Going Solo in Sniper Elite: The Board Game
30th July 2021
On this blog we’re taking a look at Sniper Elite: The Board Game, in particular the solo rules designed by Dávid Turczi and Noralie Lubbers. If you think you’ve got what it takes to survive alone behind enemy lines, read on!
When playing with friends, Sniper Elite is a tense game of deduction and deception, with the Sniper trying to outfox their opponents and the Defending Forces trying not to fall for their bluffs.
In the Solo game, the focus changes. You won’t need to trick your opponent, but you will need to carefully plan your turns and anticipate the actions they are most likely to take.
As in the multiplayer game, you’ll secure victory if you complete your 2 objectives before time runs out. The Solo deck acts as the round counter for you, with your automated opponent winning if the deck runs out or if you take two wounds.
Before delving into the mechanics of the solo mode, let’s take a look at the solo board. This is found on the reverse of the round counter, and acts as a dashboard for predicting and influencing the Defenders’ actions
There are three slots for cards, marked with either one, two, or three chevrons; the first two slots will have a face up card placed on them, while the third will hold a face down card:
The cards on the board dictate the possible actions the Defenders can take, and will be randomly selected by rolling the solo die. This has three sides with a single chevron, two with two chevrons, and a single side with three chevrons, meaning the card to the left is the most likely to be selected and the card to the right is the least.
You have a good idea of how the enemy might act on their turn, but you’re never certain. Allied intelligence can only get you so far.
There are two new concepts that come into play with the Solo game. Firstly, we have the Last Known Sector, or LKS, which relates to the four sectors on each map. Throughout the game there are various actions you and the Defenders will take which will update your LKS. This is the area the enemy thinks you are hiding in, so they are more likely to advance towards these positions in the hope of hunting you down.
The other new concept is Remaining Objectives. When not hunting you down, the Defenders will be attempting to stop you from reaching these crucial locations. As the game progresses, there will be times when you mark off objectives which cannot be your targets this game, either due to a card from the solo deck or after completing or looting an objective. This means the enemy is more likely to be blocking your route to the objectives you are after rather than taking a leisurely stroll at the other side of the map.
The Sniper’s Turn
As the sniper your turn is near identical to the multiplayer game, choosing to move, shoot OR loot OR complete an objective, and optionally using one piece of equipment from your loadout in any order.
When moving, you can still either sneak a single space, or run up to three spaces. However when running, adjacent guards no longer hear a noise. Instead, if you run and remain in the LKS you will get one noise token, while if you run and end your turn outside the LKS you must update it to match your new sector. The guards have pretty keen ears!
When shooting, each noise token you draw will cause the nearest enemy (other than your target) to move one space closer to you. If any Defenders reach your space or an adjacent space this way, it’s bad news. They really don’t like you shooting their squad-mates.
Finally, there are your objectives. After you complete your first objective, a number of things happen. Firstly, you add a noise token from the supply to your shot bag and shuffle the discarded Defender cards into the draw deck, effectively resetting the round counter and giving you more time to complete your second objective.
Next, you mark off any Remaining Objectives within the same sector as the one you just completed – your enemy knows you won’t be heading to any of these. Finally, for each Remaining Objective you will reposition the guard furthest from you onto that space, concentrating their forces in the areas you will be heading to next. Hopefully you can outsmart them again!
The Defenders’ Turn
Once you have finished your turn, the Defenders will strike. Roll the solo die and resolve the card in the corresponding slot on the solo board.
Each card relays orders to the Defenders. Some relate to the Remaining Objectives, some to the Last Known Sector, and some are general actions the soldiers will take as they attempt to track you down. There are also Assignments, which will reposition units from across the board to the sector you are currently in – just when you think you’ve got the better of them, they charge right back at you!
What happens if a guard does find you? Well, that depends on which action they are taking. Some, such as the “Search” or “Spot” action, will cause you to take one hit if you are within range, while the “Attack” action will deal two. You’ll also want to be wary of staying too close to the enemy – if you finish your turn adjacent to one of the Defenders, or if they move onto you space, that’s another hit coming your way!
When you take a hit, you’ll be adding tokens to your shot back from a stack of Recoil and Noise tokens you created at the start of the game. This is your health – once it is fully depleted you’ll be wounded, and if you run out a second time then you’ll be killed, losing the game. Successful shots against the enemy can allow you to return some of the tokens you have gained as damage back to this stack – panic among the Defenders giving you a moment to focus.
Once you have resolved the Defender’s turn, slide the remaining cards to the left to fill the empty slot and draw a new card into the right-most slot. If the card you resolved was face-down, place the new card face down too – there’s always a nasty surprise ahead.
Variety is the spice of life
Each of the maps in the game has been designed to provide the Sniper and the Defenders with new challenges, rewarding players who can adapt their tactics as the game unfolds. To reflect this in the solo game, each map has a set of unique cards that are shuffled into the solo deck to capture the feel of that specific setting.
This means that depending on which map you play you’ll be facing different threats from your automated opponent. In the Submarine Pens if you are out in the open you could find your position illuminated by the Spotlights, while at the Heavy Water Facility you must be wary of the possibility of Counter Snipers firing from the clifftops. With the Launch Facility, some cards focus the Defenders on the buildings littered around the compound, but out in the open you’ll need to be watch out for Axis marksmen. At the Eagle’s Nest, Hall Patrols keep your enemies moving around the board, closing in on you in the congested corridors and small rooms of the mountain retreat.
With a unique experience from each map, we’re sure that solo players will find plenty to dig their teeth into.
Think you’re up to this solo challenge? Pre-order your copy of Sniper Elite: The Board Game today!