Seeschlacht: Battleship Game From Germany
A lot of times, the things we write about here on Retro Thing are thrift store finds, or wonderful things from the past we wished we'd had. In this case, you're looking at an actual artifact from my childhood. I have tender memories of playing Seeschlacht with my father. He brought it home from a German business trip, and it was one of the few games he liked to play with me.
This is the traditional warfare game Battleship. Whether you grew up playing the Milton Bradley variety, or even just scratched out x's and o's on graph paper, the gameplay is the same. Two players each deploy a fleet of different-sized warships, and the other player has to guess where they are by bombing his opponents waters.
For being so minimalistic, Seeschlacht has a lot of fiddly pieces that it's hard to believe I didn't lose. In secret, you plug your colored pegs into your gameboard, then pop on the perforated grey cover. Exchange boards with your opponent, and take turns plunging the probe into the little holes. If a salvo hits empty water, you mark the hole with a light blue tile. A palpable hit on a ship will turn up one of four colors on the probe, offering an additional clue to the type of ship you're after.
As a kid, I was pretty much an oddball (not much has changed), so I guess it's no surprise that I would have grown up playing this version of Battleship that was very unusual in the US. I've played different versions since then, but have always returned to Seeschlacht. I like all the myriad little bits, and that it's cheater proof - once your ships are in place, they're sealed to their fate inside that blue plastic box.
Undoubtedly a lot of my warm feelings toward this game have to do with my personal nostalgia. Who would think that a war game was something you could get sentimental over?