Narcos: Cartel Wars

An Introduction to Narcos: Cartel Wars

If you love the tension and grit of the hit Netflix show ‘Narcos’ which is based on true events, then step into the world of ‘Cartel Wars’ where players adopt the role of ‘el capo’ of an up and coming new organization. In this strategic PVP raiding and battling game, players need build resources, to fund attacks and strengthen base defences all the while streamlining operations to best balance the age old adage of will it be, “plato o plomo” the silver or the lead?

Narcos: Cartel Wars: Gameplay

In Clash of Clans style players build and grow their ‘finca’ (Head Quarters / Town Hall etc.) as they strive to become the most powerful kingpin of all the cartels.  Using taps to navigate menus players balance their time between creating and expanding their empire and taking down others through strategic raids.  With four forms of currency, wood, cash, product and gold players must carefully weigh resources and how best to use them.

Features of Narcos: Cartel Wars

Learn the ropes of running an operation from El Patron himself and manage your “relationship” with the authorities through agents Murphy and Pena. Enter the world of Narcos with exciting events and updates of content from the show.

Recruit and build
Choose Plata and hire sicarios and build your defenses. Collect different sicarios, level them up and have them defend your base and add bonuses to production.

Wage War
Choose Plomo and send Sicario-led death squads to take over high value resources from other player cartels.

Develop your operation by building out your jungle finca with processing plants and labs. Select smuggling lines and plans to maximize revenue.

Team up with other players to form cartels, lay siege to enemy cartel compounds in multi-day campaigns for domination.

Tips ‘n’ Tricks for Narcos: Cartel Wars

Hit the Ground Running!

Upon first starting players are gifted with a two day shield which prevents other players from attacking your base. This shield however will break if players attack other players yet will not break if players attack the player-less enemy outposts.  Therefore it is best to make the most out of the initial two days by only raiding these enemy outposts to fund upgrades.  When upgrading buildings, it is best to focus first on the resource producing buildings and army camps first and foremost.  Then storage units and the helicopter etc. and basically everything else except defences.  Then once the shield ends raid some easy targets to get funds and upgrade all defences.  From there, rather than just wildly raid players, it is far more profitable to complete the daily missions which offer bonus rewards.  Also if unable to raid player-less enemy outposts and stuck waiting for the sawmill to produce enough wood to upgrade buildings then take to the forest and clear some forest to harvest the wood to make your base as strong as possible before the shield runs out.

Back the Builder!

With gold being the premium currency of the game it very valuable and rare to come by unless willing to purchase through IAP’s. The best way to obtain gold for free is to play with purpose by completing the achievements and daily quests/missions.  A pop up movie theatre will also periodically appear near the bridge which will reward five gold bars per video advertisement watched.  Regardless of how it’s obtained however, the most important thing with gold is to not spend it!  Spending gold on shortening build times is without a doubt the worst way of using gold and never ever be done (unless ludicrously rich)!  Instead save up gold to build a second and third builder and then if still flush with gold then invest in in a gold crate will reap rank 1-4 sicarios.

Target the Towers!

Knowing how each defensive unit works is crucial to proper army compositions and effective raiding. Whilst early on the most common building that players will face will be the sentry tower, it is also one of the deadliest despite its humble nature.  This is due to the fact that the sentry tower has a high firing rate coupled with an extensive range of attack.  Following, the higher the Finca level the more towers can be built and the higher the level they can be upgraded to.  So whilst other types of defences like mortars are highly dangerous as they deploy splash damage which can take out whole squads very quickly, or the pyro maiden with its high sustained damage, it is always important to try to direct sicarios towards the defensive units and take them out as quickly as possible.

Conversely, if defences are poorly placed and not overlapping, then it may be possible to skirt the perimeter and simply take out one defence before concentrating all firepower on the finca. For whilst other similar games require one hundred percent destruction to win three stars for the battle, by destroying the HQ/TH in Narcos: Cartel Wars all remaining buildings automatically explode and the battle is won and over.  Therefore, if the finca is in striking distance it may be best to ignore air strikes on defences and simply rush the HQ/TH in a blitzkrieg whilst using heals on troops.

Know Your Sicarios!

Each unit has their own advantages and disadvantages. So it best to become familiar with each unit and how they react to best form the perfect squad.  When forming squads it is not only important to focus on the offensive characteristics yet also the defensive ones as certain sicario are better placed in defensive roles rather than out attacking.

As for soldiers, generally it is best to have a few different types to create a balanced attack as opposed to having all of the one type of troop. Starting out, the flaco is the basic troop that is effective in numbers yet has low health, however with paired with Antonia they receive a 5% damage bonus.  Gordo on the other hand are the tanks that have shorter range but high health whereas the RPG solider which deals extreme damage yet is very poor at taking it.  Therefore it is best tot couple them with a few medico which can heal low health troops.

Raid, Raid Raid!

At the end of the day, Narcos: Cartel Wars is a build game. Even though it is dubbed as a strategy game due to the PvP attacking format which enables different troop compositions and defensive layouts, at its core it is a build game.  And the thing about build games is that they require patience and lots of it!  (That or very deep pockets and a willingness to spend vast amounts of IRL on IAP’s.)  So as previously mentioned it is best to upgrade storage units early and then simply continuously raid other bases to always have as many resources as possible to fund missions, research and upgrades.

