Ironclad Tactics is a fast-paced, card-based tactics game set in an alternate history Civil War - with steam-powered military robots!
User reviews: Mixed (482 reviews) - 66% of the 482 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Sep 18, 2013

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Recommended By Curators

"A melding of a trading card and real-time tactics game involving civil war robots (yes really). No microtransaction nonsense and a solid campaign."
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June 22

Free upgrade to the deluxe edition!

If you previously owned the standard edition of Ironclad Tactics, you've now been upgraded to the deluxe edition for free, which includes the Rise of Dmitry and Blood and Ironclads add-on campaigns and some other digital goodies. Thanks for your support!

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About This Game

Ironclad Tactics is a fast-paced, card-based tactics game set in an alternate history Civil War - with steam-powered military robots!

Key Features:

  • Includes the 'Rise of Dmitry' and 'Blood and Ironclads' add-on campaigns!
  • No microtransactions! Unlock cards by playing the game, not by purchasing them separately.
  • Experience unique gameplay, with rapid, simultaneous turns that blend the precision of tactics and card games with the spontaneity of fast-paced strategy games.
  • Follow the campaign story through a fully-illustrated, character-driven interactive graphic novel.
  • Collect cards as you play through the campaign and build your own decks to crush your foes.
  • Play with your friends in the co-op story campaign or against them in skirmish and nemesis modes.
  • Face off against online challengers in quick-skirmish mode, and unlock special cards when you win.
  • Bonus! Includes a high-quality digital artbook, a printable papercraft model of an ironclad, and the Ironclad Tactics OST, with music by Evan Le Ny and Farewell to the Woods.

System Requirements

Mac OS X
SteamOS + Linux
    • OS: Windows XP / Vista / 7 / 8
    • Processor: 2.0 GHz
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Support for OpenGL 2.0 or greater
    • Storage: 850 MB available space
    • OS: OS X 10.5.8, or later
    • Processor: 2.0 GHz
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Support for OpenGL 2.0 or greater
    • Storage: 850 MB available space
    • OS: Ubuntu 12.04 LTS
    • Processor: 2.0 GHz
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Support for OpenGL 2.0 or greater
    • Storage: 850 MB available space
Helpful customer reviews
20 of 26 people (77%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
4.7 hrs on record
Posted: July 24
I want to start by saying I like this game. I like it a lot. The setting is good and the gameplay is fun. It's a lot like Monster Monopiece, which I loved, but without the embarrising rub mechanics. Which is good.

So why don't I recommend it? Simply put, the single player campaign is cheap. Really, really cheap. After the first few missions you're almost always started off at a huge disadvantage.

The enemy has powerful cards that you don't have access to yet. The enemy starts with more AP than you. The enemy can field four ironclads at a time. The enemy has squares that provide and advantage much closer to their side. The enemy has a deck tailored exactly to take advantage of the battlefield.

The only way to finish a mission is to have the exact cards the game wants you to. Want to build a deck around certain cards, certian factions or a certain strategy? Too bad. You don't get to choose your strategy. What you do get to do is play a mission several times to see what cards the enemy has and where he tends to play them. Then you get to build a deck specifically to counter the enemy's deck.

Even then, there's a good chance you'll still end up playing the same mission several times. Like every card game, luck plays a large role. In this game it plays a very, very large role. Don't draw a single ironclad in the first six turns? Have four ironclads but no weapons? Have only powerful cards you don't have the AP for?

Too bad.

The worst part of this is that it's very hard to rebound from a bad initial hand. You'll run into situations where the enemy has four ironclads on the battlefield, while you have none. Even if you draw a few ironclads, chances are that the enemy's have better gear by this point and are already halfway to your side.

So yeah, this game is a lot of fun. It's also a good way to see how much patience you have.
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14 of 16 people (88%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
25.8 hrs on record
Posted: June 12
A game that nearly bankrupted its developer, Ironclad Tactics is nevertheless a superb realtime card game that absolutely shines as a 2 player cooperative experience.

Ironclad Tactics is set during a ‘weird’ version of the American civil war that sees foot troops fighting alongside gigantic iron automatons that command the battlefield with classically inspired weapons including cavalry sabres, cannons and even morale boosting trumpets, welded to their massive frames.

