Yup, it's true. The board game actually began as a pen-and-paper game for two. It's quite similar to the game you've probably played with a board and pieces; the object is to "hit" your opponent's ships on their grid by making strategic guesses as to where they are.
If you're desperately trying to entertain the kids on a road trip, give them both two grids each that are sectioned out 11 by 11; the top row marked 1-10, the side reading A-J. (The left-hand corner square will be blank.) Each player gets the following:
- 1 carrier (5 squares)
- 2 battleships (4 squares each)
- 3 destroyers (2 squares each)
- 2 cruisers (3 squares each)
- 1 submarine (3 squares)
Have the kids outline all their own ships on one grid and then let them go crazy guessing the other's coordinates (marking down their guesses on the other grid). When one hits all the squares of the ship, it's been sunk. Let 'em at it until someone hits all the ships in the sea; it's a lot better than hitting each other.