Stratego is a strategy board game for two players on a board of 10×10 squares. Each player controls 40 pieces representing individual officer and soldier ranks in an army. The pieces have Napoleonic. 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 that is also appealing to adults. The game is a slightly 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, and boards with smaller sizes. There are also variant pieces and different.
The International Stratego Federation, the game's governing body, sponsors an annual Stratego World Championship.

Name and trademark

Stratego is from the French or Greek strategos for leader of an ancient army; first general.
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, Hasbro and others, as well as retailers like Barnes & Noble, Target stores, etc.

The contents of the game

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 rectangular cardboard playing board imprinted with a 10×10 grid of spaces, and instructions printed in English on the underside of the box top. The early sets featured painted wood pieces, later sets colored plastic. The pieces are small and roughly rectangular, tall and wide, and 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 boxes or boards.


Typically, color is chosen by lot: one player uses red pieces, and 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 lakes or the 12 squares in the center of the board. Such pre-play distinguishes the fundamental strategy of particular players, and influences the outcome of the game.


Players alternate moving; red moves first. Each player moves one piece per turn. A player must move a piece in his turn; there is no "pass".
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 the opponent's Flag, or all of his moveable pieces. It is possible to have ranked pieces that are not moveable because they are trapped behind bombs.
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 substantially greater complexity than other familiar games like chess and backgammon; however, unlike those games where a single bad move at any point may result in loss of the game, most moves in Stratego are inconsequential.

Rules of movement

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 move and strike in the same turn; in newer versions this was allowed. Even before that, sanctioned play usually 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 then reveal their piece's rank; the weaker piece is removed from the board. If the engaging pieces are of equal rank, both are removed. A piece may not move onto a square already occupied unless it attacks. Two pieces have special attack powers. One special piece is the Bomb which only Miners can defuse. It immediately eliminates any other piece striking it, without itself being destroyed. Each player also 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 immediately 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 quietly ignored in most play.

Recording the game

Competitive play does not include recording the game, unlike chess. The game is fast-paced, no standard notation exists, and players keep their initial setups secret, so recording games is impractical. However, digital interfaces like web-based gaming interfaces, may have a facility for recording, replaying and downloading the game. Those interfaces use an algebraic-style notation that numbers the rows 1 to 10 from bottom to top and the columns A to J from left to right. Alternately, a few interfaces designate the files as A to K, omitting 'I'. Moves are recorded as source square followed by destination square separated by a "-" or "x". Revealed pieces on strikes precede the square designation, and may be by either rank name or rank number for brevity, for example "major B2xcaptain B3". The bottom half of the board is by default considered to be the 'red' side, and the top half the 'blue' side.
No published compilation of recorded exemplary games exists.


Unlike chess, Stratego is a game of incomplete information. In addition to calculated sequences of moves, this gives rise to aspects of battle psychology like concealment, bluffing, lying in wait and guessing. No exposition of the strategy of Stratego, either set up or game play, has been published.


Classic pieces

There are seven immobile pieces – six Bombs and one Flag – and 33 ranked mobile pieces per player. From highest rank to lowest the pieces are:
Some versions make 10 the highest rank with the Spy ranked 1, while others have the Marshal piece ranked at 1 and the Spy designated S. The European version depicts pieces with the lower number to be higher ranked, whereas the American version depicts pieces with the higher number to be higher ranked. All moving pieces can capture the flag.

Variant pieces

Variant versions of the game have a few different pieces with different rules of movement, like the Cannon, Archer, Spotter, Infiltrator, Corporal and Cavalry Captain. In one version, mobile pieces are allowed to "carry" the Flag. In some variants like Stratego Waterloo and Fire and Ice Stratego, all or most of the pieces have substantially different moves; these are essentially different games.


French L'Attaque

In nearly its present form Stratego appeared in France from La Samaritaine in 1910, and then in Britain before World War I, as a game called L'attaque. Historian and game collector Thierry Depaulis writes:
It was in fact designed by a lady, Mademoiselle Hermance Edan, who filed a patent for a "jeu de bataille avec pièces mobiles sur damier" on 1908-11-26. The patent was released by the French Patent Office in 1909. Hermance Edan had given no name to her game but a French manufacturer named Au Jeu Retrouvé was selling the game as L'Attaque as early as 1910.

