kickstarter Game Preview: V-Commandos

Posted by Jim {Power Gamer} | 19-Nov-14 | 4 comments

V-Commandos logo

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The following is a paid preview for a Kickstarter project. The art work, components and the rules may not be in their final form.

Overview

In V-Commandos players each take on the role of one or more commandos, working together to infiltrate enemy bases, complete objectives and escape. What makes V-Commandos a breath of fresh air in the world of war-themed board games is that the goal is NOT to blast your way through and eliminate everything in your path. The key mechanic in V-Commandos is stealth. The better your team is at staying unnoticed by the enemy, the easier it will be to complete your objective.

At the same time, it’s nearly impossible to not get noticed at some point during your mission, and when it happens your team’s strategy will need to adapt to new threats. The tension and anticipation that the stealth mechanic creates makes V-Commandos a blast to play

v-commandos-game-in-play

Gameplay

The levels in V-Commandos are made up of multiple indoor and outdoor tiles. Whether you’re playing a scenario or single level, it will be the objective cards that show you how to set up each level of the game. The key elements to be aware of as you plan your strategy are the objective points, enemy entry points, alarm space, prison space and exit.

V-Commandos-objective-cards

Commandos
There are a variety of commandos players can choose from, each with special abilities like the medic being able to fully heal other players, or the scout being able to move more easily without being seen by the enemy. Each commando starts with a weapon and supplies, some of which you can customize yourself. The commando tokens that represent the commandos on the board are two sided. The darker side shows when they are in stealth mode, and the red side with the noise symbol shows that they are visible to the enemy.

V-Commandos-characters

Game Round

A game round involves three steps:

  1. Drawing an event card
  2. The commandos turn
  3. The enemy turn

V-Commandos-event

1. Events
The event card will effect the current round of play, typically helping the commandos out, but at times they can benefit the enemy. The event card also shows where the enemy will move. What’s interesting about this is that the commandos will get to take their turn first. It might seem like this gives too much away, but it works perfectly with the theme of the game. Typically infiltration involves carefully studying your enemy’s base and movements, so you would have that type of knowledge.

2. Commandos Turn
Each commando has three actions points (AP) that they can use on their turn. Players can move, perform close combat (if on the same tile as an enemy), shoot, search for supplies, use items and even build traps (bombs). If you want you can even save 1 AP for use at any time which is great if you don’t want to waist an AP by not using it. Since a saved AP can be used any time, you could use it during another player’s turn, during the enemy’s turn, or even save it for your next turn.

Stealth
If you have guns and bombs, why not blast your way through the level? Well, it typically only takes two hits to put a commando into “critical condition” which means they get sent to the prison cell space (which is usually surrounded by locked doors). The second you become visible or alarm the enemy by using bombs, loud guns or passing through large spaces, the enemy will sound the alarm which means that instead of just a few enemies entering the level, a bunch of reinforcements will come, and keep coming. All of a sudden what once was a fairly clear path to your objective is now a path full of enemies!

Some really fun aspects of stealth in V-Commandos involve finding and equipping an enemy uniform, which allows you to walk freely around the board without being noticed. Also, if you’re in “stealth” mode, you can perform close combat on an enemy in your space which allows you to eliminate your enemy without rolling a die. You could even sneak onto a space, set a bomb trap, leave the space, then set it off (of course you’d set off the alarm at that point, but your commando would still be in stealth mode)! One thing to note is that even if you quietly eliminate an enemy, they always drop a random supply token, and some supply tokens will be alarms.

3. Enemy Turn
On the enemy turn you’ll first draw a card for each enemy entry point to determine how many enemies enter the board. If the alarm is sounding, more enemies will enter. Then you move the enemies one space towards any visible commando, or if no commandos are visible you’ll move them towards whatever the event card is showing.

v-commandos-enemy

If an enemy is adjacent to or on the same space as a visible commando they will shoot at the commando, rolling the number of dice indicated on their token.

Operation Complete

Rounds will continue until either all the commandos are in the prison cell (operation failure) or you’ve completed your objectives and escaped the enemy through the exit tile… Operation success!

Who would enjoy this game?

Family Gamer {maybe}
V-Commandos is easy to learn and easier to teach. Working cooperatively as a team always makes for a great family experience. The only reason this is a maybe is due to the subject matter, but the Triton Noir art team has done a great job at making the game approachable to a wide age range.