Once you’ve assembled a deck consisting of ironclads, soldiers and various weapons and actions, you need to gain a preset number of points in order to win the round. Points are usually gained by getting your ironclads through the opponent’s defences and off their side of the screen, but certain scenarios can also include the need to hold fortified positions or destroy certain boss enemies.

What makes Ironclad Tactics very different is its unique spin on realtime gameplay. Each card you play from your hand summons a particular unit to the battlefield and as the game ticks over in realtime, those units will then move, attack or perform some other unique action. At first the game can feel overwhelming as you have mere seconds after drawing a new card to decide whether to play it now or wait until your action points increase for the more expensive (not to mention powerful) alternatives already in your hand.

The game has a very satisfying tactile feel to it and the rate at which you earn new cards (usually by accomplishing bonus challenges during missions) is judged perfectly with plenty of new and exciting additions to make to your deck as the game goes on.

Where the game really shines is its cooperative mode. Whether online or over LAN, this game doesn’t present any confusing lobbies or account systems; just a very simple click of a button and you’re in and ready to play.

It’s fast, clean and simple, and the game plays well with two players each taking their own personalized deck into an encounter.

All in all, I really appreciate this game and I hope that developer Zachtronics hasn’t been perturbed by a few tepid review scores because their effort here is worth a whole lot more than all that.

Read the full retrospective at my blog »
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4 of 5 people (80%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
9.2 hrs on record
Posted: September 8
I would rate this game a 7/10. Although, I probably would never replay this game or play through a card based coop campaign game similar to this one again.

-Tons of Card Customization
-2 Player Coop campaign
-Lots of DLC and Side Quest content

-Cheesy Story
-Not Dubbed (Although, my friend and I had fun voicing the characters ourselves. :P)
-Too much Time is focused on Deck Customization than on actual Gameplay. You have to consistently take the time to customize your deck for each scenario, otherwise you get trampled or overrun easily.
-Most of the mission pass/fail outcome is entirely based on the luck-of-the-draw than on actual skill.
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2 of 4 people (50%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
18.8 hrs on record
Posted: June 13
I was looking forward to trying this game a while back, although I had no clue it came from Zachtronics, developer of the infamous SpaceChem. I haven't played much of SpaceChem yet. It intimidates me, and I'd like to devote my full attention to it, when the time comes -- soon, I'd say.

So, when I knew this came from the same people, I wasn't sure if I wanted to play yet. I did anyway.

Well, Ironclad Tactics is a different take on the lane strategy "genre", with the added complexity layer of deck-building.

This game is really, if you don't know what you're expected to do. This is mostly a deck-building game, as other reviewers have stated. Each level has a different challenge for your to overcome, and you overcome it with a different deck, mostly. Certainly, tactics are also very important, but a good tactic will do very little if you don't have the correct deck.

While the concept is interesting, and I did enjoy the game, I can't say that it's perfect. At all. It has several design points that I heartily disagree with, and make it simply a "good" game. Which isn't bad, mind you. Just not quite what I expected after trying SpaceChem.

I've completed the game (without the DLC). Done all the optional objectives as well as game plus. It was a challenging task, for sure, but also very rewarding!

Each level has a main objective. There are several different types of levels: there's the common level, in which you try to get victory points by moving your units into the end of the map, there's an "hold position" level, in which you try to survive for x number of turns, and there's the Boss levels. Each of them play very different. Level variation is also pretty good, which is surprising. It seems very limited with the 3-5 lane maps, but there is a surprising number of subtle changes that make all the different.

Then, there are optional objectives. Some are puzzle levels -- these were easy, but really great! Basically, they teach you a certain mechanic with that: limited deck with 3 or 4 cards, and you have to make the best out of it. Unfortunately, there were only 3 or 4 of these levels.
Then, there are some that make you gain VP by other means than moving units to the end of the lane. There are some that make you play with a completely different deck: don't use Y faction, for example.

All of these provide interesting challenges.

Now, what's wrong with it, exactly?

Well, you unlock cards by completing levels and secondary objectives. However, since this is such a deck-oriented game, you'll often be missing the cards you need for a given deck. And so, you have to push through some challenges, until you can go back and complete the secondary objectives.
It has a very awkward pacing, like that. Some game encourage you to play previous levels better, but this one does that weirdly, since you can only play some of the previous levels better, since you're missing cards.
You'll have to go back and forth a few times, but it's doable. Just not as elegant as I would have liked.

