Battleship Rules – All Your Questions Answered

Last updated on September 14th, 2022 at 08:47 pm

*This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

Last updated on September 14th, 2022 at 08:47 pm

Battleship is one of the most popular games of all time. The game was inspired by and launched after the First World War to be played using a simple notepad and pencils. 

But its growing popularity in the following decades turned it into a board game, a puzzle, several video games, and even a film. 

These days, dedicated players of the game all over the world also compete in official competitions to prove their skills and love of the game.

The rules of the basic gameplay for Battleship have remained the same since the 1930s. Whether you’re playing the game with papers and pencils or on a board, the rules remain the same. 

If you want to play the popular game but don’t know where to start, below are all the rules you need to know. 

How Many Players Can Play Battleship At A Time? 

A game of Battleship can only be played among two players at a given time. Conceivably you could have two people on each team (so four people could play) but that isn’t necessary. 

How Many Ships Does Each Player Get? 

Each player gets five ships, namely the Carrier, Battleship, Cruiser, Submarine, and Destroyer. These ships vary in size. 

The Carrier is the biggest ship and occupies five grid spaces. The Battleship occupies four grid spaces. The Cruiser and Submarine are equal in size and occupy three grid spaces each. 

The Destroyer is the smallest ship in the game and occupies only two grid spaces.

What Rules Should You Follow When Setting Up The Placement Of Your Ships? 

Battleship has strict rules about the placement of the vessels. 

Ships can only be played horizontally or vertically on the board or the paper. They are not allowed to be laid diagonally. 

Each ship is also required to cover the number of grids it requires. Two ships can’t share a single grid square either. They can, however, touch each other without sharing a grid square. 

Ships cannot hang off the edges of the sea space either. You also can’t change the placement of the ships once the game begins.

Can The Players Look At Each Other’s Ship Placement? 

The players cannot and should not look at each other’s ship placement. If a player tries to look at their opponent’s ship placement, they would be cheating. 

It might help them win the game quickly, but it will also lead to them missing out on all the fun of playing the game.

Are Battleship Players Required To Have Similar Coordinates? 

While the board game sets come with identical coordinates for both players, those playing with pen and paper should also have the same coordinates. 

If they don’t, the game will lose its fun and excitement.

What Are The Rules Of Setting Up Battleship Coordinates? 

The basic gameplay is divided into a space of 100 grid squares. The grid rows are represented by alphabetical letters  starting from letters A through J, and the columns are represented by numbers from 1 to 10. 

When divided, the grid spaces get assigned with individual coordinates containing a letter and a number each.

Can Battleship Players Expand The Coordinates? 

Players can certainly expand the space and the coordinates if they’re playing Battleship with paper and pencils (assuming they both agree to it before the game begins). However, expanding the space and coordinates too much can make the game difficult instead of challenging. 

Even advanced players like to limit the space to 26×26 grid spaces with rows represented by letters A through Z and columns by numbers 1 to 26.

Can Battleship Players Modify The Game By Making Their Own Rules? 

There’s nothing stopping two players from modifying their gameplay if they both agree. However, changing existing Battleship rules or introducing new ones can interfere with the basic rules of gameplay.

An optional rule popular among advanced players that doesn’t change the basic gameplay is called the rule of salvo. 

When players add this rule to their gameplay, the number of coordinates they can hit in a turn decreases as their number of ships goes down as well.

For example, let’s say that two players begin playing Battleship by deciding to call out five coordinates in every turn. Later, as one player manages to hit one of their opponent’s ships completely and sink it, the number of coordinates their opponent can call out will be reduced from 5 to 4. 

Meanwhile, the player who took the ship down will continue to enjoy calling out five coordinates in each turn.

 As the game continues and the player manages to take down three ships of their opponent, the number of coordinates the opponent will be called out will be reduced to only 2.

In short, the rule of salvo makes the number of coordinates a player can call out during their turn depend on the number of ships they have hit. 

This rule applies to both players involved in the game.

On the other hand, expanding the grid spaces and the number of ships does not count as bending the rules. It is done by players who like to play a game for longer.

Can I Hide It From My Opponent If My Ship Is Hit Or Sunk? 

Your opponent has no way of knowing if your ship is hit or not except if you are being honest. If you are not honest during the game, your opponent will eventually know, and they will not play with you again. 

Since you cannot play the game by yourself, you should not hide the status of your ships from your opponent. That means you should not lie about a ship being hit and you should tell the player if the ship has been sunk. 

What Is The Most Important Rule When Playing Battleship?

The most important rule to remember while playing 

Battleship is to play it honestly. Opponents should be honest about their ships being hit or missed by enemy attacks. 

Cheating during the game by lying about a ship not being hit or changing the ship’s placement after the game begins is not only unfair but makes the game far less fun for you and your opponent. 

Battleship is fun because the rules are simple yet require the player to be strategic. You can keep practicing the game by applying different strategies and learning what works and what doesn’t. 

Last updated on September 14th, 2022 at 08:47 pm

Matthew R

Hi, My name is Matt and I am all about toys! When trying to find accurate information online about toys I was finding it difficult so I decided to make this site.

Recent Posts