Remember the old game of 'Battleships'? Well here it is at the ActivityWorkshop. Here you can find a few different ways to play the game, either on your computer or on paper.


For those who aren't familiar with the game already, let's quickly go over the rules. Wikipedia's page provides a lot of background information too.

picture of example battlefield

Battleships is inherently a two-player game (where in some cases a computer may act as one of the players). Each of the two players has their own 10-by-10 grid of squares as their battlefield, and places their fleet of ships secretly before the shooting starts. Ships may only be placed according to the grid (vertically or horizontally) and may not overlap.

It's important to note that the two battlefields in a game are completely separate, so there's no problem with having your ship at the same coordinates as one of the enemy's ships, and there's no chance of shooting your own ships.

Once both players have secretly arranged their fleets, they take it in turns to fire shots at single squares on the grid. They are then told whether that shot hit something (and if so, what) or whether it missed. A successful shot usually gives that player another shot, and when all the squares of a ship have been shot, that ship is sunk. Whoever sinks all the opponent's ships first, wins the game.

So those are the general rules, and as Wikipedia shows there are many variations, including battlefield size, fleet size and composition. Here at the ActivityWorkshop we work on the rules of a 10-by-10 grid and a four-ship fleet comprising a 2-square submarine, a 3-square destroyer, a 4-square battleship and a 5-square aircraft carrier.

Playing the game

Here at the ActivityWorkshop we offer a total of four ways to play the game:

Pen(cil) and paper?

battleships worksheet

For more traditional fun, you can of course play battleships using nothing more sophisticated than pen and paper. Simply print out two copies of this PDF file (26 kb) and play against a friend. No peeking at the other's sheet though!

These sheets contain two 10-by-10 grids, just like the applet, and a guide for the 5-square aircraft carrier, the 4-square battleship, the 3-square destroyer and the 2-square submarine. Just take it in turns to call out the coordinates (for example, "fire at B 2") and report the outcome (for example, "missed again!").

Or for a more sophisticated version of the same idea, I've noticed that there's a Wikipedia version too (SVG format, 850 kb).

Battleships // Java version // Web version