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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…

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