Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Stratego Classic

Stratego Classic

Fall 2016 Games
Ages: 8 & Up
Manufacturer: PlayMonster
Price: $27.49

Who doesn't love a classic board game that's updated? Perhaps made even better?

That's the question. Adults who as kids played Stratego decades ago have a chance to experience the great strategy game yet again in a slightly retailored look and play. For today's children who never heard of it, parents can introduce it to them.

Stratego Classic is almost that very same battlefield strategy game that was introduced in North American by Milton Bradley in 1961. Each player has an army of pieces with rank and power values hidden from their opponents. During gameplay, they move pieces to invade their opponent's territory and try to defeat opposing army's pieces, and capture the opponent's flag. That's how you win.

There are strategies, like where to position your flag and where to locate your bomb pieces, and where to deploy your spy pieces. All other pieces are movable (with some water and land obstacles to circumvent). Move your piece on the same square as an opponent's piece and it's an attack! Players reveal their under-attack pieces' rank (Lieutenant, Captains, Majors, etc.) and the lesser is defeated and removed from the board, etc.

The real question is, what's different? Well, Stratego Classic uses 30 pieces per player instead of original Stratego's 40. The original Stratego used wooden pieces though that switched to plastic by the '70s. This version uses plastic. The game board back then was a 10-by-10 grid of squares; now it's a 10-by-8 grid. And the "rank" number on the stick-on labels are now tiny, white on light background, and hard to see.

But, this is a fun strategy game, where classic chess conceptually mates with the card game War. Plus, it's easy to learn for new players, just like the good old days.

Don Oldenburg   ©2016 Parents' Choice
A former feature writer and consumer columnist at The Washington Post for 22 years, Don Oldenburg is the Director of Publications and Editor of the National Italian American Foundation, in Washington, D.C. He regularly reviews books for USA Today and is the coauthor of "The Washington DC-Baltimore Dog Lovers Companion" (Avalon Travel). The proud father of three sons, he lives with his journalist-author wife, Ann Oldenburg, in McLean, VA.

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