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Screenshot features

wiabWar in a Box

Developed by DQ Team and published by DQ Team (PC version)

Review by Andy Mills, 6 October 2012

A great game that makes you “think inside the box.”


If you’re a wargamer who has an interest in card models and tower defense games then you need to check out War in a Box: Paper Tanks (WiaB). As the title implies, the game takes place inside a box and all of the combatants are paper models – digitized, of course because this is a PC game. The game is loosely based on a World War One theme and the paper/cardboard artwork lends some old-time charm to this title. WiaB could best be described as a good tower defense game with lots of character and tons of solid gameplay.



WiaB follows a conventional tower defense design with enemy units travelling along a pre-designated path which the player fortifies with various types of defensive weaponry. Each scenario starts in deployment mode on different maps with a certain number of purchase points and potential tower locations. Additional points are obtained in real-time as you destroy various enemy vehicles during the battle. Tower placement and weapon type can be altered throughout the game by strategically buying, selling or upgrading these units. If too many units get through the defenses you are defeated and must re-play it again before you can progress to the next scenario. There are 26 scenarios in total and they can be played at three different speeds and in either normal or expert mode.



The typical briefing screen

Weapons Types

The player is provided with towers sporting five different types of weapons: heavy guns, cannons, flak guns, mortars and Tesla coils. Each weapon has a different type of attack and can be upgraded to increase unit damage and firing range. Some slow firing weapons, such as mortars and Tesla coils create area or “splash” damage and are useful for attacking multiple units at once. Faster firing gun-based towers require a direct hit on the target to cause damage. Throughout the game, the player must strategically locate each tower to ensure that the engagement range and firing arcs of each weapon is maximized. Some weapons, such as the heavy gun or Tesla coil, can be used to attack both aircraft and land units, so proper placement acts as a force multiplier.



Selecting weapon towers before the battle begins


Enemy Units

The AI controlled enemy units consist of armored cars, small tanks, large tanks, two types of bi-planes and zeppelins. Each of these vehicles types has different sub-classes with varying levels of armor. At the end of the later missions you are confronted by zeppelins and tanks that can absorb an amazing amount of punishment. These bigger opponents move slowly across the battlefield while smaller units, such as armored cars, move at a brisk pace. After an hour of gaming most players will have the speed and armor of enemy vehicles committed to memory, allowing for the creation of more complex weapon placement strategies.


In the heat of battle

The Good

WiaB is a good game for a number of reasons, such as a unique theme, great 3D art, unit balance and superb map design. The inclusion of the time acceleration and expert mode produces scalable difficulty levels that greatly increase the replayability of the game. As the saying goes the game is “easy to learn, but hard to master.” The game design allows for some very complex planning and certainly encourages the player to explore various strategies. A number of scenario solutions are available at the developer’s website and several user walkthroughs can be found on YouTube. These resources are very handy when you need to know how to approach a certain scenario. WiaB is also available for iOS based smartphones or tablets allowing the die-hard player to take their addiction mobile. When all of these positives are added to a low price tag and modest systems requirements buying this game becomes a no-brainer.



The in-battle view from a cannon turret


The Bad

Some tower defense games, such as “Defense Grid: The Awakening,” have a bit of history that players can pick up through the game, but such is not the case with WiaB. The reason why you are fighting this paper war is never really presented to the player. The official web site also sheds relatively little detail on the any existing (or even potential) backstory. The game has the potential to harbor a nice narrative or story that could enhance scenario progression, but sadly, this opportunity is wasted.

Some gamers may find the graphics a bit too “cartoony” or the premise of paper combatants to be a “turn-off.” This game is also subject to the negatives that plague most tower defense titles: repetitive gameplay and limited number of unit types. I had no installation problems, video problems or system stability issues during several hours of game play. wiab

The End

WiaB is a good game at a great price. It is totally accessible to tower defense newbies and will provide jaded veterans with hours of quality play time. If you are a fan of the genre, I definitely recommend picking it up. This is the kind of paperwork I don’t mind doing!


Grumpy Grog Says: Nothing beats burning paper tanks on a PC.

Discuss this review in our forums >>




N.B. This last one is written in Polish

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