Battleship.  I never get tired of playing Battleship.  That’s a proper classic game, isn’t it.  So unlike other so-called classics like Scrabble or Monopoly.  What a colossal waste of timet those other game are.  Battleship mixes gamesmanship with the joy of blowing shit up, and more importantly, it doesn’t take the better part of three weeks to finish a game.  I’m hard pressed to find another game of this caliber.  Maybe Jenga.  But with that, you don’t get to blow shit up repeatedly.  With Jenga, big blow up = game over.  Fucking buzzkill.

I love Battleship enough to want to teach my kids how to play it now.  That is, if I can find a game set from which we can play.  Have you shopped around for Battleship lately?  I have.  It doesn’t exist anymore.  At least not in the form that you know and love.  One of my kids is now sort of at the right age to start learning the agony of defeat and that life is not all hunky-dory-lightsabers-Lego-spaceships-winning-awesome.  At some point, he’s got to learn that life can suck.  Especially when I brilliantly sink his carrier and frigates repeatedly.

So last Christmas, we bought him what we thought was some clever new-fangled version of Battleship.  I think it’s called something like a “U Build” version (what, has Prince gotten a part time gig working brand names for Hasbro now?).  The kid loves Legos, and this game is supposedly based on some Lego brick elements.  You actually got to customize how the battleships got built – how fucking cool is that?!  Christmas day, we tear open the box, and he goes straight for the tiny brick pieces – you know, the tiny pieces that get left on the floor at precise points in the house a week later so that you’ll step on them every fucking day so that you’ll scream at the kid to pick his shit up and the pieces will still find your open sole to stab…!

So while he proceeds to build these battleships, I’m tasked to put together the game board.  Game board?!  About this fucking game board – whatever happened to the large clam shells that opened, with the transparent grids on both sides?  Your ships were laid out on the bottom, and you used to the upright panel to mark your hits and misses.  Simple, no brainer, worked like a charm.  Well, it turns out that this “build it yourself” version of Battleship doesn’t limit the “build” part to just the ships – these fuckers make you build the game board itself… out of fucking cardboard pieces.  No more plastic clam shell gameboard.  It’s all CARDBOARD!  What sort of bullshit is this?!   “U Build” is apparently a euphemism of “Here, you put this together ‘cause it’s a piece of shit and even we can’t be arsed.”  Fuckers.  And there’re no holes.  The ships justs sit on the cardboard so that if you so much as sneezed, your ships could shift position.  And you need a whole ‘nother contraption to keep score.  Utter bullshit.

But what the hell, we give it a college effort.  Put the thing together – not only does the whole cardboard contraption collapse if you so much as frown at it, apparently these new customizable battleships come with new rules on how you play the game.  Suddenly, you need a degree from Annapolis just to figure out a fucking board game.  God, I hate this thing.

It doesn’t take long for the kid and I to pack it in, blow off this stupid game.  Undaunted, I begin my quest to find the good ol’ Battleship game that I fondly remember.  First stop, Target.  Nothing.  That’s alright, it is but one store.  I get home and Google the shit out of Battleship.  Why Google the shit out of it?  Because apparently, it doesn’t exist.  It’s like it’s been wiped off the face of the earth entirely.  After fruitless perusing of online retailers, I head to the Hasbro site and soon realize that these motherfuckers DON’T MAKE regular Battleship anymore.  They have this bullshit “U Build” version, and some other assy version which looks like an upright Chinese Checkers board.  Which, from the reviews I read, works about as well as the Red Sox offense.  It’s an astronomical failure of a reinvention of something that worked perfectly well twenty years ago.  And I don’t care about some miniature travel version, I don’t care about some fancy electronic version that lights up and makes noise.  All I want is the simple, basic, original Battleship game.  You know, the nothing-wrong-with-it-in-the-first-place version.

The only place I can find any remnants of the old Battleship?  Ebay.  And fuck that noise.  I won’t even touch a handrail on a subway, there’s no fucking way I’m buying someone’s used boardgame off Ebay.  God knows where the hell those battleships and pegs have been over the past twenty years.

So, where does this leave me?  Or the kid, for that matter?   Truth is, I’m more bent out of shape about this than the kid, natch.  He doesn’t know what he’s missing.  Battleship is just something that didn’t work out, and there are a ton of other things out there to entertain him.  For me, the loss of the good and proper, old school Battleship is like someone remaking The Godfather with Justin Bieber as Michael Corleone, then flooding every movie channel with this glorious remake, but not before destroying the original.  And they expect you to a) forget the original ever existed, and b) like this new masterpiece.

Fuck you, Hasbro – congratulations on the successful childhood-killing campaign you’re on.