captured man" figurines can be placed. Ships may be placed only around the islands, and only in the player's half of the board. When the movie Battleship was released, the board game reverted to the original 1967 style. The 2008 updated version is still available as Battleship Islands.

Battleship was one of the earliest games to be produced as a computer game, with a version being released for the Z80 Compucolor in 1979. Many computer editions of the game have been produced since. In Clubhouse Games for the Nintendo DS, Battleship is known as Grid Attack. It is played on an 8×8 grid, and includes slight variations, such as 4-player gameplay, and various ship sizes and shapes. Versions of Battleship appear as applications on numerous social networking services.

Battleship was also part of Hasbro Family Game Night for the PlayStation 2 and Wii, as well as the Xbox 360 (Xbox Live Arcade). These alter the rules, including the size of the grid (8×12 in the NES version, 8×8 in the Game Boy version), size of ships (it is common to feature a submarine that takes up a single square) and special shot missiles for each ship. For example, in the NES version the cruiser has a five-shot missile which strikes five squares in an X pattern on the grid in one turn. Submarine-tracking sonar and aerial reconnaissance to spot ships are also features.

A minigame version of Battleship was used in the third season of The Hub's Family Game Night, which uses a 5×5 grid and the first team to sink three ships wins the game. The Hub was a 2010 joint cable TV channel venture between Discovery Channel and Hasbro to rebrand Discovery Kids. Hasbro handled programming while Discovery handled distribution and advertising sales. The Hub was intended to be a general, youth-oriented network. In 2014, Hub Network was re-branded as Discovery Family to which Hasbro remains a minority partner and programs the network's daytime lineup with children's programs carried over from Hub Network, while its prime-time lineup was replaced with reruns of non-fiction programs from Discovery Channel's library, including science and nature programs.

In 2012, the military science fiction action movie Battleship (below) was released, which was inspired by the Milton Bradley board game. A version of Battleship based on the movie was released in which one side had alien ship playing pieces.

Battleship is a 2012 American military science fiction action film loosely based on the board game of the same name. The film was directed by Peter Berg and stars Alexander Skarsgard, Taylor Kitsch, Brooklyn Decker, Rihanna, Tadanobu Asano, and Liam Neeson. Filming took place in Hawaii and on USS Missouri. In the film, the crews of a small group of warships are forced to battle against a naval fleet of extraterrestrial origin in order to thwart their destructive goals.

Battleship received mixed reviews and was a financial disappointment, making $65 million in North America against its gross of $303 million worldwide.

Filed under the Gender Stereotypes in advertising we present the original 1967 Battleship Box cover. It shows Dad and son having fun playing the game as Mom and daughter watch on in the background while scrubbing dishes. Not unusual for the time as many ads of the era depicted girls and women sitting on the sidelines while they watched boys and men doing things. Eventually, the game company replaced the box cover with a photo showing a boy and girl playing the game, and the girl appears to be winning. Later editions show a girl and boy playing with no reference to who is winning.

GAME VARIATIONS

In the 1931 Salvo edition of the game, players target a specified number of squares at one time, and all of the squares are attacked simultaneously. A player may initially target five (one for each battleship) squares per turn, and the amount of shots decreases when one of the player's ships are lost. In other variants of this mechanic, the number of shots allowed to fire each turn may either be fixed at five for the whole game, be equal to the number of unsunk ships belonging to the player, or be equal to the size of the player's largest undamaged ship. The opponent may either call the result of each shot in turn, or simply announce the hits or misses. E.g: "two hits and three misses", leaving their opponent to work out the consequences of the salvo. In the modern Milton Bradley rules for Battleship, Salvo is listed as a variation "for more experienced players", with the number of shots being equal to the number of ships that the firing player has remaining.

One variant of Battleship allows players to decline to announce that a ship has been sunk, requiring their opponent to take further shots in order to confirm that an area is clear. Another variant of the rule allows a player to move one of their ships to a new, uncalled location every fourth or fifth move.

