I've only played the classic version of Stratego from the 1970s but it looks like there are at least 3 fundamentally different versions as of 2012. What are the differences between the various versions and how do they impact the overall feel of the game?

If some versions have identical rules but only differ cosmetically, please indicate that. If versions have been produced with minor rule changes over the decades, that would be useful to know as well.

  • I can't give a complete answer, but as far as I'm aware there are no rule changes in any version. There is one difference between the set I owned as a kid and a more recent set I purchased is that the numbers were all reversed. In one set the general is #1 and in another set is he #10. In one set the miners were #3 and the other set they were #8.
    – Apreche
    Commented Jan 17, 2012 at 14:08
  • @Apreche What prompted my question was an Amazon search that showed me at least 2 new versions. (1) Spinmaster Games version with a planetary setting, 30 pieces, and a "Spotter." (2) Milton Bradley has a fantasy themed version with 30 pieces. Quickly bewildered by the proliferation of versions that all have exactly the same name (Stratego), I figure it's worth getting a precise answer from someone who has played several versions rather than wading through several dozen Amazon reviews to try to get to the bottom of it.
    – Joe Golton
    Commented Jan 17, 2012 at 14:39

2 Answers 2


I can't speak definitively for all versions, but I can give you some information.

"Classic" Stratego is played with 40 pieces per side on a 10x10 board. There was a misprint in an early version that claimed Scouts could not move more than one space and attack in the same turn, so this is sometimes incorrectly cited as a difference between editions. There are also some differences in numbering among different versions; sometimes the highest rank is 1, in other cases it is 10.

As of early 2012, Spin Master Games has 3 different versions available. The 50th Anniversary Collectors' Edition has the original rules, theme (Napoleonic) and piece distribution, with some variant pieces available optionally. They also released a 50th Anniversary version that's a Toys R Us exclusive, which has the classic rules and theme, but no variant pieces. The third version is simply titled Stratego, and has a Sci-Fi theme, 30 pieces per side on a 10x8 board, and one of the pieces has a special ability to destroy an adjacent piece of any rank if it can correctly guess its rank.

Some retailers have some special edition exclusives, like Barnes & Noble's Onyx Edition and Target's wooden box and bookcase editions. These are generally the classic version.

Several other sets have had pieces with special abilities over the years, including (but not limited to) Stratego revised (sometimes called Fire & Ice), Civil War Stratego, Stratego Legends (which also supports up to 8 players) and Lord of the Rings Stratego. Most of these give most of the pieces powers, not just one as with the current version. (There's also Ultimate Stratego, which adds 4 player options, but I do not believe this version adds special powers to any pieces.) My understanding is that most of the rethemed versions have changed gameplay at least somewhat.

Of the variant rulesets, I have only played the LOTR version, and I will say that special powers do change the game significantly. In LOTR, the piece powers are asymmetrical, and I found them to be unbalanced. It also minimized the role bluffing plays and made the game more about getting the pieces with useful powers into the right positions - which could be a good or a bad thing. (I personally didn't like this change; it's also my main objection with some of the Stratego-inspired games I've played like Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation.) The piece distribution and board size was the same as classic in that version, so I can't say how the change in numbers impacts gameplay, though the consensus on BoardGameGeek seems to be that the smaller board doesn't change the feel of the game. The two rows that are lost are horizontal relative to the players, which means it shouldn't impact the way the armies interact. (If this is true, any of the special power sets should be acceptable, since you can always apply the classic ruleset to them.)

  • I got the 2012 Stratego version for my son's birthday, and was surprised at the spotters. Also, I think the numbers are the other way around.
    – xorsyst
    Commented Dec 10, 2014 at 17:42
  • The limitation that scouts could either move multiple squares without attacking, or else attack an adjacent piece, was a misprint rather than the intended rule? If the rule is that a piece which could move to the square occupied by another piece is able to attack it, why not just specify that more directly?
    – supercat
    Commented Mar 2, 2021 at 23:42

I have both 1970's Classic Stratego by Milton Bradley and 1997 Ultimate Stratego, which allows either 2 or 4 players. Both are played on 10x10 board. However, while Classic has two 40-piece armies, Ultimate has four 20-piece armies. There are slightly different rules for 2 player "Lightening Version" using only one army or "Campaign version" for using 2 allied armies. Other big addition in Ultimate is Captain is given cavalry capability and allowed to move 2 spaces. Also in Ultimate, Scout can disarm bombs while in Classic this ability went to next higher rank (called Minor then but Corporal now).

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