Battleship Cards Rules

Battleship Cards Rules PDF


Play peg cards and power cards to find, hit and sink your opponent's fleet of five ship cards. To win, sink your opponent's fleet before he sinks yours.

Got younger players?

Try starting them off with the Beginner Rules, which require no reading and lighter strategy.


1. Choose a card color, then take all cards of that color. Separate your 12 coordinate cards from your 26 destruction cards. Remove your two reference cards and keep them nearby. Each player then sets up as described in Steps 2 and 3.

2. Your coordinate cards: This deck contains five ship cards and seven miss cards. Shuffle the deck, then place your coordinate cards facedown at random in front of you, in a 3x4 grid. See Figure 1.

3. Your deck of destruction: Shuffle the deck, then deal yourself a hand of five cards. Form a facedown draw pile with the remaining cards.


The youngest player goes first. Players alternate turns. On each of your turns, follow these two steps:

1. Play One Card.

Choose one card from your hand to play either a peg card or a power card.

2. Reload Your Hand.

Take enough cards from your draw pile to replenish your hand to five cards. (If you already have five or more cards, just skip this step.) This ends your turn. If your draw pile runs out, form a new one by shuffling your discard pile.

Peg Cards

Usually, you'll play white peg cards to search for hidden enemy ships, and red peg cards to damage revealed enemy ships.

White Peg Cards:

To play a white peg card, tap a facedown card
in your opponent's grid.

Your opponent flips that card face up,
and it stays face up for the rest of the game.

Place your peg card in your discard pile.

If the card is a miss, nothing happens.

If the card is a ship, you may play red peg cards
on this revealed ship to score hits on future turns.

Red Peg Cards:

To play a red peg card, slide it
under a revealed enemy ship,
leaving the peg(s) showing.

Each red peg on the card counts as
one hit on the ship.

Searching with red pegs:

You may, if you wish or are out of white peg cards, use a red peg card to search for an enemy ship. If it's a miss, discard your red peg card. If it's a ship, each red peg on your card counts as an immediate hit.


You play a red peg card on your opponent's Aircraft Carrier. Count two hits for the two red pegs on your card.

Sinking a ship:

Each ship card has a number that represents the number of hits needed to sink the ship.

If you play at least this many pegs on the ship, you've sunk it!

Place your peg cards in your discard pile. Your opponent places the sunk ship card out of the game.


You play a second red peg card on the Aircraft Carrier, for a total of six hits.

You sank the carrier!

Power Cards

To play a power card, place it face up where both players can see it. Then immediately follow the directions on it.

There are three kinds of power cards, all explained below. When you play a card with two powers, choose only one.


Place this card on one of your revealed ships. Your opponent must play enough red pegs to destroy the shield before he can attack the ship.

If you place a shield on a damaged ship, it does not remove the damage; but the shield must be destroyed before any further damage can be done to the ship.

When your shield is destroyed, discard it.

A peg card played on a shield damages the shield only; any extra pegs on the card do not damage the ship.


Discard white peg cards.
Discard one or more white peg cards.
This allows you to draw more cards
when reloading your hand.


Play 2 cards.
Play two more cards.
Repair a ship, then play a card.

Remove one peg card from one of your damaged ships, then play another card on the same turn.
This power does not work on shields.


Draw 3 cards, then play one.
Draw three cards from your deck, then play one of them. Keep the remaining two cards in your hand.

You place a shield on your Destroyer, which has one peg of damage.

Your opponent must play two pegs to destroy the shield before playing any more pegs on your ship.


Ship powers are "rule-breakers" that will affect your play, so always be aware of the powers of all revealed ships - both yours and your opponent's.

Instead of a peg card, consider playing a power card - for example, one that will let you play two cards instead of one on your turn. The more cards you play, the more you can draw when reloading.

Your 4-peg card is a valuable weapon: it will immediately sink any ship except the Aircraft Carrier. But be careful when playing it alone on the carrier, because your opponent could use a power card to remove it!

Ship Powers

Each ship has a special power that is in play from the moment the ship is revealed until it's sunk. Take advantage of your ships' powers while you can!


Only white peg cards can damage this ship, including the one that reveals it. Your opponent discards any red peg cards played on this ship.

PT Boat:

At the start of your turn, remove one peg card from any one of your revealed ships. This power does not work on shields.


You may now play white peg cards as well as red peg cards to damage enemy ships or shields. Exception: Only white pegs can damage a Submarine.


Add one red peg to each of your red peg cards in play. For example, a 2-peg card now counts as a 3-peg card.

Aircraft Carrier:

Reload your hand to seven cards at the end of your turn, instead of five.

Example Ship Powers

Your opponent finds your Destroyer. Now you can play white pegs to damage all enemy ships!

If your Destroyer is sunk, its power immediately ends. Discard any white pegs still in play (except on a Submarine).


The first player to sink all five enemy ships wins the game.


This version of the game requires no reading, so it's a great way for younger players to get in on the action!

Game setup is the same as the regular game, except that the power cards are not used, so remove them from the decks of destruction.

Game play is also the same, except that the ship powers are not used, so just ignore them.








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