Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Games: Turning Battleship Into Something Else

Battleship was one of my favorite games when I was young, but now I'm troubled by the military setting. I bought it for my math salon because it's a good game, and you can see me playing it with a young boy in the math salon video. But I want to turn it into something different...

I actually wrote to one of my favorite game companies a year or so ago, suggesting hide and seek. I never heard back from them. I guess most companies would be wary of a game too close to something that's already out there. They might get sued, and that's not worth it.

I'd give my idea to Milton Bradley (makers of Battleship) if they'd use it. But is there a way to make my game different enough so they wouldn't be interested in suing, if someone else were to make Hide and Seek?

Here's my idea...

Hide and SeekTM has 6 children of different sizes (3 girls and 3 boys, 2 toddlers, 2 little kids, 2 big kids), and a grid with a house in the middle and spots to place kids, in the directions North, South, East and West, 5 paces in each direction. You place the kids on your grid, and your opponent is 'it'. They 'look' by telling you things like, "3 paces East, 4 paces North". You say "No one there", or "found my head", or "found the whole little girl". After they find all your kids, you trade places. The one who finds the other team using the least moves wins.

Each player needs just one hideable grid, since you're not playing both parts at once. Playing just one part at a time also makes it easier to keep track of what you're doing.

I want to play this game! Anyone know a toy company that would be interested?


  1. Don't know any companies, but I LOVE your idea. Why don't you send it to ThinkFun or a company like that?

  2. I think that's who I emailed. No response. Some day I'll have more time to pursue this... Not now.

  3. thing is, it *is* BattleShips. Changing the context without any other changes is really not cool. it just becomes, you are really not offering anything that justifies your "PC" changes.

    it will just cause conversations like....
    "Hide and Seek? Whats that?"

    "Oh, its just battleships...."

    the military setting is the reality of the human race, don't try and deny it :)

    why not come up with a mathematical idea for playing. At the moment the game relies on a lot of luck, then progresses to a "how can I determine the shape of the thing I'm attacking". But the shapes are pretty simple. You could play with having shapes that are more interesting to guess. Maybe shapes on a hexagonal grid rather than square?

  4. I have changed a few things. I like having the house in the middle and the grid going different directions. I like taking turns to play. It fits the notion of hide and seek.

    You can call it PC, but kids love hide and seek, and why not have a game where they're searching for a friend instead of an enemy?

    I do like your idea of having the kids be different shapes, but I'd want to keep a grid that's easy to describe.

    And why is it not cool? If you look at the wikipedia article, the game was played on paper long before Milton Bradley got their hands on it.

    The military setting doesn't have to be the reality of the human race. I do deny that. It is a terrible thing, and I will do all I can in my life to work for peace.


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