Battleship is a relatively simple game to teach and it is readily modified for a simple agile lesson in frequent releases and fast feedback.
General instructions for the Battleship game can be found on battleships.org.
A simple game board can be found on wikipedia. You will need two copies for each game; one for each team.
Basic Game - Grand Plans versus Frequent Feedback
Split the group into two teams; Team A and Team B.
The game is run in a single round during which each team will take 32 shots.
Each team starts by laying out their “Your Ships” grid, marking where each of their ships is located.
Team A is the Grand Plan team. Team A pre-determines and plots all 32 of their shots.
Team B is the Frequent Feedback team. Team B plans and takes one shot at a time.
Once Team A has determined and plotted all 32 shots, they inform Team B of their shots. After Team A has shared all of their shots, Team B lets Team A know which shots were hits and if any ships were sunk.
After Team A completes their turn, Team B responds. Team B, the Frequent Feedback team, takes a single shot, gets feedback from Team A (Miss / Hit / Sunk), and decides their next shot. They do this 32 times.
To score the game, each team gets a single point for a hit and an additional 2 points for each ship sunk, for a total possible 32 points.
Variation - Small Releases versus Continuous Delivery
In this variation, the game is played in 4 rounds of 8 shots each.
Team A still pre-plans the 8 shots per round and executes them all at once, receiving feedback after each round.
Team B still takes a single shot at a time for 8 shots, getting immediate feedback.
Mark shots with the round number in which they were taken. This will not only help keep track of the activity per round, but will help with the scoring.
To score this variation of the game, each team gets a single point for a hit, an additional 2 points for each ship sunk, and 2 bonus points for each ship discovered and sunk in a single round for a total possible 48 points.
Our experience (so far)
For the basic game, the win is usually quite clear with Team A scoring an average of 12 and Team B scoring an average of 21.
We’ve only run the variant a couple of times as of the publication date of this article. The spread has been smaller, but still present. In one game, for example, Team A scored 16 and Team B scored 23.
Special thanks to ApiumHub for their article on Agile Games where we first found a variant of Battleships. You can find an online version of the basic game which allows for 30 shots at https://www.boxuk.com/battleships/