Battlefield Shenanigans on the NDS – A Review of Stratego: Next Edition

After spending a substantial part of the afternoon playing Stratego on the Nintendo DS, I realised that the game is nothing more than “capture-the-flag”. Ok. I can hear a collective “Duh!?” coming from Stratego fans.

Anyways, I’ve never played the board game before but that didn’t prevent me from tackling the Nintendo DS version, titled Stratego: Next Edition. Before I go any further about the game, I also realised that European NDS owners are a lucky bunch. They get all the board games on the console! First it was Scrabble, and now Stratego.

A Primer

For the uninitiated, Stratego takes place 10 X 10 tile board. A two player game, one player will play as the red army and the other as the blue army. Each player will arrange his troop tiles, numbering around 40 at their respective portions of the board prior to starting the game.

Troops are divided by ranks; higher rank pieces will always defeat lower ranked pieces where else troops of the same rank will destroy each other. The only exceptions to this rule involves bombs, and spies. The rank of the piece will only be revealed to the opponent once an opposing troop encounters it.

This lends a “gotcha!!”/”I never saw that coming” feel that can amuse (or despair) anyone playing Stratego . This is also why Scout units are so important. Don’t scrimp on their deployment during a custom placement game or else you might regret it.

On the DS

Talking about custom placement, Stratego: Next Edition takes the headache out of placing your tiles by providing an auto-placing feature. This applies to all three game modes available in the game.

The first two game modes, Stratego Original and Stratego 90 do not differ much. The only obvious change I noticed is that the armies start right next to each other in Stratego 90, without the two row buffer found in Stratego Original.

The third game mode, Stratego Duel, is more focused on 10 on 10 set pieces, which makes for faster games.

Graphics wise, you’ll be seeing the Stratego board a lot in this touch-screen exclusive game and potraits are used for encounters between enemy tiles. Your unit’s abilities are handily shown on the top screen, less you forget what they do best.

Multiplayer

The game supports multi-cart play and more importantly single-cart multiplayer play which allows you to play Stratego with another DS owner with just a single cart. Too bad there’s no WFC mode. :(

In Conclusion

I really like Stratego:Next Edition, but the price tag seems to be too steep to justify a simple premise that is repeated over 3 very similar game modes. It is however, a definite “buy” once it hits the bargain bin.

If you are interested in the game, head over to Play-Asia.com, or click here for further details.



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