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Time: 45 minutes
Ages: 10 and up
Weight: 833 grams
Average Rating: 4.2 in 5 reviews
I bought this game about a month ago and have been hooked!! No one wants to play me anymore, I've played it that much. I think it is an amazing display of strategy and skill. I love how you must decided where to put your men to outwit your opponent. The freedom of the game is truly unique.
This is just like chess but extreme. It's amazing to play and takes little time to learn.
Put 3 bombs next to the flag.
Keep your Marshal next to your spy, but keep it on the other side of the board from the General.
Keep your three Miners in the second, third, and fourth lines for the end of the game.
When I think back to my youth, out of all of the different board games that my brother and I played with as kids, we probably spent more time playing Stratego than any other. From a family that grew up playing all different types of games, this is high praise indeed.
Stratego is a two-player strategy game. Each player begins the game with 40 pieces, the identities of which are initially unknown to your opponent. Because both you and your opponent choose to set up these pieces any way you see fit, each and every game is different before the very first move is made.
The object of Stratego is to capture your opponent's 'flag' piece. In addition, a player also wins if he has captures all of his opponent's officers and/or his opponent cannot move.
Play is turn-based. Each player takes turns either moving one of their own pieces or 'attacking' an adjacent enemy piece. Pieces vary in strength and when two pieces 'do battle' the outcome is easily resolved; simply put, a higher-ranking piece removes a lower-ranking one. There is one exception. The Spy, which is otherwise the weakest piece on the board, can remove and eliminate the Marshal, normally the strongest piece on the board, if the Spy strikes the Marshal. If the opposite is true, and the Marshal is the one who initiated the attack on the lowly Spy, the Spy is the one lost and removed from the game.
The identity of the pieces are revealed only when two pieces are 'struck' or attacked. Thus, during the early part of the game, you do not know the identity (strength) of your opponent's forces... and he/she does not know yours!
Most pieces are capable of movement. However, each player also has six 'bomb' pieces which are incapable of movement. A Bomb piece destroys every piece it comes in contact with, unless that piece is a Miner, the one and only piece that is capable of 'dismantling' the bombs.
The Scout, normally a very weak piece, also has an feature unlike any others. The Scout is the one piece capable of rapid movement; it can travel any number of open spaces on the board. (All other pieces are allowed to move just one square at a time.)
Most Stratego games usually last less than an hour, sometimes slightly more. However, Barrage Stratego, otherwise known as 'Speed Stratego' is played with each player using just eight of the 40 pieces! Because of the reduced number of pieces, games usually last just a few minutes... but are no less fun. Barrage Stratego is recognized this year at the Official World Stratego Championship.
Probably the most wonderful things about Stratego is the never-ending variety of ways one can change, alter, and modify the rules to suit your own individual taste. For example, normally when two pieces of equal rank come in contact, both are removed from the board. The variation some know as 'Attacker Advantage' rewards the player who initiated the attack. Thus, in this variation, the attacking piece wins on all ties!
Another example is a variation that is similar to queening a pawn in chess. Twice per game, if one of your officers reaches your opponent's back row, you can resurrect one of your dead officers. There are these four conditions to this 'Piece Resurrection' rule:
- Scouts cannot rescue other pieces
- You cannot rescue Bombs
- Your second rescue must be with a different piece than your first rescue
- If you choose not to rescue a piece when that piece reaches the opponent's back row, that piece cannot rescue again
There are dozens and dozens of other modifications and rule variations (modifying the playing board, playing with the pieces face up, etc.) one can initiate to alter or modify the game that are far too numerous to mention here. I don't think I need to anyway... you get the idea.
Stratego is played all over the world and is one of the few games that resides in Games Magazine's Hall of Fame... and deservedly so. It's a game that, because it's been around for as long as it has (Milton Bradley first started producing it almost 40 years ago although Stratego's roots go back even further than that) it doesn't often get the recognition today it rightfully deserves. This is a shame. Stratego is a game that has the ability to give both children and adults a lifetime of enjoyment for the price of just a few dollars. I can't see how anyone can go wrong when purchasing a Stratego game. 4.5 Stars.
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