Having roots in the French game L’Attaque and American Basilinda, this strategy and guessing game is said to have been played by Russians before World War I. The first commercial version of this game was named Salvo.

Battleship is played on 10×10 grids (paper or board). Each player has a fleet of ships which he secretly arranges on his grid. The ship types and numbers can vary according to the rules, but each player has the same number and form of ships: for example one player has 4 boats (each boat needs 2 squares), 2 submarines (3 squares), 2 battleships (4 squares) and one carrier (5 squares).

In each round, the players announce a target square and mark the spot on the grid (e.g. B3, D5, E9). The opponent answers with “hit” or “miss”. If a player hits all squares of a ship the opponent answers “sunk”. The first player to sink all rival ships wins the game.


  • Creator: Clifford Von Wickler (uncredited)
  • Place of creation: USA
  • Date of creation: 1930’s
  • Type of game: Strategy board/pen and paper game
  • Players: 2
  • Age: 7+
Battleship set