Drug Wars on Steem - Ultimate Beginners Game Guide

in #drugwars5 years ago (edited)

I finally took the plunge and tried Drug Wars. I'm now addicted, lol. (I know where all my free time will be going for the foreseeable future.)

Beginners Game Guide

In this post, I will introduce the game to anyone not yet familiar with it, and try to explain the basics for those who are just starting and/or trying to figure out how to play the game. It is a good post for newbies, as well as beginners and novices who still haven't figured out all the aspects of the game yet.


At it's core, Drug Wars is a resource management game. There are three main resources in the game (drugs, alcohol, and weapons). By producing more of them - you move up in the game. You can also try to steal resources from other players in the game, and you have to protect your own resources from getting stolen.

One of the really cool parts of the game is you can earn STEEM from playing. The better you do in the game, the more STEEM you can potentially earn. You do not need to pay any STEEM in order to play, although you can advance faster if you do (more on this later).

Creating an Account

Steem Blockchain Account

I assume that most readers already have a Steem blockchain account, but in case you don't, you can get a free account here. The free account usually takes around a week (or more) to approve, so if you want to start instantly - you can pay around $2-3 USD to create one using SteemNinja. There are also several other third party options available to create Steem blockchain accounts - and any of them will work with Drug Wars.

Drug Wars Account

Once you have a Steem account, go to DrugWars.io to join the game. Click the green "Start" button, which will take you to a SteemConnect page to login.

You login to SteemConnect using your Steem blockchain account. You will need to use your active key or master password in order to give the game permission to use your account for gameplay. When you link your account using SteemConnect, the game will not have access to any of your funds.


The DrugWars.io game is constantly evolving, so it is likely that the UI will change over time. I will describe the interface as it currently is today. While it may not look exactly as I describe here by the time you are reading this guide, hopefully it will be close enough that you should be able to discover the main components based on what I describe here.

Prize Pool

At the top, you should see the daily prize pool. This shows how much is currently in the pool to be distributed to the players at the end of the day, as well as your current share of the pool. Your share won't be very much right now, but we will work on this later in the guide.

Resource Balances

On the right side, you should see your resource balances. This is where you see how much drugs, weapons, and alcohol you currently have.

Account Profile

On the left, you will see a link to your account profile with your current level, and rank compared to other players.


On the left, you will see a menu with access to the various pages where you can do things in the game. We will go into each of these in more detail later in the guide.


In the middle are your "Missions". These are suggestions for things you can do to start advancing in the game. If you want, you can explore these now and come back when you are done. Otherwise, you can continue reading the guide to get a better understanding of what each of them are first, and then complete them after reading the guide.



The Buildings interface is the main place where you advance your resource production. There are four types of buildings: Office, Drugs, Weapons, and Alcohol. When you pay to upgrade a building, you will increase your stats for whatever service the building provides.

Office Buildings

One of your most important buildings is your Headquarters. By upgrading this building, you will make all your other building upgrades go faster. Also, you cannot upgrade any of your other buildings beyond the level of your Headquarters. (For example, if your HQ is level 3, then all of your other buildings can only be upgraded to level 3.) Personally I recommend getting this upgraded to higher levels fairly quickly.

Upgrading your Training Facility will allow you to purchase units (fighters) and help you crank out new units faster. Units are used to battle other players (more on this later). You will need to upgrade this to level 1 to start producing units. Personally I haven't found upgrading the training facility past level 1 to be super useful early on in the game. If you find yourself impatiently waiting for your units to complete, then it is probably time to consider upgrading this more.

Upgrading your Operation Center will increase the percentage of income that you earn. Early on in the game, this percentage will not really give you much benefit, although it may be something good to consider later in the game once you start earning more.

Upgrading the Pantheon supposedly does nothing. It is up to you if you want to spend any resources on this.

Drug Buildings

Pretty much all of the buildings in the Drugs section will increase your drugs production. By spending resources to upgrade these buildings, you will produce more drugs each day.

