Friends, I was watching a collection of 1980 commercials while finishing out my shift down here in the Retroist Vault the other day – it’s a pleasant enough way to spend my time. When I came across this rather interesting TV ad for an electronic board game by Ideal called The Generals. After watching it, a few things came to mind – like The Generals seems to operate a little like Stratego…and that having a ‘computerized’ life form as your spokesman for an electronic game is pretty smart as well as neat.
The Generals owes it’s origin to a game thought up by Sofronio H. Pasola, Jr. in 1970. Sofronio lived in the Philippines and created the game entitled Salpakan, with it’s first public debut in ’73 – a chess board was used for the game’s 21 pieces. Apparently in the Philippines they take the game of chess incredibly seriously – as it has been said that chess players in the country were angered by Sofronio using said board. The reason is, they felt the game creator was trying to supplant the game of chess.
The goal of the game is to simulate a war between two Players – who attempt to destroy the flag of their opponent. When one Player’s piece encounters another – a third Player acting as referee will inform those playing who won the skirmish, since the Players will never be able to see their opponents army. The winner of the fight thanks to the military ranks of the pieces results in either a captured square or a lost playing piece.
Obviously with The Generals electronic board game, the third Player acting as referee is no longer needed. The playing pieces have special notched bottoms that let the AI know which piece is more powerful and who the victor is without revealing either pieces.
Thanks to the Wikipedia entry on Game of Generals which is but one of many names the game has gone by, the most obvious differences between Stratego and The Generals is the latter lacks bombs, miners, as well as scouts. Furthermore the game board itself doesn’t include lake obstacles like Stratego features nor are any of the pieces prohibited from being moved – including the flag.
Now then, let’s travel back in time to 1980 and watch this neat commercial for The Generals electronic board game!
If you happen to have any memories of playing this electronic board game, make sure to chat about them in the comments section.