Joining the world of tanks


  • TECH
  • Sunday, 03 Jul 2016

Thumbs up: The artwork in the World Of Tanks DBG is an excellent tribute to the online game.

World Of Tanks became one of those familiar names in the world of online gaming. So when it was announced in 2014 that there’d be a deck-building game (DBG) version of the game, I was really excited.

I’m a hardcore card gamer at heart. World Of Tanks stuff, on nice cards? And carrying the same artwork as the online game? Where do I sign up? 

World Of Tanks: Rush is produced under license by Asmodee Games, as it was originally in Russian. It did take awhile to get to Malaysia, as Asmodee did not get to shipping it internationally until early 2015.

Smaller but nice package

The Rush package has slightly over 200 cards. Numbers can be deceiving though, as the “main deck” cards are only 100. In DBGs, players compete to “purchase” or acquire main deck cards, so their own, starting decks, become stronger progressively.

In Rush, players strive to score victory point cards, in the form of Medal and Achievement cards (there’s 48 Medals and 12 Achievements). You can score one medal for destroying an enemy tank, three medals for destroying an enemy base, and five medals for the end-of-game achievement. 

We also Base cards and Barracks (starting deck) cards. Each player starts with three Base cards and six Barracks cards. Very thin deck I must say, since I’m used to my Cryptozoic Cerberus Engine DBG decks which start at ten.

Some claim that The World Of Tanks DBG is best-played by four or five players.
 

The cards themselves look gorgeous. To be completely honest, I only bought this game simply because of the cards. The layout is very clean, refreshing and has good contrasts. The artwork reflects the online game, so it’ll all seem familiar to fans to the online game, while non-online gamers like me will simply admire the good detail and sheer beauty of Rush

The 100 main deck cards are all unique, so no repeated cards. It’s another different trait for this game, meaning that players will all be chasing their own, special cards. Rush has four different nationalities – Nazi Germany, Soviet Union, France and the United States. Bulk of the units seem to come from World War II, with a handful of post-World War II vehicles rounding off the selection.

Card stock used is also very high quality, and the sizing is standard TCG size. 

The rulebook however, disappointed me. The organisation of the content seemed a little mixed up, and I found myself flipping it cover to cover as I struggled to understand the gameplay. Watching YouTube videos of the game’s review made things a lot easier. 

Deploy, and fire

In Rush, you start with three cards in hand, and use the Barracks’ Engineers, Technician and Volunteer cards to buy units from the main line-up. Four cards from the main deck are placed face-up (“Reserve”), so each player has those as buying options every turn. 

You also start with three Base cards, which you’ll need to defend against opponents’ attacks.

The World Of Tanks DBG can be a mystifying ride.
 

Each turn, you have the option of purchasing one Vehicle card from the main deck. Once a purchase is made, you push the remaining cards to the last card furthest from the main deck, filling up the “gap”, and replace the last slot with the top card of the main deck. At the end of the turn, the last vehicle/main deck card is discarded into the “Graveyard”, and the empty card slot simply refilled. 

Instead of buying cards, you may use card abilities, and when possible, place it next to a base to start protecting it. The card abilities are depicted in icons, which seemed unwieldy to me at first. Yes, they’re all explained in the rulebook, though I would have preferred that the whole card ability be printed on the card itself (though that might have overwhelmed the cards’ clean design and layout). 

The third option for you every turn is to assault or attack an opposing enemy base. Simply compare your attacking unit(s) attack stats with the defending player’s units’ defense stats, and go. You can only attack with units from one nation, so it means that you should purchase your cards from a single nation if at all possible.

And that’s pretty much the summary for Rush. When you run out of cards, simply reshuffle and go again. Ditto for the main deck.

Thoughts and conclusion

Now, I’d mentioned how I was really stoked to play this early in this review. Somehow, Rush falls flat for me on several counts. 

First up, the high points: the cards look great. It’s something that should draw the oohs and ahhs when you line this one up at the local café.

Unfortunately, there are several downers. The rulebook can definitely be better organised, as there doesn’t seem to be a logical follow-through. Could also use with more examples, to illustrate key concepts. These guys can take a cue from Cryptozoic Entertainment. DBGs are often mass-market products, so this is a big miss in my books. Rulebooks should read as simple as possible, so anyone can play in minutes (DBGs are always simple, so this should be easily doable). 

Next, the game itself felt a little tedious and too difficult even, at times. Remember that mechanic about attacking with cards from the same country? Let’s just say that it’s easy to literally be stuck with turns that have players do nothing, but let the main deck “refresh” for a few turns straight. New card gamers might be turned off by this, and left frustrated.

The special abilities for the cards, which were left as icons, are also a little clunky. Again, if Rush is positioned as a DBG, and aimed at the casual gaming crowd, I found this problematic as it meant that we’d have to refer to the rulebook again and again, since it would take us a while to remember them all. It’s a piece of unelegant design that could have been avoided, IMHO. 

The cards’ stats, while simple, might have also contributed to the general malaise I felt towards this game. With attack and defence stats of zero, one or two, I felt a little underwhelmed, especially when I was acquiring a Tiger I, a Sherman and a Stuart. Perhaps the intent of the designers was simplification, but the end result became an oversimplification that left things a little too plain for my liking.

Rush could have been one solid product. The end result felt a little flat though. I’ve also read that games tend to be better between three or four players. Anyone have thoughts on this game, and have a different opinion perhaps? Shoot it to yihyang@gmail.com then!

Chee Yih Yang enjoys the old-school feel of card games in a world that embraces the virtual.    

 

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