Once the building is at level 1, you will see the current production as well as how much it will increase by upgrading it to the next level.

At the bottom of the Drugs section is a Drug Storage building. This building is really important, because it increases the amount of drugs that are safe from being stolen by other players. We will go into this more in later sections, but the important thing to know for now is that it is good to increase this building's level as much as you can to keep more of your Drugs safe.

Weapons and Alcohol Buildings

The buildings in the Weapons and Alcohol sections are pretty much the same as the ones in the Drugs section. Increasing the level of these buildings will increase your Weapon and Alcohol production respectively.

There is also a Weapon Storage and Alcohol Silo building at the bottom of these sections. Similarly to the Drug Storage building, it is a really good idea to upgrade these as much as you can to keep more of your resources safe.


The Bootcamp section is where you train units. Units are used to fight other players in battles. (We will go more into battles in the next section.) In order to train units, you will first need to upgrade your Training Facility to level 1 if you have not done so already. (See "Building" section.)

Each of the units has: a name, a resource cost, a description, and five characteristics {damage, defense, speed, class, carrying capacity}. The first four characteristics are what determine how good or bad the unit will do in battle. The last characteristic determines how many resources the unit will take home if it survives and you win the battle.

The exact mechanics of how battles are fought are outside the scope of this post, but in general:

  • Units which do more damage will be better at killing more of the opposing player's units.
  • Units which have higher defense will not die as quickly when fighting the opposing player's units.
  • Melee units need to attack other units by getting right up to them, while Range units can attack from a distance. This gives Range units an advantage over Melee units.

To give one example, I once tried to go into battle with another player who had one single Mercenary unit (120 attack, 75 defense, 15m speed, and Range attack). I sent ten Super Bouncer units, which each have 6 attack, 10 defense, 11 speed, and Melee attack. All of my units died, and the other player's Mercenary survived. I lost the battle, hehe.


Battles are an important element of the game. They provide an easy way to increase your resources (if you know what you are doing).

To go into battle with another player, click on the Battles section. (You will first need to have produced some units in the Bootcamp section.) Unless you already have another player in mind to attack, you will want to go to the "Find Targets" tab to browse players that you can attack.

Once you are here, you will be presented with a list of players. If you pick a player and attack them with a single cheap unit, once the attack is complete, you will get a lot of important information which can help determine if you want to make a larger attack.

In their balances section, you will see how much of each resource the player has in the top line. Each resource shows two values on the line: their current supply and their max supply.

Their current supply is what you care about for battles, because that is how much they will have if you battle them right now. In the above example, the player has 752.64 Drugs, 849.27 Weapons, and 1,620 Alcohol.

On the third line of the resource section, it shows how much of each of their resources is Safe.

Safe means any of their resources below that amount cannot be stolen in battle, so you do not want to battle them unless they have more than the safe amount. Again using the above example, up to 18,750 of each resource is safe. The amounts they have (752.64, 849.27, and 1,620) are way below 18,750, so there is nothing to steal from this player.

You want to look for players that have more resources than their safe numbers, since those are the ones you can steal from.

The other thing that you want to pay attention to is the user's Army section. This is where you will see what units they have.

By looking at the number of units that they have (and the stats of those units - such as damage/defense) you can get a rough idea of how hard it will be to win a battle against them. (Note: the stats of the units aren't shown on this page, so you will need to match up the images from this page with what you see for those units in the Bootcamp section.)

You will need to do a rough estimate calculation to see if the casualties you will likely receive will be worth it in terms of the amount of potential resources there are to steal.

If they have no units - then it should be an automatic win.

The other thing you might see is a Shield. A shield means that you cannot currently go into battle with them. Players get a shield when they first create their account (3 days at the time of writing this post). Once their shield expires, then you are able to attack them.

