Stratego Board Game Rules: How Do You Play Stratego?
Stratego is a game of trickery, deception, strategy, memory, and some luck. Two players set up their 40 piece armies in an attempt to capture the other player’s flag and win the game.
The game starts with each player choosing a color (blue or red). The game recommends you have one player hold a single army piece of opposite colors in each hand, and have the other player choose a hand, with the color of the piece now representing the color of their army. Since the armies consist of exactly the same pieces, this is of little consequence, other than deciding who goes first.
Each player takes the opposite side of the game board that is temporarily sectioned off in the middle, using a screen or partition (these generally come with newer copies of the game, though they are absent from some vintage versions). Each player may only place pieces “notch-up” and in the available rows closest to their side, filling each row horizontally in any order they wish until all 40 pieces are placed in their own individual tile. The image on each piece should face you, not your the controlling player, not the opponent.
Pieces are separated by rank, with some ranks having different abilities:
F = Flags are the enemy objective and determine the winner of the game. Place your flag in a defensible location, generally near the rear of the map.
S = Spies are able to take any pieces on the board, but are destroyed if attacked.
B = Bombs are able to destroy any piece that attacks it except the miner, which is the only piece in the game that can remove a bomb. Even if a piece detonates on a bomb, it is not removed without being swept by a Miner (3). Bombs are often placed around flags to protect them.
2 = Scouts are able to move in any legal direction as far as they want but only once a turn. Additionally, they may also attack on the same turn that they move. They are the weakest piece on the board and are defeated by everything except a spy, and then only if they are on the attack.
3 = Miners are able to remove enemy bombs from play. They are unable to remove your own bombs, so do not block yourself in. It is a good idea to keep some miners in case your opponent walled his flag in with bombs.
The rest of the pieces in each army represent the rank/power of that individual piece, where a higher number is needed to defeat another piece. For example a 4 can defeat a 3, but not a 5, and in the event of a tie both pieces are defeated unless a spy attacks another spy–in which case, the attacking spy would win.
There are 33 movable pieces:
1x Marshal (10)
1x General (9)
2x Colonels (8)
3x Majors (7)
4x Captains (6)
4x Lieutenants (5)
4x Sergeants (4)
5x Miners (3)
8x Scouts (2)
1x Spy (S)
There are also seven non-moving pieces, and they are;
x6 Bombs (B)
x1 Flag (F)
Some assembly Required: It should be noted that if you’re reading this, have a new game, and somehow don’t have the instructions for it; the stickers for the 80 plastic pieces do not come attached out of the box, if this is the case it is recommended that each player attach their own stickers before play.
Once each player is satisfied with the positioning of their pieces, one player may then remove the privacy screen. Once this is done, red may move his piece first with blue performing their turn at the end of reds.
On Your Turn:
You may either attack or move once on your turn, unless the piece you are using a scout which may move and attack on the same turn. All pieces may only move in straight lines, and never through friendly pieces, (up down left right) but not diagonal, and may only move one space at a time with the exception of scouts which may move (once per turn) any number of spaces in a single direction.
Once a player moves one of their pieces onto an enemy pieces square, each player must reveal the rank of their piece with the winner taking the square being contested. Higher ranked pieces always defeat lower ranked pieces. The exceptions are Spys, which defeat anythign on attack (except bombs), and Bombs, which defeat everything except Miners. In the event of a tie, both pieces are removed, with the only exception being a Spy Vs. Spy match up, in which case the attacking Spy wins.
Winning the game:
One side wins when they reveal the enemy flag by moving a piece onto its occupying square. If you cannot move a piece during your turn then you must forfeit to your opponent.
In the event of a tie, the attacker wins.
When a piece is attacked, the defender only reveals their piece if it’s defeated, or If it is attacked by a Scout.
If you move one of your own pieces into the back row of your opponents territory then you may rescue one of your defeated pieces and place it on your side of the game board. Scouts cannot rescue; the same piece cannot rescue again; and you may only rescue twice per game.