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Where the ‘Battleship’ board game originated

Is there a more defeated competitive swan song than “you sunk my battleship”?

The strategy board game, which even received silver screen treatment replete with an aquaflage-wearing Rihanna, has been around since 1967. However, its origins trace back much further.

According to records kept by the University of Waterloo, the game got its start in Russia around World War I. However, Jeffrey Hinebaugh, author of “A Board Game Education,” indicates the game may have actually first been developed by the French under the moniker “L’Attaque.”

L’Attaque began as a paper-based grid contest, but the idea moved in the 1960s to a board grid with plastic ships made by Milton Bradley. This iteration, called “Broadside,” was themed after the War of 1812.

The game of “Battleship” as we know it more or less today evolved into a two-console system with a plastic interface, but the principles of the game that began in World War I have largely stayed the same.

“In 1967 Milton Bradley issued their version of the game of Battleship,” notes Waterloo research. “Rather than relying on pencil and paper, the box included two plastic trays, pegs, and plastic ships, and printed instructions.”

Hasbro now produces the game, which features aircraft carriers, destroyers, submarines, patrol boats and battleships, according to the game site.

There are currently many different versions, including an electronic version and a special edition Star Wars board. “Battleship” also went digital in the form of a video game by Activision in 2012.

Observation Post is the Military Times one-stop shop for all things off-duty. Stories may reflect author observations.

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