Battleship with a 6 year old is surprisingly difficult. Let me give some examples:
1) “E4.” Miss. He sunk my destroyer at F4-F5, so he’s sniffing around there. He’s already said E5.
“E5”. Jack, you already said E5. “Oh… I did? What else did I say?” Are you marking them on the top part of the board? “Yes. Well, most of them.”
Next turn. “E4.” Oy.
2) G8 is a hit. I’m hot on the trail of his submarine. Let’s figure out which direction. G7. “Miss!” Next time around…. F8. “Uhhh.. miss!” Okay, hmmm. Next guess. G9. “Miss!” Well, then, I know where it is! H8, which should be a hit. “Miss!” Jack. I’ve guessed everywhere around G8, and you said G8 was a hit. If it’s a hit, the four spaces around it can’t be misses. “Wait… what else have you guessed?” I’ve said F8, G9, G7, and H8…. “Oh wait… G7 was a hit!” Sigh.
3) G6… that sinks your submarine, right? “Yes.” I’m winning 4 to 2 now. “(whimper whimper…) I’m losing…. BWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH…” Jack, Jack, what’s wrong? “I can’t find your ships and you’re hitting all miiiiiiiiIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIAHHHHHHHHHHH-HAAA-HAAAAaaaa…” Oh geez. Jack, it’s just a game, you’re supposed to have fun whether you win or lose… should we quit now? “Noooo… keep playing… but I’m saaaaaaaaaaaaAAA-HAAAA-HAAA-aaaaaad…”
4) In the end, given the bawling, I started guessing things that didn’t make sense, and was totally prepared to cheat in favor of Jack (one of the reasons I was marking his misses as well as mine), but he found my ships completely on his own. We were each down to our last ship, and I wanted to make it close but give him the victory. He got a hit on my last ship, and then guessed wrong twice on which direction it was going. I got lucky and found his last ship. We each had one spot left and it was my turn. I knew his ship was at G3, G4, and G5, because I had hits on G3 and G4 and a miss on G2. So I could confidently miss and let him take home the victory. I knew he wasn’t tracking my previous guesses, so I re-used my old guess. “Is it G2 or G5,” I said aloud. “I’m going with…. G2!”
Jack frowned. “Hit. You win, Daddy.” Sigh again. I had guessed G2 on probably the fourth or fifth turn of the game and he had gotten it wrong.
Fortunately I managed to let him have “one more shot” so that we both won. I remember hating, hating, HATING losing games when I was about this age, and arguing with my dad and others that I didn’t lose, that it was a tie. At the same time, I want Jack to be a gracious winner and not a sore loser, and we still need a little work on those.
But hey… it was another game. And fun. And NOT in front of the TV or the iPad or the Wii or the PC…