Battleship Wiki

Battleship (also called Battleships and Sea Battle) is a two player guessing game. The game itself appears to predate at least World War I, but it's unknown just how far back people have been playing many different variations. It started off as a pencil and paper game until it was released by the Milton Bradley Company as physical board game in 1967. The game is now produced and sold by Hasbro.

The popular Battleship board game was inspiration for the 2012 film adaptation starring Liam Neeson.


Battleship Brand Timeline

  • 1943 - Milton Bradley published "Broadsides, the Game of Naval Strategy", a pad-and-pencil predecessor of Battleship.
  • 1967 - Milton Bradley's board game version of Battleship is released.
  • 1977 - Electronic Battleship debuts, adding sound and giving the players the ability to program their ships' locations.
  • 1985 - A commercial airs featuring the line "You sunk my battleship!" which remains a popular phrase to this day.
  • 1998 - Battleship is featured in the Seinfeld episode "The Maid".
  • 1999 - "You sunk my battleship!" can be heard in an episode of The Simpsons.
  • 2002 - Battleship: Star Wars edition is released, with spaceships instead of naval ships. Players can fight as the Galactic or Republic sides.
  • 2009 - EA launches the Battleship app for the iPhone.
  • 2011 - EA launches the Battleship app for the iPad, and it becomes #1 board game in the app store for the month of June.
  • 2012 - KRE-O Battleship sets are released, including a 545 piece USS Missouri set.
  • 2012 - The Battleship video game is released.
  • 2012 - The Battleship film makes its debut in theaters.
  • 2019 - The game is still rocking
  • 2021 - Big amount of activity and purchases as a result of COVID-19.


Battleship (classic)[]


One game board with two grids, five ships, and a number of hit and miss markers.


To sink all of your opponent's ships by correctly guessing their locations before your opponent sinks all of yours.


Players receive a board with one grid, one of each type of ship, and a sufficient number of hit and miss markers.

Before play begins, each player must secretly arrange their ships on the lower grid.


  1. Ships must be placed horizontally or vertically (never diagonally) across grid spaces, and can't hang over the outer grid boundary.
  2. Ships may not share a space with another ship.
  3. Players must arrange ships and record the shots made by their opponent on the lower grid, while recording their own shots on the upper grid.
  4. Players must take turns, with each player's turn consisting of announcing a target square in the opponent's grid which is to be shot at.
  5. If a ship occupies the square, the owner of the ship must announce a "hit." Likewise, if no ship occupies the square, the player must inform of a "miss."
  6. When all of the squares of a ship have been hit, the ship is sunk.
  7. Players must announce to their opponent each time one of their ships is sunk. (Example: "You sunk my Battleship!")
  8. The winner is the first player to sink their opponent's ships before all of their own are sunk.

Gameplay Variations:[]

For the "Salvo" variation, each player may take as many shots in one turn as that player has ships remaining afloat. The starting player announces all five shots, then the opponent announces which if any are hits. Each player has as many shots in each turn as that player has vessels afloat. Thus, each time a player's ship is sunk, that player has one fewer shot in all subsequent turns. In some versions the aircraft carrier is allowed two shots.

In addition to "Salvo", another game variation is that if player gets a hit, the same player takes another turn. The player will keep calling consecutive shots until it misses, meaning the next player will call the next shot.


There are two typical complements of ships, as given in the Milton Bradley version of the rules:

Type of ship Length
Aircraft Carrier 5
Battleship 4
Submarine 3
Cruiser 3
Destroyer 2

Salvo (pen and paper)[]

Salvo pen-paper printable 8

Printable version


(assumes the use of the printable grid sheet provided >)

  1. Arrange your ships on the "YOUR SHIPS" grid according to the "FLEET" table.
  2. Take turns firing a salvo at your enemy, calling out squares as "A3, B3, etc."
    A "salvo" = 1 shot from each of your remaining ships.
  3. Mark your salvos fired on the "ENEMY SHIPS" grid. ([/] marks water, [X] marks hit)
  4. You must announce when one of your ships is completely sunk.
  5. The winner is the player who sinks all of their enemy's ships.

