Sniper! Game of Man-to-Man Combat, 1941-90

This update of Sniper! was a very much improved 2nd edition in many respects. It combined the original Sniper! and Patrol! games by SPI into one game, improved the graphics, expanded the scope of the game, and eliminated many cumbersome rules, particularly the Simultaneous Movement system.

The game came in a standard 9" x 11.5" x 2" box containing two large 22" x 34" paper maps (double sided, with urban terrain on one side and rural terrain on the other), a 32 page rules booklet, a sheet of vehicle pieces on cardstock (these vehicles were square, however, unlike the original trapezoidal vehicles in the original game), two six-sided dice, a plastic counter tray, and 600 die-cut counters.

The maps were identical to each other, allowing for double-blind play. While one side of the maps depicted urban combat similar to the first Sniper! game, the other depicted rural terrain. The urban map made better use of colour than the original, with grey hexes representing pavement and different sized buildings color coded according to the number of floors they had.The countersheets also had very colorful unit and system counters.

The rules were at least as complex as the original edition, but were divided into Basic, Intermediate, Advanced, and Optional rules, forming a form of Programmed Instruction.

In an article in Volume 2, Number 6 of Wargamer Magazine (May-June 1988), designer Steve Winter stated:

I find it immensely interesting that when I first started revising the Sniper! and Patrol games in 1985, there were only two other wargames (that I am aware of) that covered modern combat at man-to-man scale. Since then, at least three more have been published (two of which, like the Sniper! game, were based heavily on previously published games). Yet, despite this surge of man-to-man games, very few articles have been published about any of them.

It's not entirely clear which two man-to-man wargames Winter is referring to. Close Assault by S. Craig Taylor was set in the Second World War and released by Yaquinto in 1983. A contemporary sequel was released by Avalon Hill in 1984 as Firepower. One of the other "modern" games mentioned by Winter may be Ranger which dealt with post-1945 combat (released in 1984 by Omega Games). A much earlier game named City Fight had been released by SPI in 1979 and may also be what Winter refers to.

The game used a ground scale of two metres per hex and between thirty seconds and five minutes of time per turn. The game scale meant that vehicles in the occupied up to eight hexes simultaneously. The vehicles cards provided in the 2nd edition (and the two follow-ups) were square rather than geometric as had been provided in the first edition.

Two military sequels followed (called Companion Games, they were standalone products not requiring possession of Sniper! in order to play), one a Second World War title, the other a contemporary Special Forces title. A third title in a science fiction setting was also released.

 


 

Sniper! Game of Man-to-Man Combat, 1941-90

Developer: Steve Winter
Publisher: TSR, Inc.
Date of Release: 1986
Scale: Man-to-Man
Players: 2
Campaign Type: None
Components: ► 2 double-sided 22"x34" maps
► 32 page rules booklet
► vehicle sheet
► plastic counter tray
► 600 1/2" counters
► 2 6-sided dice
Companions: Sniper! Hetzer
Sniper! Special Forces


All photos from the webmaster's collection

 

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