How to play Battleship?

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In this article, I will introduce you to the basic rules of the board game Battleship and show you how to play. The object of the game is to be the first player to sync all their opponent’s ships.


Each board has two grids the ocean grid and the targeting grid. Sit across from one another and raise your lids so neither player can see the other player’s ocean grid. Now each player places their five ships anywhere on their ocean grid horizontally or vertically. The ships may not be positioned diagonally nor may any part of the ship be off the grid.


Alternating turns one at the time, players attack each other by calling out a position on their targeting grid by matching a row and column (for example d4). The defender then looks at their corresponding coordinate on his ocean grid. If space is empty he replies miss, the attacker puts a white peg into this position on their targeting grid. If space has a ship on it he replies with a hit then must specify which ship was hit. The attacker then puts a red peg into the position on his targeting grid. Additionally, the defender puts a red peg into the space of the ship that the attacker hit.

Once all the holes in a ship are filled it has been sunk the owner of the ship must announce when this has happened. The first player to sink all their opponent’s ships wins.


For a more challenging variation of the game on each attacking player’s turn call out five different shots on your targeting grid and mark each one with a white peg as it’s called. Once you’ve finished the defender announces which shots were hits. Change those corresponding white pegs to red ones whenever one of your ships has been sunk. You lose one shot during your attacking turn so if you’re down to your last ship you only get one shot per turn.

To make the game even more challenging don’t tell your attacker which ship has been hit. All the other rules remain the same and the first player to sync all their opponent ships wins. is an affiliate. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
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