Drug Wars on Steem - Intermediate Game Guide: Battles

in #drugwarslast year (edited)

If you haven't tried Drug Wars, I highly suggest you try it out. I have logged more hours than I care to admit, lol. It is definately a fun/addicting game. If you are not playing yet, you are missing out ;)

One of the bigger challenges to the game is that there is a bit of a learning curve. In my last post, I created a Beginners Game Guide to help players with the process of getting started in the game. If you haven't read that yet and you are still learning the basics of the game, I suggest starting there.

In this post, I will expand on that guide with an intermediate guide on the battle process. Battles are one area that have confused a lot of players, but thanks to some info and tools from the @drugwars team - it is now possible to understand.

  • In the game's Discord channel, the @drugwars team recently provided everyone with the source code for battles.
  • The @drugwars team also provided a battle simulator that players can use to see how a battle will play out given a certain set of attacking and defending units (without having to risk actual units in battle).

Understanding Battles

Disclaimer: This guide is written to the best of my ability based on my understanding of the source code, but I cannot guarantee it is error free. Also, the game mechanics are subject to change at any time, so there is no guarantee that battles will always continue to work in the way described by this guide.

[EDIT] With all of the changes that have been made to the battle system, there are parts of this guide that are out of date, and there are many parts of the new battle system that are not covered.

Unit Order

The first thing to understand with battles, is that the units attack and defend in a certain order. The order is based on the priority value from the units.json file. The current order (updated as of 3/11/2019) is: rowdy, bouncer, knifer, big_mama, ninja, gunman, sniper, hitman, bazooka, mercenary.


The next thing to understand is that units of a certain type are all grouped together. In other words, if you attack with 5 rowdy units and 6 bouncer units, your 5 rowdy units are in one group, and your 6 bouncer units are in a second group.

The amount of damage that a group does is the attack value for the unit type, times the amount of units in the group. Continuing with the same example, a rowdy does 2 damage, so if you have 5 rowdy units, then that group does 2 * 5 = 10 damage.

Both Sides Attack and Both Sides Defend

Another thing that confuses a lot of people is that when you attack, the units on both sides will deal attacking damage to each other. (The attacker's units deal damage to the defender's units, and the defender's units deal damage to the attacker's units.)


The attacks take place in rounds. In each round, damage is dealt from both sides groups to the other side's groups. If there are surviving units on both sides, then the process repeats with another round. This continues until either:

  • All of the units on one side (or both sides) are dead.
  • Five rounds take place, and both sides still have surviving units.

Pairing Groups for Damage

(This is probably the hardest part of battles to understand.)

In each round, the game pairs the attacking groups with the defending groups to assign damage. The main key to understand here is that all of the units in one group will attack together, and they can only attack one of the opposing team's groups per round.

When pairing the groups, it assigns the pairs in the order above (rowdy units are paired first, mercenary units are paired last). The defending group that the attacking group is paired to is also assigned using the order above (defending rowdy units are picked first, defending mercenary units are picked last).

If the attacking side has more groups than the defending side, then the order starts over at the beginning after it passes the end.

After the attacking groups are assigned to the defending groups to assign damage, then the defending groups are assigned to the attacking groups to assign damage back. Note: A unit group from the defending side may not be paired to deal damage to the same unit group that it is receiving damage from.

I assume most people are confused at this point :) Let's try an example.

  • Player A attacks Player B.
  • Player A has rowdy:1, bouncer:5, knifer:1.
  • Player B has bouncer:1, sniper:1.
  • Player A's rowdy group will deal damage to Player B's bouncer group (in round 1).
  • Player A's bouncer group will deal damage to Player B's sniper group (in round 1).
  • Player A's knifer group will deal damage to Player B's bouncer group (in round 1).
  • Player B's bouncer group will deal damage to Player A's rowdy group (in round 1).
  • Player B's sniper group will deal damage to Player A's bouncer group (in round 1).

Does that make sense? If not, it may be good to play around with the simulator for a bit so you can see how it plays out in a few different scenarios.

Assigning Damage

After the pairs are assigned, each group deals damage to the opposing group that it is assigned to. The damage is applied to the defense value of the units in the group. If the damage value equals or exceeds the defense value of the units in the group, then all of the units in the group will die. If the damage value is less than the defensevalue of the units in the group, then it will only kill enough units in the group to use up all the damage.

Example: If a group of 10 rowdy units (2 defense each) is receiving 15 damage, then only 7 of the 10 rowdy units will die.

Win, Loss, Draw, or Continue?

After the round is complete, then it will check to see if all of the units on either side have died.

  • If all of the units on the attacking side died, but the defender has surviving units, then the defender won.
  • If all of the units on the defending side died, but the attacker has surviving units, then the attacker won.
  • If all of the units on both sides died, then it is a draw.
  • If both sides have surviving units, then the process starts over with a new round. New groups are assigned based on the remaining units, and the same steps described above are repeated. (This occurs up to five times.)


If the attacker won, then they will loot the defending player. As described in the beginners guide, the attacker can loot any resources above the defending player's "safe" amounts.