Depaulis further notes that the 1910 version was played with 36 pieces per player on a 9×10 board and the armies were divided into red and blue colors. The rules of L'attaque were basically the same as for the game we know as Stratego. It featured standing cardboard rectangular pieces, color printed with soldiers who wore contemporary uniforms, not Napoleonic uniforms. In papers of her estate, Ms. Edan states that she developed the game in the 1880s.
L'attaque was later produced in England by game maker H.P. Gibson and Sons, who bought the rights to the game in 1925, until the 1970s, at least, retaining the French name at least to begin with.
Stratego was created by :de:Jacques Johan Mogendorff|Jacques Johan Mogendorff some time before 1942. The name was registered as a trademark in 1942 by the Dutch company Van Perlstein & Roeper Bosch N.V.. After WW2, Mogendorff licensed Stratego to Smeets and Schippers, a Dutch company, in 1946. Hausemann and Hotte acquired a license in 1958 for European distribution, and in 1959 for global distribution. After Mogendorff's death in 1961, Hausemann and Hotte purchased the trademark from his heirs, and sublicensed it to Milton Bradley in 1961 for United States distribution. In 2009, Hausemann and Hotte was succeeded by Koninklijke Jumbo B.V. in the Netherlands.
The modern game of Stratego, with its Napoleonic imagery, was originally manufactured in the Netherlands. Pieces were originally made of printed cardboard and inserted in metal clip stands. After World War II, painted wood pieces became standard. Starting in the early 1960s all versions switched to plastic pieces. The change from wood to plastic was made for economical reasons, as was the case with many products during that period, but with Stratego the change also served a structural function: Unlike the wooden pieces, the plastic pieces were designed with a small base. The wooden pieces had none, often resulting in pieces tipping over. This was disastrous for that player, since it often immediately revealed the piece's rank, as well as unleashing a literal domino effect by having a falling piece knock over other pieces. European versions introduced cylindrical castle-shaped pieces that proved to be popular. American editions later introduced new rectangular pieces with a more stable base and colorful stickers, not images directly imprinted on the plastic.
European versions of the game give the Marshal the highest number, while the initial American versions give the Marshal the lowest number to show the highest value. More recent American versions of the game, which adopted the European system, caused considerable complaint among American players who grew up in the 1960s and 1970s. This may have been a factor in the release of a Nostalgic edition, in a wooden box, reproducing the Classic edition of the early 1970s.

Modern Stratego variations

Electronic Stratego was introduced by Milton Bradley in 1982. It has features that make many aspects of the game strikingly different from those of classic Stratego. Each type of playing piece in Electronic Stratego has a unique series of bumps on its bottom that are read by the game's battery-operated touch-sensitive "board". When attacking another piece a player hits their Strike button, presses their piece and then the targeted piece: the game either rewards a successful attack or punishes a failed strike with an appropriate bit of music. In this way the players never know for certain the rank of the piece that wins the attack, only whether the attack wins, fails, or ties. Instead of choosing to move a piece, a player can opt to "probe" an opposing piece by hitting the Probe button and pressing down on the enemy piece: the game then beeps out a rough approximation of the strength of that piece. There are no Bomb pieces: Bombs are set using pegs placed on a touch-sensitive "peg board" that is closed from view prior to the start of the game. Hence, it is possible for a player to have their piece occupying a square with a bomb on it. If an opposing piece lands on the seemingly empty square, the game plays the sound of an explosion and that piece is removed from play. As in classic Stratego, only a Miner can remove a Bomb from play. A player who successfully captures the opposing Flag is rewarded with a triumphant bit of music from the 1812 Overture.
In the late 1990s, the Jumbo Company released several European variants, including a three- and four-player version, and a new Cannon piece. It also included some alternate rules such as Barrage and Reserves. The four-player version appeared in America in 1997.
Starting in the 2000s, Hasbro, under its Milton Bradley label, released a series of popular media-themed Stratego editions.
Besides themed variants with substantially different rules, current production includes three slightly different editions: sets with classic piece numbering, sets with European piece numbering, and sets that allow substitution of one or two variant pieces such as Cannons, usually in place of scouts. Sets produced since 1970 or so have uniformly adopted the rule that scouts can move and strike in the same turn.

Digital ''Stratego'', online gaming and AIs

first introduced a Microsoft DOS-based Stratego AI in 1990, but it was not even so good as a rank beginner human player, lacking any apparent strategic conception and making many tactical blunders. Modern AIs exist and compete in various tournaments including the Computer Stratego World Championship, but are currently no better than an intermediate level human player.
A digital Stratego CD-ROM was introduced by Hasbro Interactive in 1998 for Windows 95/98. It included all the games of Ultimate Stratego as well as classic Stratego, and was designed to be used over an LAN, modem-to-modem, or over the internet.
In 2013, Jumbo, together with Keesing Games launched, which is free to play online with other players. Since its launch, the site has come to have the largest stratego player base.

