V-Commandos - Board Game Box Shot

V-Commandos

| Published: 2016
5 7

Take on the role of WWII commandos, using stealth to your advantage, to complete heroic military operations.

go to: Who would enjoy this game?

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-setup

Gameplay

The operations in V-Commandos are made up of multiple terrain cards, each with indoor and outdoor tiles. Whether you’re playing a quick game or a full operation, it will be the terrain 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 location(s), enemy entry points, alarm location, and trap doors.

Commandos
There are a variety of commandos players can choose from, and each commando’s card has two sides that offer different play-styles and abilities for that commando. Each commando starts with a weapon and supplies and has two tokens used to represent the character on the board. You’ll only use one token at a time, but each side shows a different state for your commando: stealthy, visible, disguised in German uniform, or critically injured.

Game Turn

A game turn involves three phases:

  1. Event Phase
  2. Commando Phase
  3. Enemy Phase

1. Event Phase
The event card will effect the current turn, typically helping the commandos out, but at times they can benefit the enemy. The event card also shows the direction the enemy will move. What’s interesting about this is that the commandos will get to take their turn before the enemy. 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 location and movements, so you would have that type of knowledge.

2. Commando Phase
Each commando has three actions that they can use on their turn. Players do a variety of actions like moving stealthily, performing a close combat attack, shooting, using equipment and even setting TNT charges. If you want you can also save an action for use later which is great if you don’t want to waist an action by not using it. Since a saved action 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 TNT, why not blast your way through the game? Well, the second you become visible or spotted by the enemy when using TNT, loud guns or passing through large spaces, the enemy will sound the alarm which means that instead of just a few enemies entering the terrain, 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 move more easily and stealthily around the board. 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 TNT charge, 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 might get you spotted.

3. Enemy Phase
At the start of the enemy turn reinforcements will enter on specific locations. If the alarm is sounding, twice the amount of enemies will enter. Then you move the enemies one space towards any visible commando, or if no commandos are visible you’ll move them in the direction shown on the event card.

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 Success!?

Turns will continue until all objectives have been met and at least one commando escapes through a trap door. If all the commandos are eliminated, the enemy reserve is empty, or a failure condition occurs, the operation will be a failure. Strategic planning is key in V-Commandos.

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.
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.
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 operation that could last a few hours… whatever your group is in the mood for.
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.

Final Thoughts

We definitely enjoy our time with V-Commandos. The artwork and components are top notch. The design of the training book, rulebook, cards and components is very intuitive, so you’re never left scratching your head.

The Training Booklet is a genius way to allow new players to quickly get into the action, and then gradually learn the deeper mechanics. You can also play just one terrain card as a quick mission if you’re teaching other players how to play or only have time for a quick game.

The hero of this game 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).

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