Stratego by Milton Bradley
The two player game of Stratego was licensed and first published in the United States by Milton Bradley in 1961. Milton Bradley had taken notice of the popularity of the game being played in the Netherlands and felt it could become the next game sensation for America. Milton Bradley was correct. Stratego quickly became a favorite game of many and is one of the classic board games of today.
The origins for Stratego can be traced back to an earlier Chinese game called Jungle, though. In this game, animals battle other animals across a gridded board with two central lakes. The rankings of the animals determine who wins the fights. This is similar to how Stratego plays. And, like Jungle, Stratego has two central lakes to maneuver around on its board too.
There are, however, major differences between the two games. Players of Jungle have predetermined placements for their game pieces and these pieces are not hidden from an opponent’s sight; whereas, Stratego allows a player to setup his pieces anyway he chooses, and the pieces are kept secret from an opponent.
In Stratego, each player is in control of 40 pieces on a 10×10 gridded game board. A player’s pieces consist of a Flag, Bombs, and of Soldiers of various ranks. The object of the game is to capture an opponent’s Flag.
The game begins with each player secretly, and strategically, placing his pieces on the game board in a way that best allows him to protect his flag, while maneuvering his pieces around the board to seek out his opponent’s flag.
A player’s pieces range and are numbered from 1 to 9; representing rank (1Marshal, 1General, 2Colonels, 3Majors, 4Captains, 4Lietenants, 4Sergeants, 5Miners, 8Scouts). There is also one Spy, 6 Bombs, and one Flag.
Players battle each other by moving their pieces onto the spaces of his opponent’s pieces. The higher ranked piece beats a lower ranked piece (most times). The highest rank of Marshal can be defeated by a Spy if attacked by it. A spy is defeated by any piece; even the Marshal if attacked by him. Bombs, unmovable, destroys all players if attacked, except for a Miner who ‘diffuses’ the Bomb and removes it from the board.
With the capabilities of the pieces known, a player carefully plans his strategy of attack and his clever defense of his flag. He then places his pieces onto the board accordingly. Each player must remember to be careful to not add attention to placement of any piece, especially his flag, unless bluffing.
The various strategies created and skills used by players in order to outwit an opponent make Stratego an exciting game to play over and over again.