Then, there's the random elements. Argh, the randomness...!
So, you build a deck. Great. Then, you have to hope that you draw the correct cards at the right moments. One bad draw can screw you over and make you restart a level. Oh, but wait: there's no restart button! I'll talk about it later.
Yeah, lots of restarting, until you get the right draws. It's... not to my liking. Maybe it works in multiplayer. It certainly works in most card game. But here, it's just a matter of restarting... Tactics play a lesser role than the actual cards used, and that's why the randomness doesn't work as well.
Also, the decks are very limited -- maximum of 2 factions, exactly 20 cards. So, you can't really create as much variety, or even guarantee to get a certain card, since there are at most 4 or 5 of each.

It's an interesting limitation, and it requires some creativity to beat levels. But then again, the randomness is frustating, since it's a matter of trying over and over until you get the right draws that you envisioned all along.

Now, about the lack of a restart button. I don't know why it is. It makes little sense. Perhaps it's simply a question of the designer saying "create the right deck and you won't have to restart". Maybe...
The game came off as a bit too random for that, but I don't know. Just a minor gripe made bigger with the amount of restarting...

Honestly, this is a very frustrating game, at times. Especially when you first start, not exactly sure how it works, it will be daunting. But if you keep trying, you'll learn how the game works, how the AI works, and how certain levels can be easily beat with the right decks.
NewGame+ is almost a whole different game, also! Don't just complete the main campaign, thinking that's everything. It's definitely not.

Well, not a perfect game, but certainly a very rewarding experience, if you feel like a challenge!
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193 of 254 people (76%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
10.6 hrs on record
Posted: December 11, 2013
A rather disappointing game considering the system itself had potential, but is unfortunately woefully incomplete (apparently more content is coming out as DLC, but the base content as it is is barebones).

Initially the game possessed a intriguing system of unlocking new units through the completion of mini-achievements, allowing your cards to evolve into a more effective and specialised fighting force. Unfortunately this feature is only seen in the first half dozen cards before never being seen again.

The game also featured several factions with different tactics and units that you can mix and match. Unfortunately again, all the factions with the exception of the army (Union and Confederate's are both considered the same, begging the question as to why it is set in the Civil War) have barely enough cards for a playable deck, much less one that you can base a unique strategy out of. This is further made worse by every faction's units being essentially the same thing (Army riflemen and bandits have absolutely no distinguising characteristics between them).

Even worse, the potential dynamic was there, in the form of unattainable weapons and units the computer gets during the campaign. After completing the game, and every last achievement (both single player and multiplayer) I was upset that the only things I receieved were more of the same cards. Indeed, the final boss's deck is displayed as an available playable faction, but does not have a single unit or weapon card in it.

The story serves it's purpose I suppose, so it is hardly disappointing, but it is somewhat baffling that early in the story you can clearly see a sibling rivalry, only for one of the brothers to disapear, and only come back at the end of the game to do absolutely nothing, unlike the collection of minor characters who assemble for the purpose of serving as an Deus Ex Machina during a mission. Whoever is actually manning and directing your ironclads is never mentioned (unless it is assumed that the sergeant who gets a brief mention early in the game is the PC). The Civil war is barely mentioned, and the game might as well be set during the Anglo-Russian war for all it matters.

The campaign itself is not so much challenging as it is putting you in a situation with an outright disadvantage. In the early stages this disadvantage is negated by unlocking a new weapon. However, due to the fact that there are no decent unlocks in the later missions the game simply becomes a matter of chance. Hoping that the luck of the draw gets you exactly the unit you need, and that the computer does not use the obnoxiously overpowered ability that he is granted this mission on the turn it would hurt the most. The last mission in particular is guilty in that the enemy boss is not only invincible (unless you kill two heavily armoured units guarding an electric outlet, and procede to occupy both outlets with infantry that can be killed instantly by said boss) but possessing a repetoire of weapons far superior to what you can get, and heals completely should you fail to stop him from going to your side. The strategy towards defeating him involves praying to your chosen deity that the enemy AI will decide to lay waste to your ironclads, rather then stepping on your infantry, and will stand still for that brief moment where you miraculously achieve enough firepower to destroy him in one turn. God help you if you decide to go for the achievements.

All that said, the game has potential. If it simply had more content and diverse factions that would allow for actual tactical options.
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