Another variant allows multiple players and allow different shapes for the ships as long as each square of a ship touches at least one other square of that ship.

A variant popular in the United Kingdom is for each player to also have 5 mines. These occupy 1 square each and are placed on the board in the same manner as the ships. When a player's guess hits a mine on an opponent's board it destroys anything in that square and the 8 immediately surrounding squares on the board of the player making the guess.

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It is known throughout the world as a pencil and paper game and predates World War I in this form. It was invented by Clifford Von Wickler in the early 1900s, but he never patented the game and it was soon published by Milton Bradley Company in 1943 as the pad-and-pencil game "Broadsides, the Game of Naval Strategy"

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MILTON BRADLEY

Milton Bradley Company or simply Milton Bradley (MB) was an American board game manufacturer established by Milton Bradley in Springfield, Massachusetts, in 1860. In 1920, it absorbed the game production of McLoughlin Brothers, formerly the largest game manufacturer in the United States. Since 1984, it has been a division of Hasbro.

In 1860 Milton Bradley (below right) set up the state's first color lithography shop in Springfield, Massachusetts. Its graphic design of Abraham Lincoln sold very well, until Lincoln grew his beard and rendered the likeness out-of-date.

Struggling to find a new way to use his lithography machine, Bradley visited his friend George Tapley. Tapley challenged him to a game, most likely an old English game. Bradley conceived the idea of making a purely American game. He created The Checkered Game of Life, which had players move along a track from Infancy to Happy Old Age, in which the point was to avoid Ruin and reach Happy Old Age. Squares were labeled with moral positions from honor and bravery to disgrace and ruin. Players used a spinner instead of dice because of the negative association with gambling.

By spring of 1861, over 45,000 copies of The Checkered Game of Life had been sold. Bradley became convinced board games were his company's future.

When the American Civil War broke out in early 1861, Bradley temporarily gave up making board games and tried to make new weaponry. However, upon seeing bored soldiers stationed in Springfield, Bradley began producing small games which the soldiers could play during their down time. These are regarded as the first travel games in the country. These games included chess, checkers, backgammon, dominoes, and "The Checkered Game of Life." They were sold for one dollar a piece to soldiers and charitable organizations, which bought them in bulk to distribute.

The Milton Bradley Company took a new direction in 1869 after Milton Bradley went to hear a lecture about the kindergarten movement by early education pioneer, Elizabeth Peabody (avove right). Peabody promoted the philosophy of the German scholar Friedrich Froebel. Froebel stated that through education children learn and develop through creative activities. Bradley would spend much of the rest of his life promoting the kindergarten movement both personally and through the Milton Bradley Company. His company began manufacturing educational items such as colored papers and paints and he gave many of these materials away free of charge, which hurt the company financially. Due to the Long Depression of the late 1870s, his investors told him either his kindergarten work must go or they would go. Bradley chose to keep his kindergarten work. His friend George Tapley bought the interest of the lost investors and took over as president of the Milton Bradley Company.

Milton Bradley was an early advocate of Friedrich Froebel's (left) idea of Kindergarten. Springfield's first kindergarten students were Milton Bradley's two daughters, and the first teachers in Springfield were Milton, his wife and his father. Milton Bradley's company's involvement with kindergartens began with the production of "gifts," the term used by Froebel for the geometric wooden play things that he felt were necessary to properly structure children's creative development. Bradley spent months devising the exact shades in which to produce these materials; his final choice of six pigments of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet would remain the standard colors for children's art supplies through the 20th century.

By the 1870s, the company was producing dozens of games and capitalizing on fads. Milton Bradley became the first manufacturer in America to make croquet sets. The sets included wickets, mallets, balls, stakes, and an authoritative set of rules to play by that Bradley himself had created from oral tradition and his own sense of fair play. In 1880, the company began making jigsaw puzzles.

