Sunday, November 6, 2016


By now most everyone knows I am a Google Geek, and that I have been an educator for 25 years. But did you know that one of my other passions is tabletop board games?

That’s right. As much as I love technology, I also love holding physical cards in my hands, or rolling dice, or moving plastic meeples around aboard. Some of my favorite tabletop games (currently) are Sushi Go, Codenames, Forbidden Island, Dragonwood, Settlers of Catan, Snake Oil, and Hanabi.

Although gaming is fun, it can be more than just that. Tabletop games can be a powerful tool for learning, helping students to develop critical thinking, problem solving skills, collaboration, communication, and creativity.

Sometimes all three of my interests intersect… education, technology, and games. Such is the case with Battlesheets! A couple years ago I recognized the similarity between the classic game Battleship with the rows and columns in Google Sheets, and decided to create a playable version inside of Sheets. The end results was Battlesheets, a Google version of Battleship for your students to play, develop critical thinking skills, and learn about locating points in a coordinate system.

See below to get your own copy of Battlehseets, as well as detailed directions on how to play, and additional resources on the spreadsheet tricks used to make the game work.


Battlesheets is available as a read only spreadsheet template, which means you will need to make your own copy of the spreadsheet, and then share it with your opponent to play. To access the Battlesheets template click the link below:


Battlesheets functions very much like the traditional Battleship game:

  • Each player uses a different tab in a shared spreadsheet, types in letters in one grid to place their ships, and then takes turns typing in X's in another grid to drop their bombs.
  • Pre-made formulas and conditional formatting then show you if you have hit your opponent and if they have hit you.
  • The game continues until one player has sunk all of their opponent's ships.
  • Replay is as easy as deleting the contents of your grids and starting over.

Detailed directions

Step #1 - Make a copy of the template

Battlesheets is shared as a READ ONLY template. To be able to play the game you will need to make a copy of the spreadsheet first.

  • Be sure to be logged into your Google account.
  • Open the Battlesheets template.
  • Click "File" in the top menu bar, and choose "Make a copy..." from the drop down menu.
  • You can now name your copy of the spreadsheet, and will have your own copy of the game.
  • Note: You may want to make multiple copies of the spreadsheet so you can play the game with many people.

Step #2 - Share your copy of the game with someone

To play the game with someone else, you need to share the spreadsheet with them and give them edit rights.

  • Click the blue "Share" button in the top right corner
  • Enter their email address in the "People" box. 
  • Make sure "Can edit" is selected in the drop down menu.
  • Finally click "Send".
  • That person will now have access to the spreadsheet and can play the game with you.

Step #3 - Play the game

  1. Choose who will be Player #1 and Player #2. Click on the tab at the bottom of the spreadsheet for Player 1 or Player 2. From here on out stay on that tab. No cheating by peeking at the other player's tab!
  2. If you need to communicate with your opponent, you can use the chat feature built into Google Sheets to type back and forth. Alternately you could connect with your opponent through a Google Hangout.
  3. Place your boats in the top left grid by typing letters in the boxes. Refer to the key on the right of your sheet to see what letters to use and how many boxes each of your boats take up.
  4. Take turns dropping bombs on your opponent by typing an "X" in a square in the bottom left grid.
  5. To see if you hit your opponent, look in the grid on the bottom right. A black square means a miss, a red square means a hit, and a white square means you have not dropped a bomb on that square yet.
  6. To see if your opponent hit you, look in the grid on the top right. A black square means a miss, a red square means a hit, and a white square means your opponent has not dropped a bomb on that square yet.
  7. If your opponent hits all the squares for any of your boats, inform them that they have sunk that particular boat.
  8. Keep taking turns until one of you has no boats left. The other person is the winner.
  9. To play again, simply delete the contents of the cells in the top left and bottom left grids.


To learn more about the Google Sheets features used to make the game, check out the Google help pages on topics such as conditional formatting, the spreadsheet function list, and specifically the IF function. If you have any suggestions or feedback please let me know so I can continue to improve the game.

So find a friend, drop your bombs, and let the Internet hear you cry "You sunk my Battlesheet!"

Post by Eric Curts. Connect with Eric on Twitter at and on Google+ at


  1. You could probably "protect" the different tabs in the sheet to help prevent cheating. Maybe make the text the same color as the background, so only selecting the cell on your screen would reveal what is there. I haven't figured it out yet, but I am sure someone could figure it out.

    1. Or even make your own screen all black after you make your selections for the game, then protect the range, so no one could see the answers.

  2. Is there a way to Password Protect my sheet? So my opponent doesn't peek?

  3. Games are awesome! Try Colt Express!

  4. Using this with my classes today. I know that setting protected ranges to give a warning when trying to edit P5:Y14 and P19:Y28 helped students not accidentally alter or delete conditional formatting rules. Great work Eric!

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  6. Hi, its an awesome post. I really didn't know any of these tricks but they all are great. I am looking for an apps for Canadian news online. If you can suggest me any, it would be great for me. Thanks.

  7. Thanks for the template! I am going to try to find a way to adapt this to teach latitude and longitude to my 6th graders!