Once you have identified a player that you want to attack, click the "Attack" button below their name. This will bring you to a page where you can select your army composition. You can adjust the numbers of each of your units, and click "Add" to add them to your army. Try to add enough units where you feel confident you can "out gun" your opponent's units.

Once you are happy with your selected army, click the red "Attack" button.

After you click the attack button, it may take a few seconds to process. Once the hourglass stops spinning, the attack has been queued. You can see the status of the attack by clicking on the "History" tab.

The attack can take up to a few minutes to be confirmed on the blockchain. Once it is confirmed, you can wait until the timer is up to see the results of the attack.

After the timer expires, the battle will occur. Once the battle has completed, it will tell you if you won/lost, how many units were killed on each side, as well as how many drug, weapon, and alcohol resources you acquired from the attack (if you won).

Note: If you still have additional units that were not used as part of the battle, you can queue up more battles with other players. You will just need to wait until the battle you submitted is in confirmed status (which can take up to a few minutes).

The history tab is also where you will see any battles that other players waged against you.

If you are interested in learning more about the battle mechanics, you can check out this post:
Drug Wars on Steem - Intermediate Game Guide: Battles


Every day, half of the prize pool goes to the heist. You can participate in the heist by "investing" Drugs from the Heist menu. The more drugs you invest in the heist, the more of the heist pool you will receive. One thing to consider though (especially in the early stages of the game) is that if you invest your Drugs on the heist, then you will not have them to spend on upgrading buildings or purchasing new units.


You can check out which players are currently ranked the highest in the leaderboard section. It is probably not a good idea to try and go into battle with any of these players anytime soon ;)


Near the bottom of the page is a link to the Drug Wars Discord channel. This is a great place to hang out and learn more about the game as well as interact with the other players. You may even be able to find yourself a Drug Gang to join ... ;)

Game Tips

  • Keep track of how much of your Drugs, Weapons, and Alcohol are "safe". Be aware of your safe numbers, as well as the amount of resources you have compared to them, since once your resources go above these numbers - you are a more appealing target. Remember, you can increase your "safe" amounts by buying storage/silo buildings from the Buildings section.
  • An important decision to make is whether or not you want to spend any STEEM on the game. While it is completely possible and totally fine to play the game without spending any STEEM, if you are planning to get into the game - I personally suggest planning to spend around $10-15 USD worth of STEEM in the early stages. This is mainly so that you can get your buildings to the point where you are producing enough resources each day to make playing fun. (Otherwise, it is a lot of waiting early on.)
  • The game is still new, so occasionally you may run into some glitches. I've found that most glitches can be resolved simply by refreshing the page. If that doesn't work, try logging out and back in. If you find a more serious issue / get stuck, you can report it in the helpdesk channel of the Drug Wars Discord channel.
  • Most importantly - remember it is just a game. Don't take it too seriously, and have fun :)

Additional Guide

If you are interested in learning more about the battle mechanics, you can check out this post:
Drug Wars on Steem - Intermediate Game Guide: Battles

Questions / Comments

If you have any questions or comments about the game or this guide, please share in the comments below. I don't have all the answers, but I'll do my best. Also, some of the other readers may know the answers too :) If there are more complex questions that aren't covered by this guide, I'll keep them in mind for future versions.

See you in the game!!


It was an awesome read and I'm going to bookmark this post and show it to my friends who are not part of Steem yet and would love to play the game. It explains everything from scratch. 😊

Posted using Partiko Android

This game is good. I have tried for a few days. However, with the battle mode opened, I need to spend more time to check and build army to steal from others ( I have lost some to others, too).

Great post, detailed instruction for anyone to get start!

Hi timciff, do you know why since yesterday I am no longer able to see the profile of other players in "find targets" section? Thank's, Riccardo

Thank you!!!!!!!!