Research, Research, Research!!!

The research lab is perhaps the most underrated and overlooked aspect of Cartel Wars by most new players. Starting out and if new to the genre, it is very easy to fall into the defensive game where players focus all energies on strengthening and reinforcing their base as much as possible.  Yet as much as it hurts to get wiped out by raiders and lose massive resources whatever lost can be won back in very short time with a few successful counter raids.  Therefore, it is better to focus all energies on making attacking forces as strong as possible so players should always be spending cash and time researching and upgrading troops and items.  These upgrades start out cheap and quick yet over time, this is where the game bottle necks so avoid stagnation players should focus on researching as quickly and earnestly as possible.

Experiment with Base Layouts!

Depending on finca level and the number and level of buildings certain layout styles will either be highly effective in repulsing and repelling raids or highly inviting! Player preference will also dictate layouts yet for the uninitiated here are a few key points to keep in mind.  Firstly, protecting the finca (HQ/TH) should be the main priority.  In protecting the finca, defences should be spread out far enough to cover the majority of the base yet close enough to overlap each other so as to be able to fire upon enemies that are attacking the other defence.

Yet rather than simply having defences on the front line it is actually better to have them midway in front of the finca yet behind a line of other buildings. The reason for this is that by having a buffer ahead of the defences they can lay waste to oncoming enemies as they are stuck firing upon the immediate buildings before being able to attack the defences themselves.  As said though, these are just some ideas so players should always try out different layouts and find out what works best for them.

Additional Tips

  • Log in daily to reap the incremental rewards.
  • Log in frequently to avoid resource producing buildings to max out and stop producing.
  • Be sure watch videos for free bonus loot, gold, and to shorten build times.
  • Pay attention to build times to take advantage of free speed ups for the last stages.
  • Even though cycling through screens takes time, it is best to scout before attacks.
  • Join a clan early to learn strategies and benefit from troop donations.
  • Don’t go crazy on the Black Market! Save power and loyalty points until that perfect purchase comes along. Ideally only spend on contracts which unlock new sicarios.

Personal Impressions // Review of Narcos: Cartel Wars

While it is very fair to say that Narcos: Cartel Wars is a straightforward carbon copy of the standard format of the genre, it is actually relatively well done and quite enjoyable. The humble graphics and sound effects do not overwhelm and distract and the core build, attack and defend system.  The lack of walls is another refreshing aspect which inspires different layout precognition and procedures.

In terms of areas where the game is a little lacking the general load times of menus is a slow. This is especially true upon opening the app and on the battle map where the lag between flipping through bases is rather tedious. It would also be much easier to navigate and power through raids if players were able to set an auto-fill on barracks to reinforce troops without having to go back to the home base to do so.  Understandably, it is best to scout bases first then grow a specific army to counter specific layouts, yet it would also be very handy to have an auto-fill feature which could do it automatically if already having an OP composition and simply wanting to fill a few spots.

Furthermore, compared to other similar games Cartel Wars is actually quite heavy on in-game advertising. This advertising is fine when it is passive in allowing players to choose to watch ads to increase bonuses, yet when doing so is necessary to fulfil mission quotas etc. or when ads pop up constantly trying to pull players into “one time” special offers! The other more major and annoying thing however, is that the game seems to glitch every now and then and needs to be reset.  Whilst this isn’t really so troublesome, it is highly aggravating when it happens at the precise moment of collecting rewards and as such deletes loot and does not give the option to claim again.

Yet all in all, if looking for a new build / strategy based game, then there are many worse titles than Cartel Wars so if not expecting too much, then the game is well worth the download and time invested into the first stages of gameplay. Three and a half stars out of five.

App Specifics for Narcos: Cartel Wars

Current Version:
1.0 (iOS) (Last Update Feb 27 2018) (as at the time of writing)
1.23.00 (Android) (Last Update Mar 12 2018) (as at the time of writing)

193.5 MB (iOS)
50.7 MB (Android)

5,000,000 – 10,000,000

Requires iOS:
7.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.

Requires Android:
4.0.3 and above.

Content Rating:
Rated for 12+

English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Turkish.


In-App Purchases:
$0.99 ~ $159.99

Offered By:
FTX Games Ltd.

Download Narcos: Cartel Wars

Download Narcos: Cartel Wars for iOS from the App Store Here!

Download Narcos: Cartel Wars for Android from Google Play Here!


Do you agree with our review of Narcos: Cartel Wars? We would love to hear your thoughts on whether you love or hate this game in the comments section below along with any other hints, tips and tricks that you may have come across that haven’t already been covered above.  Also be sure to leave any requests for games that you would like to see reviewed!
And as always, ‘happy gaming’!



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After spending much too much time playing retro Pong and Donkey Kong on a game & watch as a kid before upgrading to the brick shaped original Gameboy, Water-Mind is loving the evolution of the gaming industry... ... whilst still finding time to paddle down torrential rivers!
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After spending much too much time playing retro Pong and Donkey Kong on a game & watch as a kid before upgrading to the brick shaped original Gameboy, Water-Mind is loving the evolution of the gaming industry... ... whilst still finding time to paddle down torrential rivers!