Although I normally don't review multiplayer scenarios, this one stuck in my mind as I encountered it on the Zone a few nights ago. I was interested to discover that the Blacksmith has an exact copy, especially since the host of the game later told me that he had "got it from a friend", whom he was certain had never heard of AoKH.
When I played it on a lazy Monday night, the guy who was our host decided we would play as two teams. One young delinquent started flooding the chat box with four letter words, and the host ended up booting him in annoyance. Too bad he was on my team. When he launched the game, another player from my team got disconnected, thus leaving us 2vs4. Me and my remaining team mate battled on for an hour and a half, until he ended up resigning in boredom. It was getting pretty late, so I decided I should do the same.
Komandos follows the cut-and-dried castle-blood formula, with a twist. You only have access to hand-cannoneers. They automatically respawn to replace casualties, and you have a special "leader" unit with 1000 HP, and two bodyguards with 500 HP each. Every seven minutes, you get a battering ram, and every seventeen minutes you get a "6-Man Ram" with 700 HP. It's a relief you get siege units, because players have strongly fortified bases with several layers of walls guarded by several Bombard Towers. This is probably the single biggest gripe I have with Komandos. If you are a player who likes fast games, don't download this. There is no real motivation to fight, so you can just sit your army behind your walls and basically last out the entire game. Granted, it takes a while to destroy rams with hand-cannoneers, but you have access to a villager who can repair/rebuild fortifications. The annoying "camping" tactic of playing defensively is so tough to counter in this scenario that I can hardly blame my ally for resigning. The designer doesn't seem to take any steps to prevent this strategy, except for making it so that moving your bodyguards and leader into the "leveling-up rings" will raise their HP and attack over time. This is essentially useless, as the stat-raising is maddeningly slow. Apart from the camping issue, I can find no real bugs with this scenario. 4
All players are evenly balanced, starting with the same units and positioning. All players are Turks (c'mon, anything else would be pretty unfair). The playing area is much longer then it is wide, with four players along each side. For some reason, the designer put in two leveling-up rings, one at each end of the field. The players that start in the center of the field are at a disadvantage, as they start a long way away from both rings, and can't easily access them. I'm not knocking off any points for this, as the rings don't really have an effect on gameplay. 5
According to the Review Tutorial, all elements of a scenario factor into creativity. While a few fairly original features have been tacked on, they were clearly only added as an afterthought and don't affect gameplay to a large extent. Komandos plays like any of the blood maps on the Zone. While enjoyable for the first 15 minutes, this scenario soon becomes an exercise in tedium. Gameplay soon shifts into a "attack enemy with army, lose army, get new army, attack enemy with army again" cycle. Perhaps you could have included a few more interesting features, some triggers for punishing those evil campers? -4
The map of Komandos is not pretty, but functional. The playing area has been cordoned off with haystacks, and the leveling-up rings are statues on raised elevation surrounded by flags. I liked the way the map is split down the middle,with tiles on one side and ice on the other, giving it a look of clinical precision. There is no eye-candy to speak of, and the whole map looks a bit bland. As said, the pocket players are at a disadvantage as they start further away from the leveling-up rings. -4
A question: why is there no story in this scenario? With a premise as good as Komandos has, it is screaming for one. Something along the lines of The Hunt For Red October or Ice Station should do the trick. :) On the brighter side, hints are abundant, explaining every aspect of the scenario thouroughly. Hints and no story is worth a 3.
If you have a good deal of time on your hands, Komandos could just be your thing. Despite some questionable decisions on the designer's part (making it almost impossible to defeat a player being foremost among these), overall it's a good multiplayer scenario.