My Sniper Elite is similar to my barbecued brisket, which is very convenient to use. Naturally, my biggest question when deciding on this game in tabletop form was how long a session would take. Could I complete a game in less time than it takes for me to pick my way through one of the long-range death banquets?
After completing a solo mission, I got a round on one of the two base maps for Sniper Elite: The Board Game. The game has a time limit, meaning missions are still limited to an hour or more. If the Sniper cant complete an objective in nine rounds of turn-based activity, they lose.
The goal of the Sniper Elite is to only shoot and kill any of the officers or guards, but rather to reach two points on the board before time runs out. This is a hidden-movement game, and thanks to a couple of clever rules, the player rarely ends a round completely undetected or unhindered. The board game can be a skin-of-the-teeth proposition, where the same action earlier produced less suspense and fewer consequences.
The Sniper maintains track of their movements on a smaller, dry-eraserase map, and a grease pen. By the way, the Defenders (by the way, there is no Nazi imagery in Sniper Elite: The Board Game) use tracking cubes to mark areas where The Sniper may be. If the Sniper moves two or three spaces which they will have to do late in the game they must notify a Defender player that their guards are there.
Defenders are not limited to aggressive tactics to flush out the Sniper. They can use their round to reveal one of three actions which can reveal if the Sniper is present in their sector, within three adjacent spaces, or in a single space next to them. Caught in the open, any attack on the Sniper automatically deals a wound; two wounds and its game over. If one discovers the Sniper, it usually becomes a fun you-or-me showdown.
The Sniper uses a gun by naming the number of tokens they want to pull from the shot bag and then using them at random. Aim, noise, and Suppression combine to either make the kill, but also reveal The Snipers position. This means players who pride themselves on being a one-shot-one-kill sniper must maintain a strong understanding of the bag odds. Each item is then added and subtracted according to the outcome of other events prior to the shooting.
All of this combines to deliver some very strong pacing and tension. I left a guard at the doorway to my first objective, without giving away my position at all. Of course, I hadn''t thought the layout of the room before my departure, and the round clock was ticking. I was actually seen by an officer standing in a railroad car three squares away, and in a direct line of view.
I needed three Aim tokens to kill him; I chose to draw five random tokens and only got two of them I needed. I didn''t have enough time for a second shot, so I fled. Fortunately, everyone else was covering potential objectives at the other end of the map; I could not have walked to my second objective without caring who said it. If I was to stand to fight the officer, and probably had a wound in the process, Id have probably lost.
Playing with friends is preferable to the solo game, and it takes longer, even with quibbling about how long someone is or is supposed to be, depending on where it is going to be, and on how it works. However, the random, card-drawn manner in which the Defenders make their quest in the solo game can leave some victories feeling like a cheap luck of the draw.
The maps themselves are well balanced and well illustrated, with surprise chokepoints, slow-moving hazards, and even elevated terrain coming into play sometimes spontaneously. One time, I realized that I was not close to a guard; I had scrambled up a catwalk, and the closest access was two spaces behind me; you may also fix colored discs to their base so you know the area they are assigned.
Sniper Elite: The Board Game provides the same endorphin hit of satisfaction when I see someone first, eliminate them, and immediately relocate, without the rest of the patrol finding me. I''d say it even reinforces some of the valuable lessons learned about prioritizing goals over kills, for the next time I pick up the video game. Sniper Elite: The Board Game has revealed that assassination isnt necessary to have a good time.
Sniper Elite: The Board Game was reviewed with a final retail copy from Rebellion Unplugged. Vox Media is a manufacturer of affiliate links, and they may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links. You can also see additional information about Polygons'' ethics policies here.
Prices are calculated at the time of publication.
1-4 players aged 14+
45 minutes of play time
Hidden movement and tactical miniatures are all part of the game.
Competitiveness and action
Similar games: Specter Ops: Broken Covenant