A few days ago, our fellow 1PG member Josh Malbon announced that his game Die Hitman would be available for free download from the Wargame Vault website for Christmas.
I was busy playing Tainted Grail this week, but at some point I felt that TG wasn't 'gamey' enough. This PnP seemed like a quick gaming fix, so I printed it out and gave it a go.
The rules are easy to understand, but it may take the player one or two tries to figure out how to best navigate the grid map and use the weapons. Despite the dark theme, Josh's illustrations are charming and humorous. I suffered two insta-losses before I realized that a good hitman does not shoot cops and crooks left and right. Instead, you have to be patient, think carefully before you move, and plan ahead.
You start at the lower left of the grid, at the entrance, while your target may be enjoying pasta in an Italian restaurant (you draw a card that shows you where he is hanging out). Cops and crooks are dispersed all over the map, making your life harder. And crowds get in the way when you want to move fast but may also help you hide when you need to. You always start with limited equipment which you can't use repeatedly. In my last game, I chose to kill the target with poison. And I got lucky. Even though he left the restaurant before I could reach him, he eventually moved to the club where he had another meal... It's a bad idea to hit the dance floor on a full stomach. The poison worked and he collapsed under the disco ball while I ran to the other edge of the map and made my exit.
What I like the most about the game is that parts of the world are shifting every round: cops and crooks move. The crowds' consistency changes. The target also moves sooner or later. So even though planning is necessary, things may not turn out the way you expect. You have to take advantage of rooftops, use the grapnel if you have it, and preferably save a couple of action points. Even then, failing a hiding roll when you are face-to-face with a cop or a crook may end your hitman career prematurely. But those are occupational hazards, and being a good assassin takes practice.
The PnP is easy to craft, as long as you have a bit of cardboard to affix the counters on. Do give it a try.