Maybe you’ve long admired Wargaming’s World of Tanks and its mobile cousin, World of Tanks Blitz from afar, knowing your tank-handling skills just can’t quite cut it in the throes on multiplayer armored mayhem. Or, you might be a fan of card battle games who’s tired of the same old fantasy setting. Happily, the solution to both dilemmas is now in the closed beta test phase, meaning it might not be long before you’ll have it on your tablet.
It’s called World of Tanks Generals, and Wargaming.net is using the current closed beta period to work some of the kinks out of both the PC and mobile versions. In short, it’s exactly what it sounds like: a game that takes the 20th century tanks, vehicles and artillery that the company already knows so well and uses them for the basis of one-on-one card battles.
That high concept might be difficult to wrap your head around until you see it in action. Instead of operating a single tank, you are the commander of an entire armored battalion, with one card that represents youe headquarters and a deck of cards made up of vehicles, support units and instant actions called orders. Every card has a resource cost needed to play it, and controlling the flow of resources for both you and your opponent is a key part of the gameplay like it is in many card games.
The real cleverness comes in the way the designers worked range and spotting into the action. Cards are deployed onto a 5-by-3 grid, and while tanks and tank destroyers can only fire at units next to them, artillery can hit anything on the board — but only provided a unit has eyes on the enemy by being adjacent to it. There are other differences between unit types too, as light tanks can move two spaces, while heavy tanks can’t move diagonally and can only fire once per turn.
Even though your aim doesn’t have to be good to be successful, you still have to think quickly. Generals gives you something akin to a chess clock, leaving you two minutes per turn and 15 minutes overall to make your moves in any match. You can win by destroying the enemy HQ (the most common win condition) or by timing them out or running them out of cards.
In-between games, the tech tree from other Wargming titles makes an appearance, except now you’re researching new cards and more powerful headquarters. Once you unlock and purchase cards, you are free to add them to your deck, but using more powerful cards can bump you up to the next matchmaking tier, where your opponents’ decks are also much more formidable.
The PC version of World of Tanks Generals feels more polished overall at this point, but it also had a head start. The mobile interface is simple and intuitive to use, as you simply tap on cards you want to play or hold down on them to call up their stats and abilities. Chat and other options are hidden away until you pull them down, and the whole set-up is very promising. I have a tendency to think of Hearthstone as a tablet game that just happens to be playable on PC as well, and it wouldn’t surprise me if I feel that way about Generals when it makes its official release as well.
Wargaming isn’t quite ready to say when that might be, but the company has hinted that it might have some announcements to share soon. I, for one, can’t wait, as I’ve got a lot of payback to enact on all those people who have blown me up in World of Tanks. Like, a whole lot.