Home > Arms Trade Tycoon Tanks > Arms Trade Tycoon Tanks Gameplay Basics

Arms Trade Tycoon Tanks Gameplay Basics

Arms Trade Tycoon Tanks Gameplay Basics

Providing essential how-to instructions to save you time, frustration, and ease you into this game.

Who is this guide intended for?

The inspiration for this guide arose from observing a content creator spending 5 minutes attempting to figure out how to reverse engineer a captured tank, and post-release noticing on the forum the struggles many people encounter with the basic functionalities of the game and witnessing the somewhat lacking tutorial.

Since Arms Trade Tycoon: Tanks is an early access game at the time of writing, I will refrain from attempting to provide a detailed write-up on strategies and exploits, as these tend to become quickly outdated.

This guide is for those that are new to tycoon games or are used to modern tycoon games which generally throughout the years have moved to easier difficulties. This guide is also for the ones who don’t want to spend 30 minutes watching a streamer stutter uncoordinated throughout a presentation.

Starting the new game…

After loading the game and entering main menu, I assume that after some time you will press new game option.

You will be faced with three difficulty options :

The Apprentice difficulty level is very easy, starting with 1.4 million in cash, which is 40% more than the next difficulty option. Your first contract offer will come August (late in the month in all my tests), and achieving success in contracts is much easier compared to higher difficulties (at the time of writing, the maximum score of rival tank in the first contract was 88).
Additionally, it has lower monthly maintenance costs, and the player starts with over 100K resources in storage.

I recommend this difficulty to people who want to explore what the game has to offer, relax, and/or are new to tycoon-type games.

On the other hand, the Entrepreneur difficulty starts with 1 million in cash, and the new contract will come in September. Compared to Apprentice, the player faces higher maintenance costs and starts with around 83K in storage.
The maximum success score of the first rival tank in the first contract is slightly below 390, with the first tank you assemble from initially unlocked parts having a score of 303 as in the Apprentice difficulty.

I recommend this difficulty for most players.

Finally, the True Tycoon difficulty starts with 700K in cash, 48.5K resources in storage, and the player will receive the first contract in October. This difficulty has both higher maintenance costs than the previous difficulty and higher salary costs. The rival tanks have boosted stats, with the first rival tank having a maximum score of 700+, sometimes even reaching 750+.

I recommend this difficulty for players who want a bigger challenge than the normal difficulty can offer.

Note that when it comes to dates and scores above, there is a bit of randomness involved, so don’t rely on them religiously. You can also change difficulty midgame as explained below.

After choosing your difficulty, you will start in the factory grounds. The first step, unless you enjoy pop-ups (nothing wrong with that), is to go into Game Settings by selecting the first leftmost button on the row of buttons at the top of the screen.

Here, you can select which pop-ups will appear during gameplay (there are tons of them!). I recommend removing all pop-ups except for Contract, Employees, and Country Trophies news.

You can also change here difficulty if you so desire.

The basic workflow of tank design explained

The tank design in this game follows the following formula:

  1. You research new components and subcomponents in the Research Bureau.
  2. These modules need to be engineered/prototyped in components like tracks, engines, weapons, etc., in the Engineering Bureau.
  3. Finally, the new tank is designed in the Design Bureau, assembled from the components that you have engineered/prototyped earlier in the Engineering Bureau.
Basic Gameplay Guide - WIP

New components and subcomponents (parts that a component is built out of) can also be obtained through reverse engineering, as explained in its own section.

Notice that each step takes time but when unlocking a component through research (like Nordenfelt QF 6-pounder) you will in some cases get Mk1 variant for “free”, without needed time to research the item.

Few notes on the GUI in the Engineering and Design Bureau:

While the GUI is self-explanatory – on the left side of the screen, you have finished components or tanks, while their stats are shown on the right. It is worth paying attention to the following information on the information cards which I believe some will miss due to contrast and colors of the font:

Basic Gameplay Guide - WIP

You can copy and delete the design (1) – to edit a previous version of your design, you need to copy it first and then work on it.

Group 2 of the icons tell you (if you hover over them) how many resources they need, how many hours are needed to construct the component, and the total highest resource and salary cost per item.

Group 3 tells you the weight, a total attribute score (higher is better – but not in all cases), and crew requirements.

Lower crew requirement is better if all other scores are equal. Depending on the item, it may mean that you need more or fewer gunners, mechanics, or higher command crew requirements.

Weight, on the other hand, should also not be ignored either, especially if you are upgrading a tank which is at its max capacity.

