A board game for two players published by Talicor, 1996; Designed by Bruce Whitehill
These comments copyright 1996, 2002 by Steffan O'Sullivan
This page last updated February 2, 2002

What is it?

Stealth is a science fiction tactical game from a company that has previously only made educational games. It's an impressive first foray into the two-player wargaming field. To be honest, the science fiction flavor is very light - there is no background, and no real science, and it's only a step away from being simply an abstract game. Nonetheless, it's a very good game.


The components are adequately attractive, though I really want to complain about the box being four times as large as it needs to be. When you own as many games as I do, storage becomes a problem, and I appreciate compact boxes that do their job with a minimum of leftover space. But the board is a quality map nicely mounted, and the pieces are three-dimensional plastic rather than cardboard. Even the movable "destroyed" markers are static-cling vinyl.

Each side has six Stealth Attack Modules - grey and black plastic covers that vaguely resemble space ships of some sort - or maybe igloos, come to think of it. What makes the game interesting, however, are the Power Pieces that fit inside the Stealth Modules. Each side has one red Power Piece, and two each of Blue, Green, Yellow, and White Power Pieces. Five of your Stealth Modules contain one each of the different colors; the sixth Stealth Module contains your choice of the duplicated colors.

Power Pieces

The Power Pieces fit inside the Stealth Modules, and snap out easily. When placed on the board, the color of the Power Piece is only visible from the back of the unit. Since facing doesn't otherwise matter in this game, the backs of the units are always kept toward the owning player. Your opponent's pieces all look identical to you - and yours to him, a bit like the old Stratego game, except there are far fewer pieces. You don't even know the exact composition of his fleet, since his sixth Stealth Module contains an unknown color.

Each of the five different colors of Power Pieces has a different property, all of which are clearly stated on each side of the board for convenience. Red Power Pieces are the Lasers - they may fire up to seven spaces away on the hex-grid map. Yellows are Ringers - they may fire only one space away, but shoot into all adjacent spaces. When a red or yellow Power Piece is fired, the Stealth Module cover is removed, and the Power Piece must make its way back to headquarters to "recharge" - have the Stealth Module snapped back in place so it can fire again.

The blue Power Pieces are Blasters - they destroy all pieces in a two-hex range. Green Power Pieces are Starbursts - they have a three-hex range in all six directions at once, but only in straight lines. Both blue and green Power Pieces are destroyed themselves when they detonate - no recharging for them. The ability to take out multiple pieces, however, is their forte. When a blue or green Power Piece is destroyed by an enemy shot, by the way, they also explode. If you're not careful in your placement of your ships, your enemy's Laser can set off a chain reaction that can wipe out your fleet in one shot!

The white Power Pieces are Decoys - they can't hurt anything. They can win the game, though, if you can get one into the enemy HQ. There is no reason to take the second white Power Piece as your sixth unit, except as a handicap if you are an experienced player teaching the game to someone new.

The Board

The board has some interesting features: amber hexes and green hexes are identical in function except you may only start your Blocker on amber hexes on your half of the board. The blocker is a seven-hex piece of vinyl that becomes unplayable space. There are a few black spaces near the borderline between the two sides which are also unplayable. Then there are the Portals: four sets of spaces numbered 1 to 6. If you move onto one Portal space, you may move on your next turn to any other Portal with the same number. Portals can be destroyed, just as ships can. Destroyed ships stay on the board as obstacles, by the way.


The object of the game is to destroy all enemy ships, or enter their HQ, or block off their HQ with destroyed ships, or even make it so a ship cannot move its full two spaces. There are point rules provided (so many points for surviving ships, blocking an HQ, etc.) and you are supposed to play what I estimate is three games-worth of points. Or you could just play best of three and skip the points ... or simply just play a single round if that's more to your taste.

Why Wouldn't You Like This Game?

Some people don't like hidden value games. If this is you, don't try this one.

Some people prefer their science fiction games to have a better adapted theme. This is pretty thinly pasted on - it really is just an abstract game and can be a bit dry - and you may not like abstract games.

The portals can bother some people - they prefer a more straightforward deployment without having to worry about invasions from the rear. Well, you could just play without the portals.

Summing Up

The game plays well, due to the hidden nature of the enemy's pieces. All pieces move two spaces, so there is no clue as to what is coming toward you until either you shoot it, or it shoots you. Will it zap you from seven spaces away, or dash into the midst of your fleet, taking out three ships at once as it detonates itself? Or is it a decoy, sent to lure you away from guarding this portal entry? Only your opponent knows for certain ...

Recommended if you like hidden value games of tactical movement.

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