Thrift Treasure: Battleship Express
I don’t think there’s an American child that hasn’t played a version of Battleship at some point. If you’re younger, you had the luxury of an electronic version that kept track for you. But if you were like me, you had to deal with scores of red and white pegs that eventually found their way into the vacuum. The other drawback was that it only supported two players – fine when you wanted to play with a sibling, but not effective as a family game.
You’ve heard me talk about Reiner Knizia before as the designer behind Qin and Too Many Cooks. Knizia has 100’s of game titles to his credit, but this one is unique because it is a new take on an old license. Only issued one time in 2007, Battleship Express uses the same theme of sinking five of your opponents ships, but does away with the pegs and throws in dice and the ability to support up to four players!
Each player receives five different ships, each with unique abilities printed on the card. Some let you roll all eight dice, others only two or three. As in the original, each ship has a different amount of health – but in Express you must kill it in one shot. No building up damage over multiple turns!
The custom-cut cards are lined up in order from left to right, denoting the order of your fleet. Most ships can only attack the first two ships in your fleet (the right-most ships), so positioning from turn-to-turn becomes imperative.
On your turn, you select which ship you are attacking with and move it to the front of your fleet (exception – aircraft carriers can attack from any position). Then you target an opponent ship and roll the dice. The number of re-rolls and special effects are different from ship-to-ship, but as long as you roll matching symbols equal to or exceeding the health of your target, you destroy it and collect the card.
Depending on the number of players (four in a 3-player game for example), as soon as someone sinks the correct number of ships, they are declared the winner. That’s all there is to it, which makes it a quick game (under 20 minutes) and very easy to teach to younger players. There’s even an ‘easy mode’ that eliminates the ship differences and reduces the game to simply roll-the-dice-and-see-if-you-sink-it. (disclaimer – as an adult, that version isn’t very fun).
Battleship Express can still be found on Amazon for under $15 and quite honestly is a fun alternative to the traditional version. It comes in its own sealing plastic box – perfect for throwing into a suitcase for travel. Keep an eye out at your local thrift stores for a used copy of your own!
19 thoughts on “Thrift Treasure: Battleship Express”
Looks like a fun game plus I love rolling some dice!
Nice twist on a family classic game.
This looks like a neat game. Cool spin on an old classic and I also love dice games.
Wow, I did not know this. I love classic Battleship. I should check this express version too. Thanks! 🙂
My boys will love this!!!!
This looks like a fun travel game!
I wish my local thrift store(s) would have games 🙂
Interesting. I’ve actually only played battleship a handful of times when I was younger and I never picked it up as a family game because I had no idea there could be more than two players. Thanks for sharing your review.
We love Battleship! But you are so right, with only 2 players it’s not a good family game night game… and we play games a LOT. So, I will be picking this up, so finally my husband and I both can play at the sam time with our son!
I had NO idea that there was a dice version of Battleship! That’s cool, and a very different way to play it. I wonder how this would have changed things for Bill and Ted, since more than 2 people can play? https://youtu.be/tg-IG7V5eZg 😉
I remember playing this as a kid and loving it! And now my son is interested in submarines, so I want to try this out!
Adding this one to my list of games for the kids for Christmas! I loved the original as a kid, Im sure they will find this one so much fun!
This sounds like an interesting game. I love the idea of battleship being taken to a dice and card game like this. I’ll have to pick this one up!
This version looks like a unique spin on the classic original. I love how colorful it seems to be and that more players can join in the fun.
My kids haven’t been introduced yet to battleship. But soon it will happen! I love the dice version!
I played the on-line version of Battleship a couple of years ago–it was fun. I guess when I was young this game was not out yet!! It does look like fun.
I am seeing some of the coolest games for kids these days – I would enjoy playing this even as an adult!
Battleship! We love this one……..Adding to my gift list this year for sure!