Only the units that survive the battle can carry loot home. Each unit will be able to carry X amount of drugs, X amount of alcohol, and X amount of weapons - where X is the carrying capacity of the unit.

Bonus - Opponent Finding Tip

A lot of players have struggled to find evenly matched opponents using the "Find Targets" feature in the game. A good way to find additional opponents that are not listed there is to use the "Transfer Search" on https://steemworld.org/ to see who the @drugwars account is transferring tokens to, or look for the same data on https://steemdb.com/@drugwars/transfers.


I hope this helps players who have been confused by the battle process. If it is still confusing to you, I suggest you try a few battles out on the simulator to see what happens under different scenarios.

Good luck, and have fun!


Amazing work.
I'm very glad they open sourced the project.
This is a very good sign.

The order has changed; all melee goes first:

  1. Rowdy
  2. Bouncer
  3. Knifer
  4. Ninja
  5. Big Mama
  6. Gunman
  7. Sniper
  8. Hitman
  9. Bazooka
  10. Mercenary

It looks like it is now:

Post updated - thanks!

Great guide, sadly the official blog doesn't even bother to write something like this.

Just a guess, but they probably have limited resources and are trying to focus on improving the game. They provided the info (source code and simulator) that allowed someone from the community (me) to create a guide.

Even if that's the case, an information this crucial should be known by ALL players. At the very least it will be helpful if they just resteem this very post.

A++++ they included it IN the game !

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You just planted 0.11 tree(s)!

Thanks to @fuadsm

We have planted already
8296.14 trees
out of 1,000,000

Let's save and restore Abongphen Highland Forest
in Cameroonian village Kedjom-Keku!
Plant trees with @treeplanter and get paid for it!
My Steem Power = 26114.29
Thanks a lot!
@martin.mikes coordinator of @kedjom-keku

Great work on this guide Tim this is really valuable, I could not do better explanation of the fight system, this is is exactly it!

Ok we've added your guides in help section :) https://drugwars.io/help

Awesome, thanks :)

Hey mate any tips for what to have in your army when starting up?

Posted using Partiko Android

Try to keep your available resources below your 'safe' amount so that you are not a target. Having a mix is good. Rowdys are a cheap way to hold off a lot of damage from more expensive units. Bouncers also help hold off damage, and they do more damage back. Big Mama's are good for defense. Bazooka guy's are good for doing lots of damage. Mercenaries are good to add once you have enough of the smaller ones, as they are a good final line of defense.

Awesome thanks a lot

Posted using Partiko Android

Does anyone know if there is a search for players? Thanks again Mark

Posted using Partiko Android

I use steemworld.org. There is a transaction search near the bottom, where you can search for any players that received a transaction from @drugwars.

Great can you see there army?

Posted using Partiko Android

It just gives you a list of accounts. You still have to open them up in the game.

Sorry how do i open them up in game with fighting them first?

Posted using Partiko Android

They just changed the battle mechanics a few hours ago. That is no longer possible. A new strategy is you can send a "scout" (one cheap resource) and see what happens to him. Based on that, you can decide whether or not to send more troops.

Do you know how to join a gang?

Posted using Partiko Android

There is a channel for gang recruitment in their Discord.

So are you saying that it will never be possible to view enemy resources and troops again?

They are planning to add a spy unit. In the meantime, send 1 rowdy and you can see what they have.

That's a shame ok great thanks for letting me know.

Posted using Partiko Android

It's a worst decission

Agreed mate.

Posted using Partiko Android

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Hi Tim,
Where do I find my Units I paid for?
Looks like I only have one? but paid for many?
Also paid for many additions but NO explenation where to view and verify? Look in my wallet, I have paid Over and over and over...? what the?

Can you head to the Discord channel and ask for help in #helpdesk? It is possible that the transactions didn’t go through and your resources were not spent.

I have gone through the post and I see 2 stats completely missing. The speed of a unit and the attack strategy.
Is it kept for future use or it has any role to be played in these battles.
Is it that speed decides which group of units will attack first ?

Posted using Partiko Android

Speed controls how long it will take for the battle to complete after it is queued. (It will use the slowest time out of all units in the selected group.)

There is a link in the post to a more advanced guide on battles.

I’m not sure what you mean by attack strategy.

Some units have range attack, some are melee. Does that make a difference ?

Posted using Partiko Android

From what I see in the code, it is factored into the order, although it is not explicitly used.

Thanks for your in depth analysis. It was definitely helpful.
So a good strategy would be to make groups of different types of units instead of one big group of bouncers.

Posted using Partiko Android

Another question to the master. Do my defense troops have anything to do with the battle duration. If the attacker sends Ninjas for attack the battle ends in 5 minutes. But if I have big mamas for defence will the battle duration be dragged longer ?

Can I give resources to my friends??

Posted using Partiko Android

No, although you can technically purchase FUTURE (or STEEM) tokens and send them those. Drugs, Weapons, and Alcohol are not transferable.

O cool thanks I will have to look into that.

