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Best of John Grochowski
Battleship Strategy13 August 2002
When it comes to trivia, I admit to being something of a showoff. That makes video slots such as Ripley's Believe It or Not and Clue right up my alley. Both Mikohn Gaming slots include bonus rounds in which the player answers multiple choice trivia questions.
I've watched people playing Ripley's, and it's often a more social game than most slots. Players solicit answers from each other and anyone who happens to be passing. That adds to the fun, but it backfired one day on a woman who just happened to ask for help for a passer-by who likes to collect useless information.
The questions and answers are pretty straightforward. There's little need to dig too deep for the answers. Trying to help, I dug too deep.
On her bonus round, the woman was asked how many animals produce substances that are eaten by humans as food. Her inclination was to answer one, that the honey made by bees stood alone. I told her there are other insects in the American Southwest called honey ants, and that while the liquid they produce tastes more like molasses than honey, it has been used for food by humans.
She took my word for it and answered two. Ripley's answer was one. I went home and looked it up. I was right. But she had to settle for the smaller bonus.
Knowledge pays off in Ripley's, although not necessarily arcane knowledge. So do listening skills. The round is hosted by an animated parrot called "Rip." Rip sometimes give clues, and sometimes will even give you the answer outright. If he says "Rip knows the answer," there's one free correct answer coming up. That's a guarantee no collector of useless information can match.
BATTLESHIP STRATEGY: A while back, I passed on to readers a strategy for playing Yahtzee slots. Mikohn executive Olaf Vancura, who gave me the strategy, also e-mailed me a strategy for the bonus round on Battleship video slots.
In the bonus round, the player sees a 36-square grid, with six squares across and six squares down. On this grid are hidden four ships: a carrier that takes up five squares, a battleship that takes up four squares, a submarine that takes up three squares and a destroyer that also takes up three squares.
The player's job is to touch squares on the grid to fire up to eight missiles. Each time you hit a ship, it is revealed on the screen and you collect a bonus. If you hit a carrier, for example, the image of the carrier will appear across five squares and you will know not to fire at any of those squares in the remainder of the round. Instead, you fire elsewhere to attempt to find the other ships.
The positions of the ships are fixed at the start of the round. They don't move, regardless of where you fire and regardless of whether you sink any. That means anytime you reach the bonus round, it's possible to sink all four ships and collect extra bonuses, and it's also possible to miss on every shot. But Vancura says players who target ships by the optimal pattern will sink an average of three ships per bonus round.
At the beginning of the round, your best play is to fire into the middle of the grid. Stay away from the corners. Zero in to one of the four squares at the very center--three or four squares down from the top, and three or four squares in from the left. If you miss, stay within that four-square mini-grid, on the space diagonal from your first.
If you miss again on the second shot, go into the square formed by the spaces one in from the outside, and target one of the corners. That is, fire at one of these four spaces: one down from the top and one in from the left; one down from the top and one in from the right; one up from the bottom and one in from the left; or one up from the bottom and one in from the right. If you miss again, fire at the opposite diagonal space.
Think diagonals throughout the round. After hitting a ship, try the open area most nearly diagonal across the screen from the hit.
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Best of John Grochowski