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Designer: Kevan Davis
Year: unknown
Players: 2+
Stuff required: Walkie-talkies (but mobile phones will do); optional ribbons or other identifiers.
Crew required: None
Preparation: None
Time required: 30 minutes
Place required: A large area with plenty of cover.
Activities: Sneaking, hiding.
This is a playable game - it's finished, tested and ready to play.
This game is made available under an Attribution-Noncommercial Creative Commons licence. (What does this mean?)

A game of sneaking and sniping, using walkie-talkies or mobile phones.

Two-player gameplay

Pick a playing area. You want a large, clearly-defined area with plenty of cover to break things up - a park with lots of trees and features can be good, or an agreed area of urban environment.

Each player has a walkie talkie tuned to the same frequency (or simply a mobile phone, after exchanging numbers). If you're playing against someone you might not recognise at a distance, then you should both wear a ribbon or some other distinguishing item of clothing. Pick a start and end time for the game, and disperse into the playing area - the game shouldn't start until both players have had a few minutes to split up.

Once the game has started, each player attempts to hunt down the other, trying to catch them in the open while concealing their own position. At any time, one player (the "sniper") may call the other (the "target") on the walkie talkie to say "Stop, I can see you.", or words to that effect. Both players have to stand perfectly still, and can engage in a little Bourne-style banter to confirm that the sniper really can see the target ("I hope you're enjoying that cup of coffee, as it may be your last"). If you're playing in a busy area or public building, you might want to tone down any overt mention of "sniping" in the radio chatter, to avoid upsetting anyone - games we've played have usually tended towards a brisk "Heads up, I can see you." "Okay, you got me."

Once confirmed, the target is "shot" and immediately loses a life, and the sniper has to spend the next thirty seconds reloading - the sniper is allowed to duck behind cover to do this, but cannot move more than a couple of feet, and can't fire during this time (if a sniper is caught moving within thirty seconds of a shot, they immediately lose the game). It's up to the target whether they look around and try to shoot back, or make a run for it.

Each player starts with three lives; when you've lost your third life, the other player wins. If you're both still alive when the game ends, then the player with the most lives left wins.

More than two players

To scale the game up for more players, split the group into two teams. A player can snipe anyone on the opposing team, but should use their name (or codename, if you want to be more dramatic) when the shot is made, so that it's clear to other listeners who's been hit.

When a hit is scored, instead of losing a life, the shooter gains a point, and each team totals their points at the end. To avoid too much stalking, a single player can't shoot the same target twice in a row, or more than once per minute - they have to find another target in the mean time (and can't snap back and forth between two visible targets every few seconds).

Consequently, the thirty-second "reload" period is dropped; if you happen to spot two enemy players in the open, you can take both of them out at the same time, in one radio call.

Play history

  • Schniper was playtested in Regent's Park, London, in June 2009.
  • Multiplayer Schniper was developed in Kew Gardens in April 2010.