Posted using Partiko Android

This is very interesting and useful information. I would prefer it though if the risk was slightly higher (not your issue - the game's issue) by having a certain amount of chance. In my experience playing games, whether board, video or rpg, the games that combine luck and strategy tend to be more fun than those that rely on only one of the two.
I'd rank them best to worst as:
Uses luck and strategy
Uses strategy only
Uses luck only

I think there should be an amount of chance determined by maths behind the scenes in that the damage and defense numbers might be within a certain range for a certain strength and the chance determines what amount in that range occurs.

Before discovering that chance doesn't appear to play a role, I have deliberately gotten into fights with people with a similar or exactly the same army as me to see what happens. Ofc we got a draw. Discovering the lack of risk and reward in doing this made this a lot duller and I lost interest in the battles a lot quicker. I also have fought people I knew I would win because that is a strategy that works, but playing with a slight risk is also fun and it's disappointing that the game mechanics are too predicatable for that unfortunately.

Thank you so much, at least now I will know why I am getting killed. :)

@timcliff THX a lot for this..
I have top say this algo ist mega BS!
Just play around with it... as there is no "spill over" effect of surplus attack points you can "cheat" by sending in one unit each just to take away the complete hit of one unit group.. mega BS!

It is what it is. You call it "cheating", I call it "strategy" - lol.

Clowns love it!

They SURE do!

Love is the Law, love under will.
The Reverend Maelstrohm Black



Thanks for this insight. It is a complicated mechanism though, and it seems quite hard to predict the losses one has to face in battle. If I understand this correctly, a difference between melee and ranged units does not exist? The why put the information there at first place?
Mystery after mystery...

Well, it is factored into the order. In terms of being hard to predict, you can always run it through the simulator first and see what will happen.

Yeah, but does it make sense that a rowdy is faster with hitting his target than a sniper?^^
I mean I know it's game, but...

Well whatever, thanks again!

Great guide, very useful!

Posted using Partiko iOS

Nice one Sir!!

Thanks @timcliff what a great and useful post.
I explained an example at another post and renamed the Game a bit - Just for fun!.

Why is my training facility not upgrading?

Posted using Partiko Android

Not sure. Ask for help in their Discord channel #helpdesk.

Great thanks a lot I will

Posted using Partiko Android

1 question

Imagine that i have 5 bouncers on time and 5 knifers.... Oposite time attack my 5 bouncers in 1 round and they died. At this SAME round, this attack go to knifers or it just will happen in next round?:

I suggest trying out the simulator to see it in action, although the answer to your question is that if they only had one group (for example all ninjas) their attack will not carry over to your knifers in the current round. It will need to wait until the next round.

thank you a lot, man!

Thanks for the Nice info. It’s help me to make a beginning of this game

Hi, do you have any idea if targets resources and troops will be online again?

There is a recent post by @drugwars that explains the changes.

Thank you for this beautiful guide! I started a week ago and I focused on upgrading my resources production and silos. I just have a few troops.
I'm taking it easy, let's see how this will evolve. :)

Amazing work! Thanks for the explanations!

How do I get steem pay out on drugwars. I don't want future coin? Thanks again

Posted using Partiko Android

I don’t know. You will have to ask the drugwars team.

Thanks a lot

Posted using Partiko Android

Sorry mate I never meant this to be seen as begging more asking / advertising. I hope you understand. Thanks Mark

Posted using Partiko Android

This post has been included in the latest edition of SoS Daily News - a digest of all the latest news on the Steem blockchain.

Re-steemed for future reference because I'm having lunch right now.

Posted using Partiko Android

Excelente post, Gracias a tí ya se como es la movida... Una preguntica, ¿Mientras más invierta en el Heist, Mas ganancias obtendre? O puedo meterle toda la droga al Heist diario¿? O me recomiendas guardarla y utilizarla en mejorar y en batallas¿?

Posted using Partiko Android

Cuanto más inviertas en el atraco, más STEEM ganarás. Sin embargo, hay una compensación, porque entonces no tendrá tanto para mejorar sus edificios. Depende de usted cómo quiere jugar el juego.

"A good way to find additional opponents that are not listed there is to use the "Transfer Search" on https://steemworld.org/ to see who the @drugwars account is transferring tokens to, or look for the same data on https://steemdb.com/@drugwars/transfers" - timcliff

This part of the post just answered my main question... Thank you so much! Both of your guides are great work!

Posted using Partiko Android

Hi mate sorry you still play drugwars?

Posted using Partiko Android

Have you used the transfer mode?

Posted using Partiko Android

No problem thanks for replying

Posted using Partiko Android

Thanks @timcliff ! I am going to go and check it out now!

This is a great explanation of battle mechanics.

Thanks very much for posting it, and particularly for bringing it to my attention.

This is a good guide :)
!tipuvote 2

Hey do you know of a target search engine please for @drugwars? Thanks again Mark

Posted using Partiko Android

Replied to your other instance of the question

Congratulations @timcliff! You received a personal award!

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Vote for @Steemitboard as a witness to get one more award and increased upvotes!

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