No one was more surprised than me when I heard that a card game based on World of Tanks was being added to the Wargaming line-up. World of Tanks Generals is a free-to-play, browser-based Collectible Card Game focused on tank combat (with in-game purchases to support the ‘free’ part, obviously). I was lucky enough to get hold of a Closed Beta key, and I’m going to tell you what I think about WoTG, but before we begin I should tell you I’m no great CCG fan and I’m pretty hard to please. Not only does the game have to be enjoyable, but the setting has to be right too — the why has to make sense.
So, TLDR: World of Tanks Generals is easy to pick up but hard to put down. I’ve had it running in the background whilst I’ve been writing this, and it’s taken me 2 hours to get this far — I’ve been playing the “just one more game and then I’ll get started” card for a while now. At first, you might be fooled into thinking it’s a simple game, maybe a bolt-on for the main series, but once you blow its armoured outer shell off, you’ll find a pretty complex strategy game comprised of attack, defence and resource management phases. It doesn’t take long to see that the average generals play their current turn hoping to get lucky on the next card, while the great generals have their moves planned in advance, and even have back-up plans depending on what their opponent counters with.
Currently, the game offers playable Russian, German and US forces. Each has different attributes that, if used correctly, will compliment your preferred play-style. In time-honoured CCG tradition, you begin by constructing a deck from over 200 unique cards which are split into four roles: Headquarters (the destruction of this card is the aim of the game), Units (tanks, artillery, anti-tank guns), Squads (infantry that support your HQ in either attack or defence), and Orders (Special one-off effect cards). In an echo of its parent MMO, World of Tanks, you earn research points with which you can unlock new cards and further customise your deck to suit your needs. In the search for the ultimate deck and in trying to negate the [un]luck of the draw, I found myself tinkering with my units and support cards after each match to get the balance just right (“Celebrate your victories but learn from your losses”, as General Sir Dig. S. Bick once said). Did I have too many hard-hitting, heavily armoured but resource-intensive tanks and not enough quick, cheap, light tanks, or was it due to not having the right orders? Your deck of 40 cards offers many plates to spin…
The Russians are a good bet for starters, sort of a Jack-of-all-trades-but-master-of-none. Their Headquarters has by far the highest HP out of everyone’s, and if you can combine this with lots of resource producing cards, the Russians are a formidable force. On the other side of the Polish sandwich, the Germans are the powermongers, with a hard-hitting HQ that suits quick wins with blitzkrieg tactics. They also seem like the hardest nation to play, because if you mess up you can quickly find yourself buckling under unstoppable counter attacks.
The US gives its players one additional resource point, and although that doesn’t sound like much, it could mean the difference between deploying two cards or just one. With the Americans, you can forgo stronger attacks or having a stronger HQ for the ability to keep your resources piled high. Although I’ve only played the game for a little over a week (and I’m still using the Training decks), as it stands the US seem to be slightly OP, and it would be nice to see their Base HP reduced by a point, for balance.
So that’s World of Tanks Generals for you. I’ve also had my eye on World of Warships, and I’m looking forward to getting involved in some naval battles. But until then I’m stuck on dry land, and while I could easily have passed this armoured card game over for something else, I’m glad I didn’t. Right now, WoTG is a solid, enjoyable experience, and even if you’re not a regular CCG fan, do have a look — it’s got replayability coming out of every orifice and it’s free. What have you got to lose?