Battleship for iPhone: Best board game adaptation yet?

New gameplay modes add touches of strategy and help the warfare go faster in Battleship for iPhone. All that's missing is online multiplayer; for now you have to settle for Bluetooth and Wi-Fi to battle opponents.

A glorious electronic makeover and new gameplay modes breath new life into the classic Battleship board game.

Free of messy pegs and full of clever touches, Battleship for iPhone and iPod Touch ($2.99) gives the classic board game a terrific 21st-century makeover.

In addition to Classic mode, the game offers two new options: Salvo and Superweapons. In Salvo, you get to select one target for each ship in your fleet--meaning for the first few rounds at least, you get to lob five shots instead of just one.

Suffice it to say, that makes the game go much faster than a traditional Battleship exercise, which can easily last 30-40 minutes.

In Superweapons mode, you get to choose four offensive or defensive weapons for your arsenal. Each one has a different "charge time," meaning you can use it only after a certain number of turns has elapsed.

Air Strike, for example, delivers a line of three bombs (for example, three shots for the price of one), while Decoy gives you a fake ship that registers hits just like a real one.

However, only a handful of superweapons are available at the start of the game. To unlock more, you have to sink ships over the course of many games.

I like the brief but lively cut scenes that appear when you fire a weapon, score a hit, and sink a ship. (You can even see aircraft sliding across the deck of the carrier as it capsizes--one of many nice little touches in the game.)

Because Battleship is best played against other humans, the game offers three multiplayer options: Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and "pass & play." Missing, sadly, is Internet multiplayer, which would really be icing on the cake. How about it, EA?

Even without the online element, Battleship for iPhone ranks among my favorite board game adaptations to date. But fellow parents take note: When you play against your children and inevitably cry, "You sank my battleship!", be prepared for blank stares.

 

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