Ironclad Tactics is a fast-paced, card-based tactics game set in an alternate history Civil War - with steam-powered military robots!Key Features: No microtransactions! Unlock cards by playing the game, not by purchasing them separately.
User reviews: Mixed (403 reviews)
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."
Read the full review here.

Digital Deluxe Edition

Includes:

  • The first two add-on campaigns released for Ironclad Tactics when they are released. Add-on campaigns include new missions, new cards to unlock, new gameplay, and new stories to tie them into the game universe.
  • A high-quality digital artbook with concept art, designs, and commentary from the Zachtronics team.
  • A printable papercraft model of an ironclad that you can print out and assemble.
  • The Ironclad Tactics OST, with music by Evan Le Ny and Farewell to the Woods.
  • A giftable copy of SpaceChem
  • A giftable copy of SpaceChem: 63 Corvi

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:

  • 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.

System Requirements

Windows
Mac OS X
SteamOS + Linux
    Minimum:
    • OS: Windows XP / Vista / 7 / 8
    • Processor: 2.0 GHz
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Support for OpenGL 2.0 or greater
    • Hard Drive: 850 MB available space
    Minimum:
    • OS: OS X 10.5.8, or later
    • Processor: 2.0 GHz
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Support for OpenGL 2.0 or greater
    • Hard Drive: 850 MB available space
    Minimum:
    • OS: Ubuntu 12.04 LTS
    • Processor: 2.0 GHz
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Support for OpenGL 2.0 or greater
    • Hard Drive: 850 MB available space
Helpful customer reviews
33 of 49 people (67%) found this review helpful
51.1 hrs on record
Posted: June 26
(Most of the critisism here is about the expansion campaigns-- although I found the original campaign frustrating at times, it was in a more pleasant way!)

I love pretty much every game Zachtronics has released, and while I find this game mostly enjoyable, the amount of artificial difficulty introduced is maddening. The AI isn't particularly intelligent. The computer will frequently, for example, equip a weapon to an ironclad that is 3 empty spaces away from making it to your side, which is a waste of AP. If you pop an ironclad with a melee weapon right in front of an AI ironclad two spaces from your side equipped with a 2+ range weapon, they wont swap that weapon out to kill your ironclad and make it to your side-- it'll just sit there and die. To make up for the lackluster AI, however, the player is handicapped in a number of ways, making the game feel exceedingly frustrating at times.

The player receives a base 1.0AP per turn, while the computer gets 1.5AP. Then add on the fact that many of the AP-boosting objectives tend to be on the enemy's side, and the enemy often has units on the field to claim or defend them before turn 1.

This provides the illusion that the enemy's deck is an endless bag of cards where they can just pull out any card they desire at any point. The computer rarely needs to play defensively because they can just spam units to put YOU on defense. Maybe 10% of the time am I able to sneak a raider by the AI when there is an ironclad in play that they can maneuver into his path. Manage to an armored ironclad out to scrap with one weilding a 1 damage weapon? you've got about a 75% chance that they have some way to boost the damage to ignore the armor(depending on enemy factions). You can see how many cards the enemy has in hand, so I don't think the computer actively cheats in this regard-- it's just because of the massive AP boost that the AI gets-- cards don't need to go to waste.

TL;DR- Playing checkers with a skilled player is fun, even if they beat you. Playing checkers with an incompetent player whos friends pop in to give them extra game pieces whenever they lose some is frustrating.
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10 of 11 people (91%) found this review helpful
46.5 hrs on record
Posted: October 12
I've been playing Ironclad Tactics off and on for over a year. Only now, after earning every card, I realize that I forgot to write a review. It’s sort of a Plants VS Zombies game except that it’s Zombies VS Zombies, and the zombies are steampunk mechs.

The pace is realtime, but it moves slow enough to allow some thinking time for your next moves. Most of the challenge comes from building specialized decks to solve the puzzle that each level presents. Your AI opponent will have the upper hand with some new attack or defense and you’ll have to come up with a counter. Most of the time this results in a tense battle of planning, wits, and fortune. When you tweak a deck combo into working just right it feels great! Each new card opens up lots of tactical options and completing challenges for cards feels rewarding.

The civil war theme and story are awesome. I love the characters and animated comics that set up you journey across America. The in-game art and animation is beautiful. It’s easy to tell every unit apart and their abilities match the visuals. A robot with a jetpack files, dude with a shotgun has spread attack, and a flame thrower hits multiple targets. The music fits and is serviceable, but for me it’s one of the weakest points of the game. Something less traditional and more gutsy could have really helped some of the longer play sessions.

Each level starts by showing you 5 random cards from your deck of 20, so sometimes it feels like a lucky/unlucky start can make or break a win. If cards come out in just the wrong order it can kill a plan, but managing this problem is also part of the art of deck building. It improved a bit with the release of the first DLC where you can now spend 1 action point to ‘save’ a critical card for later.

The first DLC uses an army with a completely different and fun style of play. It’s satisfying playing as the boss enemies that were beating you down in the final levels and to understanding the logic behind how their robots transform. It also fills in missing parts of the story with more comics. The second DLC is very stripped down, but still provides new interesting abilities. Playing the ‘War’ mode, where you’re stuck with either French or Germany armies, varies the play styles just enough to keep things fresh.

After completing everything it feels like every inch of the design space has been explored. Not every ability or tactic is perfectly balanced, but there’s lots of viable strategies to solve each problem. That said, I haven’t played multiplayer which would be a much better gauge of balance. There’s not enough players to support random matchmaking and I don’t feel like it would be that fun against friends (even if they unlocked all the cards). I also haven’t tried the co-op mode, which is supported throughout the entire game.