Board Game versions[]

The original 1967 version remained largely unchanged for its first ten years, but in 1977 Milton Bradley released "Electronic Battleship,"[1] followed in 1989 by "Electronic Talking Battleship."[2]

A new and updated hexagonally tiled version of Battleship was released in 2010, in which each player's board contains several islands where "captured man" figurines can be placed. Ships may not be placed on islands, and may only reside on the player's own half of the board.


Video Game Version[]

There also have been multiple versions of Battleship released on the PC, such as Battleship: Fleet Command.[3]== Hasbro's online site currently endorses a free version of Battleship through - available HERE.[4]

Battleship was also part of Hasbro Family Game Night for the PlayStation 2 and Wii, as well as the Xbox 360 via "Xbox Live Arcade." These versions alter the rules, and indeed the size of the grid (8×12 in the NES version, 8×8 in the Game Boy version). Additionally, the size of the ships have been changed (for instance, a submarine that occupies a single square) and various special shot missiles have been introduced for each ship.

In "Clubhouse Games" for the Nintendo DS, Battleship can be found under the title "Grid Attack" and is played on an 8×8 grid. This version features some slight variations, such as accommodating 4-player gameplay, more varied ship sizes and shapes, as well as an option to make the ships touch each other.

On April 20th, 2012, Battleship was released as a video game alongside the 2012 Battleship film.


  • "Fleet Battle" - Android, iPhone, Windows Phone
  • "King Of The Sea" - Windows Phone
  • "Naval Strike" - iPhone
  • "Naval Clash" and "Naval Combat" - Android
  • "Advanced Mission" - Amiga, Atari ST, Commodore 64, and ZX Spectrum
  • "Risk / Battleship / Clue" (combo pack) - Game Boy Advance
  • "Super Battleship" - SNES
  • "Battleship / Connect Four / Sorry! / Trouble" (combo pack) - Nintendo DS
  • "Monopoly / Boggle / Yahtzee / Battleship" (combo pack) - Nintendo DS
  • Battleship (2012) - PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii, Nintendo DS, and Nintendo 3DS
  • Planes Android - - Battleships game where the ships are planes.

Battleship Internationally[]


In India, a slightly different version of Battleship is played. Instead of announcing whether a shot is a hit or miss immediately, the players are only required to announce how many of their opponent's three shots were hits, and on which kind of vessel(s). This provides more strategy in the game and moves away from players' dependence on pure luck. In this variation there is a new importance on keeping track of which turn a player scores a hit on something. The Indian version also uses a slightly different ship set:

Type of ship Length
Aircraft Carrier 5
(in a 'T' shape)
Battleship 5
Destroyer 3
Destroyer 3
Submarine 2
Submarine 2

Feature film[]

Main article: Battleship (film)

In 2009 it was announced that there were plans for a feature film based on the game. Peter Berg is set to direct for Universal Studios, with the brother team of Jon and Erich Hoeber writing the script. A release date of August 5th, 2011 was originally set, but this was pushed back to May 25, 2012. The release date was later moved again to its current, commonly stated date of May 18, 2012, though some promotional posters vaguely read "SUMMER 2012."



  • A commercial for a Battleship-style game can be seen in the film Robocop.
  • Singer Robyn Fenty, more commonly known as Rihanna, is set to play a supporting role in the upcoming feature film.
  • Using dynamic programming, it has been determined that the number of ways that a player can set up their board is 30,093,975,536 , where the two length 3 ships are considered to be distinguishable. If a rule is introduced, that no two ships may be adjacent, not horizontally, vertically or diagonally), then the total number of ways to set up the board is 1,925,751,392 , where the two ships of length three are considered to be indistinguishable.
  • Since 1967, the Battleship board game has sold more than 100 million copies.
  • More than 155 million Battleship game pieces are created by Hasbro every year. Lined end to end, this would stretch over 1,500 kilometers, or the length of approximately 5,300 "Iowa Class" Battleships.
  • Battleship is produced in 29 languages and sold in more than 40 countries.


External links[]