Finally, the icon marked by number 4 is interesting because it tells you which bonuses, obtained by upgrades of the production hall, help with speed or reduction in resources needed. The bonuses you can POTENTIALLY obtain through building upgrades are indicated by 0 % bonus.

Reverse Engineering

From time to time, you will notice a popup indicating that foreign equipment (“rival tank”) has been captured. As mentioned before, reverse engineering in this game is a source for access to new components and subcomponents.

So, how does one actually reverse engineer? First, you will receive a news event like the one below:

Basic Gameplay Guide - WIP

Note in the text which country has actually done the capturing. To get access to the captured hardware, you need to head to their national info screen, in current build found via Global Map (1) and by pressing on the big national flag icon (2):

Basic Gameplay Guide - WIP
Once you open the national info screen, select the trophies button and you can see which capured tanks are on the offer:

Basic Gameplay Guide - WIP

Note that it is not always worth buying captured equipment, especially as the game progresses. The newly captured tank may very well be made with components you already have access to. To see which components a captured tank has, hover your mouse pointer over the money bag icon. A list of components will pop up as shown below:

Basic Gameplay Guide - WIP

After purchasing captured equipment, you’ll need to press the key indicated by “X” on the screen below to enter the reverse engineering “room” (part of Engineering Bureau):

Basic Gameplay Guide - WIP

After you are done with with the process, you can use new components and subcomponents in a new design.

What to do first in the game?

There are many ways to approach tasks, and I’m sure many people have strong opinions on the matter. However, since this game is still in development and just released in early access at the time of writing, discussing exploits and shortcuts that may be patched out in a few months is pointless. The same applies to min-maxing strategies.

Nevertheless, I will provide you with some general advice:

  • On the first day head to the Design Bureau (press F key) and start working on your first tank using components that are already unlocked. This will take 35 days in the current build.
  • Before pressing spacebar to continue time flow, head to the research building and choose your next research. Note that currently there are useless nodes (when it comes to contracts not battles) but I expect that to be soon changed and will not document them.
  • Start producing your tank immediately after design work is finished. Shorter delivery times increase you success score and you will need that on harder difficulties. Generally on normal difficulty first model of the tank can get you by through first half year.
  • In August a manager, William Triton will become available. He is perfect for Production where he shortens production time for tanks by 30% and allows 50 extra workers per production line. Note that he needs 5 days to arrive and that he is extra cost before the first contract starts.
  • Don’t try to min-max by firing all factory workers to save on salary costs – if you fire 200 workers, there will not be 200 workers filling up the pool of available hires. On the other hand, as the game progresses, your design and engineering bureaus will be inactive most of the time. You may not need the full pool of engineers.
  • Mind your monthly burn rate. Don’t upgrade everything immediately because upgrades carry a substantial increase in monthly costs. On the first tier, you are limited to 4 upgrades per building. The upgrades I recommend getting are the maintenance office (reduces maintenance), fire station, and medical stations in the Administrative building (I would start with upgrading them on day one).
    When it comes to Production buildings, I recommend the Sub-Assembly line and Riveting focus initially (on normal difficulty also on day 1).
    For the Storage building, my recommendation is Loading Speed stations, but they may not be vital for the first contracts.

Contract Types and Tank Roles

Ok, so far we have covered and hopefully you have understood the process of assembling the tanks. But what tank should you build?

First I will explain what type of contracts you will find in the game and then what tank types different nations may ask for. Lastly I will cover on how you can predict the needs of your customers.

Contract types

So far, 5 days after the release, the game has two types of contracts:

  • Supply: Where you provide tanks for a new tank unit that is being formed.
  • Restock: Replenishing lost tanks in a tank unit.

Developers have promised more contract types.

Supply contract are your standard contract offer in the beginning of the game where you are asked to provide tanks of the certain role in certain number delivered before certain date.

Restock contracts are similar to Supply contracts, except that they come with additional requirements. Typically, the delivered hull type must be of a certain model (like Mark 1) and track type, as seen in the image below:

Basic Gameplay Guide - WIP

Restock contracts are the reason why you should not delete old designs (like Mark 1 models), immediately once you unlock next hull type but rather upgrade them once your engineering and design bureaus have nothing to do. The client will not always accept the exact same tank but may expect upgraded stats on the replacements.

Tank Roles

Every contract offer (actually a tender) asks for a certain type of tank that can fulfill a specific role. Note that a tank design can fulfill several roles.

Written by Ziggurt

Leave a Comment