Are the legitimate strategies for placement and shooting in battleship (other than 'don't shoot where a ship wouldn't fit in' of course), or is it all just randomness and maybe a sort of bluffing-type metagame?
and if you are shooting do it in some pattern eg
start with j1 -> a10 leaving two spaces, after each shot, then do a1 -> j10
after you hit a big one with a two-space pattern switch to a one-space pattern
Probably. There are strategies for Rock-Paper-Scissors.
Suppose that in the initial phases of the game, before any of your ships have been detected, your opponent has an equal probability of selecting every square on the grid. If he picks a square in the middle of the board and hits one of your ships, he will have four possible directions to move in after that. Ships are continuous, so he knows it extends into one of the four adjacent squares, even if it's the smallest ship.
However, if he picked an edge square and hits one of your ships, he will have three possible directions to move in after that. He will waste fewer misses in determining the rotation and position of your ship since it's rotation and position are constricted by the edge. Therefore it is superior to place your ships away from the edges.
This brings up "metagame" concerns; if you place your ships away from the edges, won't your opponent eventually wise up and stop aiming there? This is only an issue if you are playing your opponent multiple times, or if this edge-avoidance strategy is mainstream and well-known.
SHIT strategy. anyone who played battleship more than once as a kid is aware enough of the metagame to check for this efficiently
placement performance is all luck, but you can use probabilities and a small amount of thought to eliminating the greatest number of possibilities with each shot to outperform most players
we used to play this as a drinking game in undergrad and i dominated