How to Play Stratego
How to Play Stratego
Stratego is one of those “easy to learn, hard to master” board games that are always popular for a certain segment of the gaming population. Variations of Stratego exist for different brands, things like Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, and Simpsons. Though Stratego is not as popular as it once was, the complex strategy involved in this war game mean it will always have a special place in the world of board games.
Most of the learning part of learning to play Stratego involves simply learning about the different pieces. There are twelve different “units” in the game of Stratego with different properties. They range from the “flag” piece that is the object of the game and doesn’t move to the higher units like the Marshal and the Generals. Learn how each piece moves and how they’re used and you’ve got the basics of Stratego.
You start play when you move your pieces in such a way that they interact with your opponent’s pieces. In a conflict, the highest ranking piece always beats the lower ranking piece. Bombs always win unless they are diffused by a miner piece. The spy piece always wins when it attacks, no matter the rank of the other piece. The only piece that doesn’t get killed by the spy is the marshal.
Battle continues until one player located and “captures” the other player’s flag piece. You look for the flag piece by moving through your opponent’s pieces and revealing which space is occupied by which piece.
The strategy of Stratego lies in how to set-up your pieces. For instance, surrounding your flag with bombs will make it harder for the opponent to capture your flag. Only the miner piece can defuse bombs.
The spy piece is crucial to your success in Stratego, so learning to use the spy means learning to win. Avoid placing your spy too close to the front line, because your spy will be captured before it does its job. The trick lies in placing the spy piece exactly far back enough to be protected, but close enough to the line to get him in position later in the game.
Another great strategic trick in Stratego is to use “misdirection.” You can “fake” a flag location by sticking two bombs in one of the back corners protecting some useless pawn piece. Your opponent will think your flag is protected by bombs and go after it.
To start a game of Stratego, each player chooses a color or side of the board and starts to set-up their pieces.
Each piece needs to be set-up on your side of the board. The two lake spots on the board are there to “bottleneck” the front line, so use that bottlenecking to your advantage.
Stratego may have fallen a bit by the wayside in light of the rising popularity of more obscure classic games like Carcassone and modern games like Tikal, but the basic strategy you learn playing this classic board game will help you in other strategy-based games. Want to be a better chess player? Learn to play Stratego.