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Reimagining Classic Battleship: Now With 100% More Aliens And Electronic Enhancement
on May 23, 2012
As a child, I was somewhat of a board game addict. To exemplify just how uncool I was, my brother and I used to hold a game Olympics in which we'd crown a champion of every individual game we owned. Battleship, of course, has been a staple in households since it debuted as a Milton Bradley board game in 1967. It has certainly withstood the test of time, but like every creation has faced several updates or new incarnations through the years. Of course, synergistic marketing being what it is--you couldn't expect a Battleship film not to be accompanied by a Battleship movie tie-in game. Personally, I'd prefer if studios had more imagination than to co-opt something as silly as a game (with no plot) to be their next potential blockbuster. But my cynicism about opportunism aside, this is a review of the Deluxe Battleship game.
Game Design: In terms of appearance and design, this is actually a pretty nice set-up. It does require a bit of assembly and there are stickers to affix, but once you've gotten established--it's a slick and dynamic looking game. The primary playing surface is a sturdy plastic unit that unfolds and stands in a pyramid-like formation. As in the original, the bottom screen allows you to view your battleships while the top allows you to track where you've attacked your opponent. In between is a programming console with the buttons utilized in game play.
Game Play: As this is a movie tie-in, it necessarily follows the themes of the movie. Hence, one side plays the Navy and one side plays alien forces. This concept adds nothing to the actual game. Instead of placing your own ships, there are options to choose a pre-existing configuration from the manual and program it into the unit. As you make attacks, you enter the coordinates into the panel and the game lets you know if you are successful or not. The interface is very intuitive and it's not difficult to get going even without studying the instructions.
Electronic Components: I, personally, do NOT think that every game needs to be updated electronically. That said, I thought this had its plusses and its minuses. First, I missed not being able to place my own ships exactly where I wanted. To do so requires a lengthier process of programming, so I guess I'll just have to be more patient in the set-up. But to attack via the keyboard is a noticeable improvement. The game voice gets mildly irritating especially when you hit a long spell of misses, but I still thought it was a worthy addition (and it prevents cheating)!
Variations: There is a single player mode as well which adds value. There are also three difficulty settings and some choices of game type (classic, multi-attack which keeps you in control as long as you are hitting, and salvo where turns correspond to how many in your fleet are still afloat) and weapon type (basic or some advanced weapons options). Truthfully, though, the classic game of Battleship plays much like any other. The various game types can help speed up the progression and are a nice option. The weapons add another dimension as well, but are a bit tricky at first.
Bottom Line: This is a cool version of Battleship, to be sure. Given the choice between this and classic Battleship, I think the advantages of the upgrade are worth it. Classic Battleship, though, can still become overlong and tedious if luck is not on your side. That doesn't change regardless of any technological enhancements in a traditional game, but the new options give you some updated alternatives. KGHarris, 5/12.