Related and derivative games

Stratego and its predecessor L'Attaque have spawned several derivative games, notably two 20th century Chinese games, "Game of the fighting animals" also known as Jungle or "Animal Chess", and Land Battle Chess.
The game Jungle also has pieces with different ranks and pieces with higher rank capture the pieces with lower rank. The board, with two lakes in the middle, is also remarkably similar to that in Stratego. The major differences between the two games is that in Jungle, the pieces are not hidden from the opponent, and the initial setup is fixed. According to historian R.C. Bell, this game is 20th century, and cannot have been a predecessor of L'Attaque or Stratego.
A modern, more elaborate, Chinese game known as Land Battle Chess or Army Chess is a descendant of Jungle, and a cousin of Stratego: It is played on a 5×13 board with two un-occupiable spaces in the middle and each player has 25 playing pieces. The initial setup is not fixed, both players keep their pieces hidden from their opponent, and the objective is to capture the enemy's flag. Lu Zhan Jun Qi's basic gameplay is similar, though differences include "missile" pieces and a xiangqi-style board layout with the addition of railroads and defensive "camps". A third player is also typically used as a neutral referee to decide battles between pieces without revealing their identities. An expanded version of the Land Battle Chess game also exists, adding naval and aircraft pieces and is known as Sea-Land-Air Battle Chess.
A capture the flag game called "Stratego" and loosely based on the board game is played at summer camps. In this game, two teams of thirty to sixty players are assigned ranks by distribution of coloured objects such as pinnies or glowsticks, the colours representing rank, not team. Players can tag and capture lower-ranked opponents, with the exception that the lowest rank captures the highest. Players who do not know their teammates may not be able to tell which team other players are on, creating incomplete information and opportunities for bluffing.


Unlike the vast literature for chess, checkers and backgammon, as of 2019, there is a single book, "Stratego: From Beginner To Winner", written by Richard Ratcliffe and published by Steel City Press.


The game remains in production, with new versions continuing to appear every few years. These are a few of the notable ones. In addition, the first U.S. edition Milton Bradley set, and a special edition 1963 set called Stratego Fine, had wooden pieces. The 1961 wood pieces had a design that looked like vines scaling a castle wall on the back. But note that later 1961 production featured plastic pieces. All other regular edition sets had plastic pieces. A few special editions as noted below had wooden or metal pieces.

Classic versions

These have 10×10 boards, 40 pieces per side with classic pieces and rules of movement.
Official Modern Version: Also known as Stratego Original. Redesigned pieces and game art. The pieces now use stickers attached to new "castle-like" plastic pieces. The stickers must be applied by the player after purchase, though the box does not mention any assembly being required. Rank numbering is reversed in European style. Comes with an optional alternate piece, the Infiltrator.
Stratego 50th Anniversary 1997 by Spin Master comes in both a book style box and a cookie tin like metal box, with original artwork, pieces and gameplay. Optional Cannons playing pieces.
Nostalgia Game Series Edition: Released 2002. Traditional stamped plastic pieces, although the metallic paint is dull and less reflective than some older versions, and the pieces are not engraved as some previous editions were. Wooden box, traditional board and piece numbering.
Library Edition: Hasbro's Library Series puts what appears to be the classic Stratego of the Nostalgia Edition into a compact, book-like design. The wooden box approximates the size of a book and is made to fit in a bookcase in one's library. In this version, the scout may not move and strike in the same turn.
Michael Graves Design Stratego by Milton Bradley introduced in 2002 and sold exclusively through Target Stores. It features a finished wood box, wooden pedestal board, and closed black and white roughly wedge-
shaped plastic pieces. Limited production, no longer available.
Stratego Onyx: Introduced in 2008, Stratego Onyx was sold exclusively by Barnes & Noble. It includes foil stamped wooden game pieces and a raised gameboard with a decorative wooden frame. One-time production, no longer available.
Franklin Mint Civil War Collector's Edition: In the mid-1990s, Franklin Mint created a luxury version of Stratego with a Civil War theme and gold- and silver-plated pieces. Due to a last-minute licensing problem, the set was never officially released and offered for sale. The only remaining copies are those sent to the company's retail stores for display.

Variant versions

These have substantially different configurations and rules.
Ultimate Stratego: No longer in production, this version can still be found at some online stores and specialty gaming stores. This version is a variant of traditional Stratego and can accommodate up to 4 players simultaneously. The Ultimate Stratego board game contained four different Stratego versions: "Ultimate Lightning", "Alliance Campaign", "Alliance Lightning" and "Ultimate Campaign".
Science Fiction Version: Jumbo B.V. / Spin Master version of Stratego, common in North American department stores. The game has a futuristic science fiction theme. Played on a smaller 8×10 board, with 30 pieces per player. Features unique Spotter playing pieces.
Stratego Waterloo: For the of the Battle of Waterloo in June 2015, the Dutch publishing group Jumbo published Stratego Waterloo. Instead of using ranks, the different historical units that had actually fought at the battle were added as Pawns – each with their own strengths and weaknesses. The Pawns are divided into light infantry, line infantry, light cavalry, heavy cavalry, artillery, commanders and commanders-in-chief. Instead of capturing the Flag, the players must get two of their pawns on the lines of communication of their opponent.
Stratego Conquest: 1996, two- to four-handed game played on world map; alternate pieces cannons and cavalry
Stratego Fortress: A 3D version of Stratego featuring a 3-level fortress and mystical themed pieces and maneuvers
Fire and Ice Stratego: The Hasbro version called Fire and Ice Stratego has different pieces and rules of movement. The game features a smaller 8×10 board and each player has 30 magical and mythological themed pieces with special powers.


