One night this past week, Lucy and I began a game of Battleship. Initially we started with standard rules, but Lucy was getting increasingly frustrated that I sank her first ship before she found my first one. To try to keep her interested in the game, I decided to modify the rules a bit. For every one of my shots, I allowed her to fire two. That turned out to even the playing field considerably. In fact, it had the surprising effect that it allowed her to focus more on the tactics and strategy of the game.
For instance, when she hit one of my ships, she would immediately reason out where my ship could be based on the misses around it. When she had two or three hits lining up, she would reason out which ship it could possibly be. If there were three hits in a row, but I hadn’t called out a “sunk” yet, then she knew it couldn’t be the sub or destroyer yet – it had to be the battleship or the aircraft carrier, for instance.
The game progressed nicely after that modification. Then she sank my fourth ship. All I had left was my sub.
As I sank her third and fourth ships, she started taunting me. "You’ll never find my submariiinneee! It’s really well hidden!" Usually the patrol boat is my undoing because it’s so small, but in this particular game I happened to sink it second. I started working my way around the board, firing every third hole, looking for that darn sub.
Then Lucy found mine. Two shots. Two hits.
I fire my next shot and connected with her sub! But, alas, it was too little, too late. Lucy had me.
Sigh. Game over.
Lucy was glowing for the rest of the night. "That was a really good game, Dad!"
Yes it was, sweetie. Nice job.