The company's educational supplies turned out to be a large portion of their income at the turn of the century. They produced supplies any grade school teacher could use, such as toy money, multiplication sticks, and movable clock dials. Milton Bradley continued producing games, particularly parlor games played by adults. They produced "Visit to the Gypsies," "Word Gardening," "Happy Days in Old New England," and "Fortune Telling." They also created jigsaw puzzles of wrecked vehicles, which were popular among young boys.

When Milton Bradley died in 1911, the company was passed to Robert Ellis, who passed it to Bradley's son-in-law Robert Ingersoll, who eventually passed it to George Tapley's son, William. In 1920, Bradley bought out McLoughlin Brothers, which went out of business after John McLoughlin's death.

Milton Bradley began to decline in the 1920s and fell dramatically in the 1930s during the Great Depression. Fewer people were spending money on board games. The company kept losing money until 1940, when they sank too low and banks demanded payment on loans.

Desperate to avoid bankruptcy, the board of directors persuaded James J. Shea (top right), a Springfield businessman, to take over presidency of the company. Shea immediately moved to decrease the company's debt. He began a major renovation of the Milton Bradley plant by burning old inventory that had been accumulating since the turn of the century.

With the outbreak of World War II, Milton Bradley started producing a universal joint created by Shea used on the landing gear of fighter planes. They also reproduced a revised version of their game kits for soldiers, which earned the company $2 million. Milton Bradley did not stop creating board games, although they did cut their line from 410 titles to 150. New games were introduced during this time, such as the patriotic Game of the States, Chutes & Ladders and Candyland.

The advent of the television could have threatened the industry, but Shea used it to his advantage. Various companies acquired licenses to television shows for the purpose of producing all manner of promotional items including games. In 1959, Milton Bradley released Concentration, a memory game based on an NBC television show of the same name; the game was such a success that editions were issued annually into 1982, long after the show was cancelled in 1973 (similar practices were used for box game adaptations of the game shows Password and Jeopardy!).

Milton Bradley celebrated their centennial in 1960 with the re-release of The Checkered Game of Life, which was modernized. It was now simply called The Game of Life and the goal was no longer to reach Happy Old Age, but to become a millionaire. Twister made its debut in the 1960s as well. Thanks to Johnny Carson's suggestive comments as Eva Gabor played the game on his show, Twister became a phenomenon. In the 1960s, Milton Bradley games were licensed in Australia by John Sands Pty Ltd.

In 1967, James Shea Jr. (bottom right) took over as president of Milton Bradley (becoming CEO in 1968) succeeding his father. During his presidency, Milton Bradley bought Playskool Mfg. Co. the E.S. Lowe Company, makers of Yahtzee, and Body Language.

During the 1970s and 1980s, electronic games became popular. Milton Bradley released Simon in 1978, which was fairly late in the movement. By 1980, it was their best-selling item.

In 1979, Milton Bradley also developed the first hand-held cartridge-based console, the Microvision.

In 1983, seeing the potential in the new Vectrex vector-based video game console, the company purchased General Consumer Electronics (GCE). Both the Vectrex and the Microvision were designed by Jay Smith.

During the late 1980s and early 1990s, Milton Bradley marketed a series of games (such as HeroQuest and Battle Masters) in North America that were developed in the United Kingdom by Games Workshop (GW) that drew heavily from GW's Warhammer Fantasy universe, albeit without explicit reference to the Warhammer product line.

In 1984, Hasbro bought out Milton Bradley ending 124 years of family ownership. The 1990s saw the release of Gator Golf, Crack the Case, Mall Madness, and 1313 Dead End Drive.

In 1991, Hasbro acquired Milton Bradley's former arch-rival Parker Brothers. In 1998, Milton Bradley merged with Parker Brothers to form Hasbro Games. After the consolidation, Milton Bradley and Parker Brothers turned into brands of Hasbro before being both dropped in 2009 in favor of the parent company's name, since adjusted to Hasbro Gaming.

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