It’s 1943 and something is moving in the darkness.
Hidden movement games can be a bit hit or miss I find. As much as I love a classic like Fury of Dracula, I can understand the frustration when the players spend ages tracking down the Count, only to have him scoot off to the other side of Europe again. Sniper Elite features hidden movement, but in this case I’ve never seen it better done.
There are some clever tricks here that do away with that frustration level, but still keep the tension of this style of gaming. The sniper player, as is traditional, tracks their movement on their own board with a whiteboard pen. Crucially, they can choose to move very slowly and not tell the ‘defenders’ (well, Nazis really, let’s be clear) a thing. Alternatively, they can move quickly, but then have to tell any adjacent defenders they have heard a noise, giving them crucial information to track the sniper’s movement. So instead of a frustrating hunt, you very quickly have a game of cat-and-mouse, where a single miscalculation can cost you the game. It’s perfectly matched with the theme, and brings the whole game alive.
In addition, the sniper can fire at the defenders using a bag draw system. The sniper can choose how many tokens to draw, but must get a number of aim tokens equal to or exceeding the range to hit. I love games where the result is determined by a push your luck draw system – it always leads to tense, fun, explosive moments. And in this case your bag can fill up with noise tokens, making it more likely you’ll reveal your position when you shoot or, if you draw a combo of other tokens, even misfire.
Special abilities and a choice of maps and variable objectives round out the game, and the expansion Eagle’s Nest gives you even more to play with. There are even solo rules. Sniper Elite is a great production with snappy, tense, and exciting gameplay, and now takes the crown as my favourite hidden movement game. Highly recommended!