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SCOPE Stalingrad

In designing SCOPE Stalingrad, it looks like Juan A Nácher has taken his inspiration from the 2001 movie Enemy at the Gates. SCOPE Stalingrad isn't an attempt to recreate the Battle of Stalingrad in World War II, it's a card game that represents the tussle between German and Russian snipers.

Tho' there are notionally rules for playing with 3 or 4, SCOPE Stalingrad is essentially a two-player game where each starts off with a similar deck of cards. The symbols on the top left of these cards show what each represents when they are revealed but you initially play with your cards face down so that your opponent does not know the position of any of your units. Players lay their cards out in matching grids (varying the grid size will shorten or lengthen your playing time) and 'search' for enemy units by targeting an individual card in the opponent's grid. That card is revealed and if it is an enemy unit rather than a vacant area, then you can shoot at it to remove it from play and add to your scoring tally. Shooting, however, reveals information about the position of one of your snipers: you have to mark with a card the 2 x 2 'quadrant' from where the sniper has fired. This means your opponent now knows a sniper is in one of four locations... As an alternative to a 'search' action, players can 'move' cards: rearranging the cards in a 2 x 2 'quadrant'. If you've previously taken a shot with a sniper and your opponent hasn't been successful in immediately taking that sniper out, then taking the 'move' action on your next turn gives you the opportunity to reposition the sniper. Tho' of course, you could be bluffing...

With art by Matias Cazorla, this card game from Draco Ideas delivers a tight contest that feels like a cross between Battleships and Stratego (Jumbo). It can be a bit fiddly setting cards out in a grid and subsequently peeking at your own cards and flipping them as required, so we were pleased that our copy of the game came with a pack of sleeves. We'd certainly recommend sleeving the cards and/or playing on a neoprene mat to make the cards easier to pick up and handle. The game itself tho' plays quickly - even if you go for a 5 x 4 grid - our Board's Eye View plays mostly look around 15 minutes, and about a third of that was time initially setting up our grids.

If you're looking for a brisk game involving a degree of deduction, bluff and counter-bluff, then you should definitely scope out SCOPE Stalingrad.

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