Having recently purchased Command and played through most of the Tutorial scenarios, I'd be interested to know how my experiences tally with those of other players. Let's take a look at the six 'Uncle Mark's Tutorials'.
The first one pits three NATO destroyers/frigates and a submarine against three Soviet destroyers/cruisers and a submarine. Both sides have one or more ASW helicopters. Overall, I found this a good, balanced game with atmosphere. Used my choppers and surface ships as a recce screen and kept the US sub back to provide heavy duty firepower against confirmed targets. After a lot of tense shadow-boxing, things burst into life and I managed a minor win by sinking the Soviet flotilla at a cost of one of my frigates and a chopper. There wasn't much alternative to manually marking contacts as hostile if you wanted to win, but the game does give you enough clues to do this reliably most of the time. Didn't find the enemy sub, but this didn't overly matter.
Next up was a 1970s air scenario, postulating a British strike against Idi Amin's Uganda. This is complicated by the latter having bought rather a lot of Russian MiG-21 jets. Found Shackleton long-range recce planes very useful for spotting hostile contacts and my Lightning fighters frustrating short on endurance. Took a few more losses than I'd have liked (six planes)and was taken aback by the numbers of defenders, but shot down 20 enemy jets, completed the recce missions and did enough damage to the airport at Entebbe to get a major victory. Exciting stuff!
The third scenario gives you the US cruiser Yorktown and her ASW helicopter on a mission to confirm the principle of freedom of navigation in the Gulf of Sidra, off Gadhafi-era Libya. Enjoyably, the idea here is to avoid hostilities if at all possible and there are some interesting judgement calls early on as you are buzzed by Libyan jets while seeking to find a diesel submarine and show it you COULD kill it if you wanted to. Did all this, at which point the Libyans turned nasty. Yorktown can defend herself pretty well, but it probably only takes one stroke of bad luck to cost you dearly. Thankfully, this didn't happen and I won another major victory.
So far, so good. Unfortunately, the next scenario was a far less satisfying experience. In 'Boston Guards the Denmark Strait', you have a US nuclear sub, charged with destroying a Soviet convoy, which is incongruously en route for North Africa. This is guarded by a trio of surface escorts, a pair of admittedly-inferior subs and a couple of ASW choppers (though you have to find this out by trial and error). There are a couple of British units in theatre, but they are useless, out of your control and don't get near the action. You have a whole pile of problems. Without foreknowledge, it is easy to miss the convoy completely as it goes down the Greenland side of the Denmark Strait (I initially bet on the Iceland side). Your sensors are inefficient and it is very hard to spot the convoy, especially if you obey your EMCON orders. Turning on your active search sonar helps, but makes you easier to detect, which doesn't. You sometimes have anti-surface missiles loaded when you need ASW ones (or vice versa), which is just great when you're fighting both at once. Targets can go from precise to imprecise and, on one of my many attempts, this caused a Tomahawk to sail past the convoy, fly into the blue and randomly sink a neutral trawler that just happened to be in the way and out of detection range over 100nm off. You only have 4 Tomahawks and 4 Harpoons with which to do a LOT of damage if you want to win, as it's too risky to approach within torpedo range of the convoy. Above all (as seems to be standard in Command), once an ASW helicopter gets wind of your sub, you are doomed. It didn't help that Boston refused to release decoys on one occasion, but they are of only marginal use, anyway.
Frankly, it would need a miracle to win this one - unless anyone out there has thought of something I haven't.
Moved on to the next scenario, Motozintla Incursion. This, too, was a sobering experience. Guatemala is retaliating against Mexico for firing on one of its fishing boats by sending a ground column to trash the border town of Motozintla. To stop them, you have an infantry recon platoon, a recon drone, four helicopters armed with rockets and four F-5 fighters that, in practice, can't get there in time. The drone is very useful for recon, has great endurance and should be gotten out there ASAP. The infantry are very vulnerable if spotted (as they were first time despite being motionless in close terrain). They get a chance to snipe at a Guatemalan recon chopper but, in practice, you are lucky to see it long enough to draw a bead. I never managed to get a shot off and the chances of a kill aren't great even if you do. It's best to see if this happens, then get the infantry out of Dodge, as you lose too many points if you get them killed. The choppers are hopelessly inaccurate. Despite slowing down to attack, I fired 128 rockets in two playthroughs and didn't manage to destroy a single target. Maybe I'm just unlucky? As the F-5s can't get there in time because they take too long to ready, the Guatemalans have time to wreck Motozintla before the helicopters can return for another go. The Guatemalan order of battle seems to vary from one playthrough to the next, by the way, which is good in some ways, but makes a bad situation less predictable.
Again, you need a miracle to win this one, but does anyone have any suggestions? For that matter, it's supposed to be a tutorial for new players like myself, but it only gives you very high-level tips which I could have worked-out for myself.
Haven't played the last scenario in the series (Toledo Hits 'Em Hard') yet. May report on it later, depending on what response I get to this.
There are many things going for Command as a game and I badly want to like it, but play balance definitely seems to be an issue in some scenarios at least. In the other tutorials, the author of Northern Inferno warns that it's very hard and success can be measured in terms of how badly you get beaten (haven't bought it yet, but am not encouraged to). Again, opinions, please!