That battle part, i didn't try it before! Thanks for the tip! Hope to harvest farms!


are you sure about this:

Units which do more damage will be better at killing more of the opposing player's units.
Units which have higher defense will not die as quickly when fighting the opposing player's units.

so actually it would make sense to have units defending with high attack value as they will as defenders kill the attackers?

I had the imagination that a unit while attacking only relies on their attack value while a unit defending only relies on their defensive value...

I'm not 100% sure what you are asking. As I said in the post, the exact mechanics of the battles are not known.

I think I see the question. I will try to explain to the best of my understanding. When there is a battle, both sides are attacking the other, and both sides are defending from the other. If you "attack" another player, and their units do more damage than your attacking units can defend, then your attacking units will die.

Does that answer your question?

Yes it does.

but from my experience this is not how it works...
I believe its more of a pairing algo than a real fighting algo..
so for me it seems as if all the long range units of the attacker are paired to the melee defenders first.. than the single unit attack power is compared vs. the defend power and the defending units killed... maybe using some probability /chance algo..
the defending units are paired with the attackers melee units and same procedure... if there are more attackers than melee defenders, the defenders range units also get attacked.. and vice versa..
the next turn every melee unit still standing is paired to the opposing units still standing..
and every unit.. how large their attack value is.. only has one shot.. so bazooka guy shooting rowdy.. one shot.. one hit.. one kill.. that's it...

doesn't make too much sense so.. so I believe they will change it...

The battle code is open source, so if you want to see how it is actually coded, here is the source:

It is obviously subject to change. I believe they are planning to update the logic soon, but IDK what they are planning to change (or when).

THX a lot... I will try to read it.. ;-)

Resource Balances
On the right side, you should see your resource balances. This is where you see how much drugs, weapons, and alcohol you currently have.

The UI has moved things around. They are now shown on top.

How do I Select army composition?

If you click on “Battles” it will let you add units to an army.

You need to have units first, which you can purchase on the “Bootcamp” page.

Why can't I Composition my Army? or Select your army composition

Can you head to the Discord channel and ask for help in #helpdesk? Screen shots would help.

I can only select Battle...?

Can you head to the Discord channel and ask for help in #helpdesk?

Properly explained, now it’ll be easier for anyone to join the game.

Not knowing how has been the reason why people are so skeptical about blockchain games.

Thanks @timcliff for the elaborated Game Guide.

Posted using Partiko iOS

ATTACK Button does not work?
What am I doing wrong?
Very frustrating.

Can you head to the Discord channel and ask for help in #helpdesk?

Hi @timcliff
There you go. That explain almost everything about the game and the gameplay. As always you describe and cover what we need to know about the game.
I agree with you about the investment to get things started. After we did some tests, we found out that 20 steem and some smart moves, you will kick of the game pretty good. You will not get rich but you will get a steady income and the possibility to build your empire slowly but safe.
I hope I don’t see you on the battlefield:-)
Best regards @EveryDayCoach

Posted using Partiko iOS

bella tattica

I just signed up today and started upgrading whatever I could upgrade. No idea what I'm doing and I haven't tried battling anyone yet. I held out as long as I could. Oh, man... I think I'll need an intervention at some point. LOL

Haha, well - more drugs = more STEEM. Remember that and you should do fine. Oh, and don’t consume the “products” lol. Have fun :)

Whatever could you mean? LOL

Posted using Partiko Android

LOL. You need to produce alcohol, weapons and drugs in order to upgrade your buildings, which produce the above. Any excess can go towards the heist while you're waiting.
Every now and again the headquarters needs to be upgraded too as there is a level cap.

Hi @timcliff.
Please check out the change in shield. Now the shield is only. 1 hour. Discovered this earlier today... Just wanted to inform you so you can update the game guide.
Best Regards @EveryDayCoach

Thanks. They also added a carrying capacity for units too. I’ll try to update this tonight.

I'm playing the game a lot (yes, it's very addicting), but I haven't noticed that each unit has a class. I just founded it out of your guide, and I thank you for that!

