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How Stratego Works

Variations on Stratego

Ready to make Stratego even more challenging? Try a few variations on the traditional board game.

Radio silence: When one player attacks another, only the attacker says the rank of his piece out loud. This makes it more challenging, because during traditional play, attacking -- and sometimes sacrificing a piece -- can reveal an opponent's rank. So how will you know whether you've captured the piece? If you were outranked, or if you attack a bomb, the opponent will remove your game piece. Otherwise, the defender has the option remove any piece with a lower number than his piece from the board and continue to keep the attacked piece's rank a secret. However, when attacked by a scout, the defender must reveal the piece's rank. This variant requires a high degree of trust between players.

Unequal outcome: During traditional play, when pieces of the same rank battle they are both removed from the board. This variation, however, contends that when equally ranked, the attacker may stay on the board. Only the defender is removed.

Search and rescue: Another variation is to allow the rescue captured game pieces. If you're able to successfully maneuver one of your pieces to an opponent's back row on the game board, you can release one of your captured pieces and return it to the board -- placing it on your home turf in any open space. There are a few exceptions, though. Scouts can't rescue other pieces. Once captured, bombs stay captured, no matter what. There's a limit of two rescues per player, and the same piece can't make more than one rescue [source: Hasbro].

Another variation is to take the battle virtual. The first licensed "Stratego" video game debuted in 1990, and today there are versions of Stratego for iPhone and Android, as well as variations for the Wii, DS and XBox that allow solo and multiplayer combat [sources: Blanco; McCloud]. Similar, but unofficial, apps are available, too. For example, "The General," which is available for iPhone and iPad, has a Stratego-like format, though as of early 2012, only the official "Stratego" app will let you match wits against a human opponent instead of the computer.