Aspects of Play: Battleship

As part of the module, the task was to look into the various types of games within the 3 specific bands of play. The band this game I shall be discussing ‘Battleship’ belongs to is Board Games.

When playing Battleship, I found that it belonged to the following categories of play in relation to Roger Caillois’ theory of play; Agon

In terms of Mimicry, the player doesn’t take control of a character but instead takes control of a fleet of Battleships, they then assign their location of the map and await for their opponent to do the same, the aim of the game then becomes to sink the opponents Battleships before they sink yours, the catch is that you do not visibly know where their Battleships are. Agon comes in the form of trying to beat your opponent in being the first to sink all opposing Battleships. Illinx doesn’t appear within the game because nothing is inherently disorientating the player. Alea doesn’t appear within this game either because of the fact that it’s simply player vs player, but it is arguable that the lack of visible insight on the enemies location that the guessing process of trying to see where the enemy is could be considered random by way of player decision.

In terms of the elements in this game that I liked, I really liked the aspect of not being able to visibly see your opponents Battleships, which made for great tactical and deductionary gameplay.

State of Flow, was it achieved?

No. The turn-based operating of the game and the fact that it was fairly easy to consecutively miss shots and have a 10 round spree on both sides where nobody hit anyone in regards to attempting to sink Battleships.

If I were designing a game similar to this, I would consider increasing the player base to have more then a 1v1 scenario to increase the stakes but also this gives a greater opportunity for an individuals Battleships to be hit with more players actively in the game.


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