Social Gamer {no}
There is plenty of player interaction in V-Commandos, but since its a 1-4 player game you won’t be pulling this out with a large group of friends.

Casual Gamer {yes}
V-Commandos is easy to get into, allowing you to spend less time worrying about intricate rules and more time having fun with your friends being stealthy commandos. It’s also very flexible in gameplay time. You can play a quick mission that could take 30 minutes, or a larger scenario that could last a couple hours… whatever your group is in the mood for.

Strategy Gamer {yes}
There’s enough out in the open in V-Commandos where players can really plan and strategize their moves and actions. At the same time, V-Commandos throws plenty of surprises your way with the event cards and dice rolls, but even then you can use strategy and tactics to push the odds in your favor.

Avid Gamer {yes}
This is a game you could pull out with a wide variety of gaming groups. It has plenty of replay value with the variety of objectives and scenarios, as well as the characters with different abilities. If you’ve been waiting for a cooperative game (dare I say “dungeon crawler” like?) with a WWII theme, here it is!

Power Gamer {maybe}
Even though power gamers are used to intricate rules, deep gameplay and lots of miniatures, V-Commandos offers fresh gameplay mechanics with a WWII theme. A group of power gamers looking for a “lighter” game could really enjoy this.

v-commandos-complete

First Impressions

First off, we really liked how we could play through a single objective card very quickly as we were learning the game for the first time. Then once we were comfortable we were able to dive into the larger scenario (called . This means that we could easily teach the game to new players with the same method, rather than having them jump into a large scenario completely “green.”

Speaking of scenarios, we only got to try out one with our prototype of the game, but it was an absolute blast! We had three commandos in the village area that had to take an enemy prisoner while also making their way to an office to send a telegram. One of the three commandos got critically injured and put in prison so the other commandos had to break their way in and patch him up. While that was happening our forth commando (the Scout) was making his way through the depot rigging up explosives.

Once the team completed those objectives, they set off the explosives and ran through the underground base, where after each round the tiles the commandos were just on were removed to simulate the fact that the explosion our scout set off was causing the whole place to fall apart. Oh, and while we’re running for our lives, we had to grab some secret documents and fight off enemy soldiers guarding the exit, one of which was armed with a heavy machine gun! We all made it out just in time, high fives all around.

V-Commandos gameplay

Almost Final Thoughts

We definitely enjoyed our time with V-Commandos. The illustrations are top notch, combined with a very intuitive design of all the cards and components so you’re never left scratching your head.

The hero of this game though is the stealth mechanic. It kept us on the edge of our seats and made us approach things very differently than we normally would, which was quite refreshing. If you’ve played stealth video games like Splinter Cell or Metal Gear Solid and enjoyed them, V-Commandos does an excellent job of bringing that to the tabletop (in fact Triton Noir specifically mentions those games and others as inspiration).

If the other scenarios that come with the full game are anything like the one we played through, V-Commandos will be an excellent game providing hours and hours of epic adventures!

support this game on kickstarter.com

Support this game on kickstarter.com!

{Backing ends December 18th, 8:58am MST}
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Comments (4)

Gamer Avatar
7
Miniature Painter
Intermediate Reviewer
Master Grader

Best of luck on the kickstarter, but it isn’t for me.

Gamer Avatar
10
Canada
Sentinels of the Multiverse fan
Plaid Hat Games fan
Platinum Supporter

@Jim Thanks for the in-depth preview. 🙂 *wishes granted*

Just as I reckoned – this is a table top ‘homage’ to the Commandos V-game series from Y2K days. A fun game of stealth and strategy ‘puzzling’ rather than bullet times. If they can pull this off – it will be most excellent. One of the few ‘war’ games I would play. ‘Flash Point’ meets the Dirty Dozen. 😉 <—@X-hawk My reason for backing (or convincing The Boy to back as this would be a 'war' game I'd play with him.

(Now if only someone would release a Baldur’s Gate or Fallout table top – I could wax nostalgic about all the time I wasted in the den commandeering the patriarch’s computer during semester breaks.) Thankfully, point and click adventures were my main pixelated addiction.

Gamer Avatar

Looks like a cool premise….but $71.21US for mostly cardboard pieces is a deal-killer (and, Nov 2015 = ouch!).
Not trying to be negative; just honest.

Gamer Avatar
8
Norway
Plaid Hat Games fan
AEG fan
Tasty Minstrel Games Fan

This game looks awesome. Gotta dig more into it. Have anyone pledged? What was your main reasons?

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