Kantai Collection [艦隊これくしょん] or "Kancolle" is a popular battle strategy online social card game developed by Kadokawa Games which launched back in April. The cuties in the game are moe-anthropomorphisms of WWII Japanese naval warships known as Kanmusu [艦むす]. Each Kanmusu's character and appearance correlate with the actual warships. For example, while destroyers are depicted as loli girlies, larger vessels like warships and aircraft carriers tend to be bustier with very noticeable oppai ^^;
The battle is mostly automated and players take on a role of an admiral [提督] who organizes his/her fleet, gather resources and build an even more powerful Kanmusu to win battles.
Kanmusu are voiced by popular voice actresses such as Saki Fujita (Hatsune Miku), Megumi Nakajima (Macross F Ranka Lee, Megpoid), Yuka Iguchi (Toaru Index, Haganai Maria) and loads more.
Kancolle quickly gained players across Japan and has now reached nearly 1 million sigups. It's said that one of the reasons why it became so popular is because it doesn't require the player to spend their life savings on it like with other social games.
You can see Kancolle in action below.
There are currently 12 servers each named after the Japanese naval base in the WWII era. In our case, the server is called Rabaul base [ラバウル基地].
After logging in, you're greeted with this command window where you can organize your fleets, customize/repair/supply/build/dismantle Kanmusu and take them to battle. The character on the right is called "Shimakaze" [島風] who will get the nendoroid treatment by Good Smile Company.
If you get bored of seeing her, you can easily switch her with another Kanmusu from the sorting window [編成 hensei].
The sorting window - You can have up to 4 fleets and organize them to your liking.
The customization window allows you to change your Kanmusu's weapon and upgrade [近代化改修 kindaika kaishu] their status by feeding them other Kanmusu ^^;
Damaged Kanmusu can be fixed up at the repair dock. If you're not too careful nand forget to fix them up once in a while, you may end up permanently losing your fave Kanmusu.
Like with any warship, Kanmusu runs on gasoline and ammo which needs to be resupplied whenever possible.
At the Arsenal window [工廠 koushou], you can create cool weapons with your resources. Although the results are random, you can try aiming for a specific weapon by using a special recipe.
Kanmusu can also be built in the same style.
As with the weapons, there are certain recipes for Kanmusu as well - the more resource you put in the rarer the outcome.
Your resources (gasoline, ammo, steel, bauxite) are the key to this game. Although they'll increase gradually over time you can also earn more by completing these missions.
However, if you're feeling lazy and want to skip the whole process, you can buy them at the item shop with real cash ^^;
In the Sortie window [出撃 shutsugeki] you can either complete the missions like above or use your Kanmusu to battle "Shinkai Seikan" [深海棲艦] or other admirals playing this game.
At this point, there are 5 different maps each with 4 stages.
Luck plays a huge role in this game and players are often at the mercy of the compass roulette (a.k.a. final boss).
The player has very little freedom regarding the battle - in this screen you're being asked for the formation of your fleet. Once the battle starts, all you can do is pray that your Kanmusu won't mess up ><
Getting damage isn't all that bad as your Kanmusu's clothing gets torn bit by bit ^^
The other options that the admiral is given during the battle is this Advance/Retreat option and also the No Pursuit/Night Warfare option. Not a whole lot of fancy actions going on but things may change in the Vita version which is due out next year.
The office is also customizable and you may change furniture, windows and wot not to your liking.
The admiral's status window.
While the game is still lacking some of it's social features, players can compete with one another in this ranking...
...and also the Excersice window [演習 enshu] where you'll encounter other player's fleets.
Below are some of the Kanmusu and weapons available in this game. While some can be fairly easy to get, others can take months to collect.
Who is your fave Kanmusu?
Apparently Kantai Collection has blocked access to non Japanese IP's but folks who accidentally searched on how to make their IP into a Japanese one have been enjoying the game it seems.