27 July 2022
Elite tier hide and seek
Sniper Elite, the hit video game of sneaking and shooting baddies has landed on our tabletops finally, and it’s like it should have always been with us. It’s got none of the fat that you usually get in video game to board game translations. Instead of the bloat that comes with nods to fans and weird capitulations the main thing that’s been offered to fans here is… a really good game.
One player takes the role of the sniper and the other takes the role of the ‘defenders’. The defenders have three squads of three on the map of the submarine dock or infrastructure, and the sniper has… nothing, on the board anyway. This is a hidden movement game, so instead the sniper player draws their moves on a smaller wipe clean representation of the battlefield, only placing their sniper figure on the board once they’ve been spotted, or done something noisy. There’s a tiny bit of the honour system to this – and we liked to draw our shots, misses and so on, as one of the most satisfying parts of this surprisingly quick game is the debrief afterwards.
The sniper can take shots at the defenders, drawing a number of tokens from the bag to see if their shot reaches (you need a number of hit tokens equal to the number of spaces, including the one the target is on). Draw two noise tokens, or five non-shot tokens, and you’ve either misfired or alerted the defenders to your position. The sniper can improve their bag through kills, especially on officers – and because the sniper always decides how many tokens to draw the risk and reward is in their own hands.
If the sniper runs past the guards that player has to point out which guards were dashed past – as if he’s tapping them on the shoulder. This is amusing for the sniper player and infuriating for the defender, for a bit anyway – there is payback.
As the sniper, the first part of the game – before the first reveal – makes you feel like the Predator hunting down Arnie and co. You can drop soldiers easily, or even set mines for them to trip on – while you’re nearly on the other side of the map. Once your position is given away however, the defenders have a good chance of being able to pen you in – only smart dodges and shots will get you out of this. As the defender this feeling is reversed – you’re powerless at the start and have all the cards in your hand after the first reveal. Eventually you feel inevitable.
The rules are light and impossibly smart – line of sight works box to box, not model to model, further heightening the hidden danger the sniper presents. The defender has a lot of options, taking two actions per squad per turn, and only needs to get the sniper twice to win. It’s hard to overstate what a breeze it is to learn and play. You will want to pick up the expansion for the game for the additional maps – although the two included have a lot going on in them. And the solo mode by Dávid Turczi uses a push your luck mechanic to give you a similar thrill to the head to head game. Which is to say, while this is an enjoyable three on one game, the best player count is one on one.
If you want to see the future of hidden movement games in the best possible package, this is it.
Christopher John Eggett
PLAY IT? MUST-PLAY
A perfectly balanced game of deadly hide and seek brings the hidden movement genre right up to date. Impossibly smart, and thoroughly immersive. And someone said they even made a video game of it…
TRY THIS IF YOU LIKED Scotland Yard…
If you’re a fan of the original hidden movement game, then Sniper Elite will give you many of the same thrills – but with the reassuringly modern outlook.
Designer: Roger Tankersley & David Thompson
Publisher: Rebellion Unplugged
Time: 30-60 minutes
What’s in the box?
- Double-sided board
- 18 Objective cards
- Countdown track
- 9 Defender miniatures
- 22 defender cubes
- 21 Solo cards
- 6 Officer cards
- 2 Dog tokens
- Sniper miniature
- 2 Hidden boards
- 30 Shot tokens
- Sniper bag
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This review came from Tabletop Gaming Magazine, which is home to all of the latest and greatest tabletop goodness. Whether you're a board gamer, card gamer, wargamer, RPG player or all of the above, find your copy here.Get your magazine here
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