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Electronic Battleship: Advanced Mission takes the original premise of Battleship and adds several new twists that allow for a much more demanding and entertaining game. This version is recommended for persons aged 8 and up. I think this is really dependent on the attention span of the individual. This game requires a lot of thought and planning and although the sounds help to keep players engaged a younger child with ADHD won’t play with this game long.
When Hasbro's Electronic Battleship: Advanced Mission was first released it came in a blue box. This version was horribly flawed and some of the major components, including the computerized input system, simply didn’t work. If you come across the blue box version do not buy it. It was quickly discontinued by Hasbro and redesigned and rereleased. The current version comes in a green box and is the one that this review is based on.
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If you enjoyed the classic version of Battleship then this one probably won’t disappoint. The set-up is similar to the classic game with some intriguing additions that make it a more interactive experience. The computer voice is clear although a bit loud. I used a piece of cardboard taped over the speaker to quiet the machine for use in the living room so I didn’t disturb the kids who were watching TV. Even though it is fun to get commended on a hit (complete with the sound of a missile strike) there is only so much audio and it gets a bit tedious after a while. The audio also slows down the game as you have to wait for it to complete before you perform a new action.
The interface, although electronic in a sense, still relies heavily on manual operation. All pegs have to be inserted by hand and if you happen to put one in the wrong place the computer voice will not let you proceed until it is fixed. But that isn’t all the onboard computer does, in one player mode the AI is quite a formidable opponent even on the beginner setting. I never did manage to beat it in advanced mode.
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This version of the electronic battleship game has several key features on top of the original quadrant style game board, five boat pieces (Aircraft Carrier, Battleship, Destroyer, Submarine and Patrol Boat) and red and white pegs to record hits and misses. First, this version of the game has added the use of three spy planes (launched from the Aircraft Carrier) into game play and blue pegs to indicate located enemy ships. There is also the addition of an anti-aircraft gun (not placed on the board) to combat the new spy planes.
The second major addition to Electronic Battleship: Advanced Mission is the use of “special" weapons. The harpoon missile can be shot from the destroyer and hits a 1 x 3 area either horizontally or vertically based on the attacking player preference. Two tomahawk missile can be fired from the battle ship and covers a 3 x 3 area. The submarine has two torpedoes that start from one end of a column or row and continue all the way to the other side unless they come in contact with a target. If a target is hit then the torpedo stops. It doesn’t do more damage than a regular shot but it has a much better chance of hitting something and can be used for recon as much as attack strategy. With all of these new weapons if the ship is destroyed before the weapon is deployed then the weapon goes down with the ship.
The Submarine houses a sonar scanner as a third addition to this game. The Sub can scan a 3 x 3 area and tell you if there is a ship there. You will not get the exact location just whether or not a ship is one any of those coordinates. Scans can be preformed for as long as the submarine isn’t sunk. If you choose to scan you cannot attack on that turn.
For Design, Ease of Use, and Overall Rating for the Electronic Battleship Game See Page 2
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Although electronic Battleship is designed to be a carry along game the case is actually much bigger than what most kids are use to caryying around (think PSP or DS here). There are some flaws in the design as well and the electronic set-up can take quite a long time so getting to the game isn't a simple take it out of the box and go scenario.
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This unit is designed to be a one piece folding carrying case to make the game ultra portable. When it is unfolded you have the option of laying the two player sides of the board directly on the playing surface or raise them into an easier to read diagonal position. The speaker is on the bottom of the unit so raising the feet to make game play easier also makes it quite a bit louder.
One of the major concerns with the design is that the storage container for the pegs is not divided into sections so the 200 white pegs, 100 red pegs and 50 blue pegs have to be sorted out before each session of game play. The plastic hinge that holds the top on this contain is also relatively weak and if you open the game to quickly it will pop open spilling all of the pegs on the floor. If you have small children this can be a major concern and if you don’t just imagine stepping on one of these little guys with your bare feet. Ouch! Thankfully a little at home ingenuity prevails here. Three small zipper bags will both keep your pegs separate and if they do fall out you just have three bags to pick up. The other problem with the pegs is that don’t always fit into the holes the way they should, some are loose while others stick so hard that you may need pliers to take them out.
Unfortunately this game misses out on a few features that would have put it over the top. Instead of a peg system they could have installed led lights under the game board and had the computer light up the quadrants as they were programmed in. There could also be an electronic scorecard at the top telling you which of your opponents ships you have sunk.
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Ease of UseRating
This is where the game really falters. The initial set-up of this game is not for younger children. First you have to choose a game mode; there are for to choose from; Traditional mode, Salvo mode which allow you to fire until you miss, Plus mode that lets you fire a shot for each ship you have on the board, and Advanced Mission Mode. After you have chosen your mode you have to program all of your ship locations into the computer which is not an intuitive process. Then you can play the game. If you make it through the set-up the first time it gets easier with each additional game. So initially the ease of use is low but gradually it becomes easier (kind of like riding a bike).
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Overall the Electronic Battleship Advanced Missions game is a huge improvement on an age old classic but with a few tweaks and an update to the peg system would put this in a class by itself. If you enjoyed the classic game but couldn’t ever find anyone to play with the one player mode is almost as much fun as crushing a live opponent and you won’t be disappointed. The price is a bit steep for the limited electronic interface and for $74.99 I would’ve expected the LED lights instead of pegs. Still a great choice if you want the bells and whistles.
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All Images courtesy of Amazon.com
This review is based on the author's use of the game by himself and with his family in conjunction with reviews posted at Amazon.com.