, a Dutch brand of beer, released Stratego Tournament, a promotional version of Stratego with variant rules. It includes substantially fewer pieces, including only one Bomb and no Miners. Since each side has only about 18 pieces, the pieces are far more mobile. The scout in this version is allowed to move three squares in any combination of directions and there is a new piece called the Archer, which is defeated by anything, but can defeat any piece other than the Bomb by shooting it from a two-square distance, in direct orthogonal, or straight, directions only. If one player is unable to move any more of his or her pieces, the game results in a tie because neither player's Flag was captured.


These variants are produced by the company with pop culture themed pieces.
Produced by Avalon Hill:
Produced by USAopoly:


Stratego is a very competitive game and this competition has increased over the years. There are now many Stratego competitions held throughout the world.
The game is particularly popular in the Netherlands, Germany, Greece, and Belgium, where regular world and national championships are organized. The international Stratego scene has, more recently, been dominated by players from the Netherlands. Stratego World Championships have been held since 1997 and continue to be held yearly around August; the latest was 2019.
Competitive Stratego competitions are now held in all four versions of the game:
;Classic Stratego:Competitions in the original game include the "Classic Stratego World Championships", the "Classic Stratego Olympiad" and several National Championships from various different countries.
;Ultimate Lightning Stratego: In this version of the game, each side has only 20 pieces. A few pieces have variant moves and there are a few rules differences. Games take only a fraction of the time needed for Classic Stratego. Competitions in this version include the "Ultimate Lightning World Championships" and the "Ultimate Lightning European Championships".
;Duel Stratego:The version is played with 10 pieces per side on an 8×10 board. Competitions in this version now include the "Stratego Duel World Championships," which were held for the first time in August 2009.
;Stratego Barrage:To force decisions in knock-out stages in tournaments, in 1992 Stratego Barrage was developed by Marc Perriëns and Roel Eefting. In this "Quick-Stratego" a setup can be made in one minute and played in 5 minutes. The eight pieces with which Barrage is played are the Flag, the Marshall, the General, 1 Bomb, 1 Miner, 2 Scouts and the Spy. Since 1992 Dutch Championships and since 2000 World Championships in Barrage have been organised. Cambodian Champion is Sor Samedy, Dutch Champion is Ruben van de Built, World Champion is Tim Slagboom.


World Championships
1997 London Peter van Bodegom George Franka Erik van den Berg
1998 London Luc Adriaansen Sander Rinzema Erik van den Berg
1999 London Johnny van Geffen René Helmus George Franka
2000 London Erik van den Berg André Pols Wim Snelleman
2001 Berlin Erik van den Berg René Helmus Vincent de Boer
2002 Rotterdam Erik van den Berg Dennis Baas Wim Snelleman
2003 Vienna Vincent de Boer André Pols Wout Gulden
2004 Antwerp Vincent de Boer Erik van den Berg Luc Adriaansen
2005not held
2006 Antwerp Erik van den Berg Ricardo Kik Mark Blockhaus
2007 Antwerp Vincent de Boer Ralf Sandkuhle Erik van den Berg
2008 Kiev Pim Niemeijer Tim Slagboom Vincent de Boer
2009 Gladbeck Steffen Annies Tim Slagboom Pim Niemeijer
2010 Maastricht Pim Niemeijer Tim Slagboom Andreas Bonnermann
2011 North Shields Richard Ratcliffe Tim Slagboom George Franka
2012 Haastrecht Pim Niemeijer Richard Ratcliffe Martin Ehrenberger
2013 Berlin Tim Slagboom Steffen Annies Axel Hangg
2014 Thessaloniki Tim Slagboom George Franka Ruben van de Bilt
2015 Waterloo Pim Niemeijer Johnny van Geffen Vincent de Boer
2016 Rendsburg Stavros Sekertzis Tim Slagboom John Schepers
2017 Marmari Anjo Travaille Tim Slagboom John Vandoros
2018 Naarden John Vandoros Vince van Geffen Sem van Geffen
2019 Sheffield Tim Slagboom Pim Niemeijer Angel Baron
2020 Geraardsbergen
2021 TBA

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