Stratego is a strategy board game for two players on a board of 10×10 squares. Each player controls 40 pieces representing individual soldier ranks in an army; the pieces have Napoleonic insignia. The objective of the game is to find and capture the opponent's Flag, or to capture so many enemy pieces that the opponent cannot make any further moves. Stratego has simple enough rules for young children to play but a depth of strategy, appealing to adults; the game is a modified copy of an early 20th century French game named L'Attaque. It has been in production in Europe since World War II and the United States since 1961. There are now two- and four-handed versions, versions with 10, 30 or 40 pieces per player, boards with smaller sizes. There are variant pieces and different rulesets; the International Stratego Federation, the game's governing body, sponsors an annual Stratego World Championship. Stratego is from the Greek strategos for leader of an ancient army; the name Stratego was first registered in 1942 in the Netherlands.

The United States trademark was filed in 1958 and registered in 1960 to Jacques Johan Mogendorff and is presently owned by Jumbo Games as successors to Hausemann and Hotte, headquartered in the Netherlands. It has been licensed to manufacturers like Milton Bradley and others, as well as retailers like Barnes & Noble, Target stores, etc; the game box contents are a set of 40 gold-embossed red playing pieces, a set of 40 silver-embossed blue playing pieces, a glossy folding 15 1⁄2 in × 18 1⁄2 in rectangular cardboard playing board imprinted with a 10×10 grid of spaces, instructions printed in English on the underside of the box top. The early sets featured painted wood pieces sets colored plastic; the pieces are small and rectangular, 1 in tall and 3⁄4 in wide, unweighted. More modern versions first introduced in Europe have cylindrical castle-shaped pieces; some versions have a cardboard privacy screen to assist setup. A few versions have wooden boards. Color is chosen by lot: one player uses red pieces, the other uses blue pieces.

Before the start of the game, players arrange their 40 pieces in a 4×10 configuration at either end of the board. The ranks are printed on one side only and placed so that the players cannot identify the opponent's pieces. Players may not place pieces in the 12 squares in the center of the board; such pre-play distinguishes the fundamental strategy of particular players, influences the outcome of the game. Players alternate moving; each player moves one piece per turn. A player must move a piece in his turn. Two zones in the middle of the board, each 2×2, cannot be entered by either player's pieces at any time, they are shown as lakes on the battlefield and serve as choke points to make frontal assaults less direct. The game can be won by capturing all of his moveable pieces, it is possible to have ranked pieces. The average game has 381 moves; the number of legal positions is 10115. The number of possible games is 10535. Stratego has many more moves and greater complexity than other familiar games like chess and backgammon.

All movable pieces, with the exception of the Scout, may move only one step to any adjacent space vertically or horizontally. A piece may not move onto a space occupied by a like-color piece. Bomb and Flag pieces are not moveable; the Scout may move any number of spaces in a straight line. In the older versions of Stratego the Scout could not strike in the same turn. Before that, sanctioned play amended the original Scout movement to allow moving and striking in the same turn because it facilitates gameplay. No piece can move back and forth between the same two spaces for more than three consecutive turns, nor can a piece endlessly chase a piece it has no hope of capturing; when the player wants to attack, they move their piece onto a square occupied by an opposing piece. Both players reveal their piece's rank. If the engaging pieces are of equal rank, both are removed. A piece may not move onto a square occupied unless it attacks. Two pieces have special attack powers. One special piece is the Bomb.

It eliminates any other piece striking it, without itself being destroyed. Each player has one Spy, which succeeds only if it attacks the Marshal or the Flag. If the Spy attacks any other piece, or is attacked by any piece, the Spy is defeated; the original rules contained a provision that following a strike, the winning piece occupies the space vacated by the losing piece. This makes sense when the winning piece belongs to the player on move, but no sense when the winning piece belongs to the player not on move; the latter part of the rule has been ignored in most play. Competitive play does not include recording the game, unlike chess; the game is fast-paced, no standard notation exists, players keep their initial setups secret, so recording over-the-board games is impractical. However, digital interfaces like web-based gaming interfaces, may have a facility for recording and downloading the game; those interfaces use an algebraic-style not

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