Before the start of the game, players arrange their 40 pieces in a 4×10 configuration at either end of the board.

It has been licensed to manufacturers like Milton Bradley, Hasbro and others, as well as retailers like Barnes & Noble, Target stores, etc.

Stratego is from the French or Greek strategos (var. Greek army; The game box contents are a set of 40 gold-embossed red playing pieces, a set of 40 silver-embossed blue playing pieces, a glossy folding 15-1/2" x 18-1/2" rectangular cardboard playing board imprinted with a 10x10 grid of spaces, and instructions printed in English on the under side of the box top.

They are shown as lakes on the battlefield and serve as choke points to make frontal assaults less direct.

The game can be won by capturing the opponent's Flag, or all of his moveable pieces.

More modern versions first introduced in Europe have cylindrical castle-shaped pieces.

Some versions have a cardboard privacy screen to assist setup. Typically, color is chosen by lot: one player uses red pieces, and the other uses blue pieces.

A piece may not move onto a space occupied by a like color piece. The Scout may move any number of spaces in a straight line (such as the rook in chess).

In the older versions of Stratego the Scout could not move and strike in the same turn; in newer versions this was allowed.

If the engaging pieces are of equal rank, both are removed.