Sniper! House to House Fighting In World War II

Sniper! was developed by Jim Dunnigan, Hank Zucker, John Young, Ed Curran, Bob Felice, Bill Sullivan, Angel Gomez, and Hal Vaughn. The game is significant in the history of commercial tactical board wargaming for being the first treatment of man-to-man combat in the Second World War. Specifically, the game focused on urban combat between American and German forces.

The game was published in three different formats by SPI; in a simple white box (a trademark of early SPI games), in the more common black counter tray with wraparound cover, and in a "Designer's Edition" with colour box and mounted mapboards. The game was notable for a Simultaneous Movement system of play where orders were pre-plotted and turns were executed simultaneously.

The rulesheet was an unwieldy single page 23" by 35", folded along the divisions between the 10 pages on each side of the sheet. The rules were reasonably complex with procedures for facing and sighting, both horizontal and vertical movement (including ladders, staircases, jumping, and lying prone), fire combat, hand-to-hand combat, rifle grenades, satchel charges, tanks and vehicles, traffic accidents, rocket launchers, flamethrowers, and an eponymous chapter on sniper fire.  A set of optional rules discussed in the designer's notes covered sewer movement and combat.

The map was unique in depicting buildings as parallelograms (though printed material incorrectly used the term trapezoid) in order that the abstracted shapes would allow for consistency in Line of Sight rules.

The game included 1 34" x 22" Map, 2 Sniper charts and tables, Game Rules, 1 Pad of Simultaneous Movement Sheets,  two sets of 2 tanks, two sets of 2 APC's and two sets of 2 trucks as well as one counter sheet with 400 die-cut counters in olive green for the Allies, grey for the Germans, and white system counters. The map itself was in shades of red. Scenarios covered situations on the Eastern Front, North Africa, Italy, France, Yugoslavia, and the Polish uprising. In all, this was a surprisingly comprehensive look at the subject given how early in the history of tactical wargaming this release was made.

The game was fairly well supported by variant articles in Moves magazine, though the additional content was generally shallow in nature, with no new counters, nationalities, vehicles or maps appearing. The game is often linked with Patrol, which appeared in 1974 and focused on man-to-man combat in rural areas. The two games were in fact combined by TSR, Inc. when it acquired SPI properties in the early 1980s, and marketed as the 2nd Edition of Sniper!, and followed by two companion games as well as a science-fiction version.

Articles

Moves

No.8  Apr-May 1973 ►Discussion in "Designer's Notes" column on playtesting of the game.
No.11 Oct-Nov 1973 ►(grognard.com lists a variant article entitled Sniper! Free-For-All by Hank Zucker (Variant) but the actual magazine doesn't appear to contain it).
No.12 Dec-Jan 73-74 ►Questions and Answers
►Tenement (variant by M.E. Clifford - a not-so-serious modern day adaptation including GANGWAR and RIOT-BUSTING reflecting turbulent times prevailing in 1970s New York)
No.15 Jun-Jul 1974 ►The Dogs of War (variant by Dale Johnson, adding war dogs to the game)
No.16 Aug-Sep 1974 ►Sewers in Sniper! (Variant by Lloyd Eric Costen)
No.17 Oct-Nov 1974 ►An Even More Realistic Sniper! (Variant by Phil Kosnett)
No.18 Dec-Jan 74-75 ►Sniper! Game Profile  (Analysis by Martin Campion)
No.19 Feb-Mar 1975 ►Fire Teams in Sniper! (Variant)
No.22 Aug-Sep 1975 ►Opportunity Fields of Fire (Variant by Robert D. Zabik)
No.23 Oct-Nov 1975 ►Errata: Sniper!
No.27 Jun-Jul 1976 ►Scenarios for Modern Games  (Scenarios by Phil Kosnett)
►Additional Variants for Sniper!: (Variant by Thomas Hawkins)
No.30 Dec-Jan 76-77 ►Focusing in on Sniper!  (Variant by Ray Thorne)
►New Terrain Features on Sniper! (Variant by Lloyd Eric Costen)
►Notes from the Polish Underground: (Critique by John Siscoe)

Jagdpanther

No. 4   ►Snipe Hunt!  (Variant by Anthony V. Trevelian)
No. 8   ►Chaplain! (Variant by Rev John K. Dalton )
No. 12   ►Starship Sniper  (Variant by Scott Rusch)
No. 13   ►Sniper-Patrol (Variant by Michael Forbes)

Strategy & Tactics

No. 45 Jul-Aug 1974 ►Simove Observations: (Critique by Gordon P. Cavis)
No. 47 Nov-Dec 1974 ►Combination Play System (Variant)
No. 111   ►Over the Hills and Through the Woods: Campaign Games for Sniper:  (Variant by James E. Meldrum)

Fire & Movement

No. 62 Oct-Nov 1989 ►World War II Anthology: Chapter 2: The Eastern Front: (Review by Rick Swan)

Phoenix Magazine

No. 3   ►Resistance: A New Scenario for Sniper! (SPI) (Scenario/Variant by Bob Latter)
No. 6   ►Modifying Sniper! (SPI) and Patrol! (SPI) (Variant by Martin Thorne)
No. 21   ►World War II Tactical Games Review (Review by Geoff Barnard)

Outposts Magazine

No. 1   ►Snipe Hunt (Scenario by Anthony V. Trevelian)
No. 6   ►PBM: Sniper (Variant by John Trosky)
No. 11   ►Playback: PBM Sniper  (Replay by John Trosky)

 


 

Sniper! House to House Fighting In World War II

Developer: See article
Publisher: Simulations Publications, Inc.
Date of Release: 1973
Scale: Man-to-Man
Players: 2
Campaign Type: None
Components: ► 22" x 35" map
► folded rules sheet
► two doubles side chart/tables
► 30 page plotting book
► 400 1/2" counters
► counter organizer
► vehicle cards
► six-sided die
Sequels: Sniper! 2nd Edition (TSR)


All photos from the webmaster's collection

 

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