Battleship: more than just a game

IMG_3554Nolan recently received Battleship as a gift for his 6th birthday and despite thoroughly enjoying it the one time he’s played it, he hasn’t played it again. Yet. But watching a six-year-old play this game (quite terribly at times), it struck me as more than a game.

It was the first time I’d seen the game being played in quite sometime. If I recall, it used to be electronic, but this version is probably better – two separate boards and no batteries.

IMG_3604Besides Nolan having loads of fun and being giddy with excitement playing this game, he was also learning things, despite him not even knowing.

  • Graphing and plotting points. Though he won’t learn about the x- and y-axis for a little while, he has seen graph paper. Each board has two 10×10 grids – one for placing your ships and one is for the “shots” you take at your opponents’. If you select C-7 as a target, you have to plot this point on the grid. Most graphs contain a key, and Battleship would be no different – red = hit, white = miss. So yeah, math.
  • Decision making and predicting. When it’s your turn, you guess where your opponents ships are and depending on hit or miss, determine where your next move is.
  • Memory. You have to remember to plot the point when you guess (and when your opponent “hits” one of your ships), otherwise you might miss out on part of the pattern.
  • Naval ships. You learn different types of Naval ships and their relative size to one another. Despite the game’s moniker, the Battleship (4 pegs) is not the largest ship – it’s second only to the the Carrier (5 pegs). The Destroyer (3 pegs), Submarine (3 pegs), and Patrol Boat (2 pegs and the bane of everyone playing this game).
  • Taking turns. You go then I go. That’s how most board games are played. Take turns, kids.
  • Winning and losing. Unlike some games (I think?), someone wins and someone loses. As weird as this sounds, you’ve got to teach kids that in life they won’t win at everything.

So maybe during nap time for the littler two guys this weekend, we’ll break out Battleship and go head-to-head!

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