Hello Timcliff,
After a battle is started, it can't be cancelled? I hit ''attack'' by mistake, now I will attack one of my friends

Unfortunately no.

Very detailed. You have completely dissected the drugwars app(v2). Many more features to be added and the most awaited is 'Gangs'!

Posted using Partiko Android

Well written guide, I've been playing it myself for a little while already, planning on creating a post about it as well.

I want to spread the word and get more players on board, reminds me of good old days when those browser games were hip.

Your post is good. It explains some things I had worked out by now, but had to work out and reading this beforehand would have provided more information. My first fight was against someone with no units and with less resources than their safe amount. Yay I won! But I won nothing....

There is one thing with the game that you mention that I have an issue with though.
"Once the building is at level 1, you will see the current production as well as how much it will increase by upgrading it to the next level."

So this is intentional is it? The old one said what you would get from getting the building at all and this one seems to sometimes say it and sometimes not.... I was assuming the fact it didn't was a bug, but it appears to not say it more often than it does.

Regardless of if this is intentional or not, I think this is a big flaw. Knowing how much you will get out of buying that building at all affects your strategy in terms of if you upgrade the smaller one you already have or save up for longer and go straight to buying the bigger one. I've used that number to work out my strategy in regards to that in the past. I really think to get the best experience of the game and be able to use strategy in the best way possible, the next should be there even when the building isn't owned / is level 0. You need to know when to invest in the building in the first place.

They are constantly upgrading things. I’d expect the UI/UX to improve a lot over the next several weeks.

Yeah it does appear that way. I've noticed small changes over time. They now have put your balances back up the top with production under it again like in the old version, which I think is good. It's best not to have to click on your profile to see your production so I agree with that move on their behalf. The people behind it are showing to be good for updating and improving their game which is good.


Edit: "Missons" to "Missions"

Fixed, thanks :)

What does MISS RESOURCES grey button mean? I get it on all my buildings.

It means you don’t have enough of one or more resources (drugs, weapons, or alcohol) to do the upgrade.

If your HQ is not high enough to level up and you don’t have enough resources, you will see the same message although the buy with Steem option will also be disabled.

Very good guide. Thank you. I'm rookie on this game and this guide help me in understanding better.

Any idea what is the criteria for the DAILY prize that is rendered?

download (1).png

Afaik it is 6% (3 and 3) of the funds that the game has, where every time someone buys an upgrade in the game, 80% of the funds get added to the game pool (and 20% goes to the devs).

Okay, kind of get it. So in order to increase my Daily payout, I need to upgrade the buildings so as to produce higher daily resources?

Posted using Partiko Android

Yes, drugs specifically.

Got it! Thanks

Posted using Partiko Android

Okay, kind of get it.
So in order to increase my Daily payout, I need to upgrade the buildings so as to produce higher daily resources?

Posted using Partiko Android

Hey, are you also the owner of busy.org? If so get back to me as i think i found a serious bug.

No. ekitcho#4946 (on Discord) is probably the best person to reach out to.

Also, I'm not sure what you meant by "also", but I am not the owner of Drug Wars either :)

If you haven't tried this one out, it's a sure winner, if you can control your greed,...

I'm so glad I found this guide. I thought either the game was broken, my phone wasn't compatible, or that I had to pay STEEM to play, because every time I check it seems as if nothing is happening and I can't upgrade anything... As you stated in this guide, there's really just long waiting periods when you first begin playing the game (I've been playing for 3 days now).

This is a must read for beginners.

Good to know you are onboard too ;)

Super complete guide... Uau 😯!

Posted using Partiko iOS

Great job, thank you Tim.

WOW nice guide bro ^_^

chi vuole unirsi per creare una gang?

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

Great post... Do you know if an app for android is available?

Afaik, not yet. You should be able to just visit the site via the browser though and play it via your web browser.

interesting game, will try later

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