If you liked Spacechem, you might like this. It’s about building machines, but stochastic machines rather than logical ones. If you loved Spacechem then definitely play this to support the awesome developers!
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11 of 14 people (79%) found this review helpful
8.2 hrs on record
Posted: September 20
I like Ironclad Tactics, it is simple to learn, has great art style, and an interesting story. But above all it has fun gameplay! The story is told through an interesting comic style each mission, The story itself though I have got to say it kept me interested, maybe even more so than the gameplay. Each mission you chose to bring one of your decks and each of your decks has almost complete customizability. The biggest con I am having with the game is that alot of the missions end up with you just replaying them until you get the right deck build. This would be okay if the matches did not last so long. There is a great game to be made here, maybe some of the dlc can help improve ai/ missions? Either way I have got to say if you think this game looks interested and have money to spend I would tell you to go ahead and get it, only you can tell if you like it.
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12 of 16 people (75%) found this review helpful
2.5 hrs on record
Posted: September 27
The game is ok but, in my opinion, it should have been Turned-Based. Make it in real time is a mistake. You end up sending units hastily to the front and when you want to react it's too late. It's a pity, because I like the setting and the comic style.
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13 of 18 people (72%) found this review helpful
0.6 hrs on record
Posted: October 11
Genre - Strategy lane game with cards
This is one of those games where you have to throw your units against your enemies on the other side of the screen hoping they get through, whilst they do the same to you. This is done by activating cards at varying cost that you collect as you play the game. Some units are better suited against others and you can get some cards to move units, heal and damage. On paper this sounds quite fun. However, I am not a big fan of these lane games as I find them quite boring. True the cards add a new element but just throwing units at the enemy hoping hey get through whilst they do the same doesn't keep my interest. Also I don't know if I am just crap at this game but I tend to lose quite a few games on a level before I get the win and this seems mainly down to luck. The idea of the American civil war with steam powered Mechs is a cool concept though. Basically if you like lane fighting games, you will like this. If you don't, you will think it is a good example of the genre but still won't like it.
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15 of 23 people (65%) found this review helpful
2.5 hrs on record
Posted: October 12
Slow pain in the *ss play style. For a card game it's so simplistic as to be boring beyond belief. It looks good. But you look forward to the silent click picture stories far more than another round of play.
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6 of 6 people (100%) found this review helpful
15.5 hrs on record
Posted: September 22
Ironclad tactics is a fast paced turn-based tactics game based on card deck building. Since this description doesn't help, here is a slightly better one: the player chooses various soldiers and weapons from a consequent number of available ones. A card deck comprises 20 of these picks. Each deck has to be chosen carefully according to the needs of each mission. The battles consist of playing the cards (appearing in a random order) to send troops and give them equipment. They move automatically forward on the lanes they are deployed on, but the tactical possibilities are numerous with the ability to stop a unit, sometimes switch lanes, use weapons that target specific lanes, add a specific customization to a mecha and so on. The game seems like real time to the player, but the actions are conducted by the computer in quick, seamless turns.

This might seem complicated on paper, but in-game it works very intuitively so that the player can fully focus on choices and tactical decisions. And the fast speed allows for the battles not to drag on, they even trigger a lot of adrenaline as the player has to think fast and is always kept on the edge. The gameplay is really good and works well in these half fast-paced half-slowed down conditions.

However, where this game also really shines is in the level design. Usually strategy games can be repetitive as the players figure out their favorite strategy and repeat it to go through every mission. In Ironcland Tactics, each mission is different with the levels having a specific gimmick and the enemy deploying specific troops. While at first it can seem overwhelming if using the deck that was tailored for the previous level, this actually relates more to a puzzle game where the player has to figure out a well suited tactic to win. Card decks thus have to be customized specifically for every mission. So even if some might consider this very challenging when they don't know yet which strategy to use, I find it brilliant. It completely prevents the game from feeling repetitive with a single formula repeated ad nauseam, and keeps me thinking on how to tackle each new battle and makes me feel great for figuring out new strategies. Although, even if I mentioned a puzzle game inspiration, this game is not as static and mind taxing as a puzzle game, it remains very dynamic.

The story missions are linked through nicely made comics, reinforcing the feeling that overall this game has been carefully crafted. Additionally, the story can be played in online Coop as the players fight together and have to coordinate their strategy (forget it if you are not on voice communication, good communication seems pretty much required to succeed without making stupid mistakes - well these mistakes still happen on voice communication and can be hilarious, such as when one player decides to give a speed boost to a unit from the second player who decided that it should strategically hold position). And if you want to get revenge on your teammate for a mistake, there is always the possibility for 1 vs 1 to settle things non peacefully. Also of note, some missions can add a nice twist to the 1 vs 1 multiplayer such as the possibility for one of the two players to use a boss deck.

This game bears the "Tactics" subtitle perfectly well. I am very glad I discovered it in my Steam Library during its free week-end and gave it a curious try, otherwise I would never have known that this game is so good and keeps me so entertained while keeping my brain active.
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7 of 8 people (88%) found this review helpful
2.6 hrs on record
Posted: October 19
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YdrzRJ6iY38&list=UU7_-PLIhjsEBwIQXqKxmNpA

Ironclad Tactics is a lane defense game with cards. It is a top down style
tactical game that relays its story in a comic book fashion. You gain cards
by completing missions, challenges, and increasing difficulty.

The cards are organized a bit haphazardly, making it difficult to build
a deck. There are filters, but the way they are laid out makes it a
bit confusing
as you build your collection.

The missions aren't too complicated, but the game has increasing
difficulty and challenges that promote replayability. The object is to get
your cards (or players) accross the board, on a turn by turn basis, and to
defeat the enemy cards. There is a luck element into what kind of enemy will
appear and in what lane, and what cards you will have availble from your
collection. This randomization may appeal to some players, but the way the
cards interact does slow the lane defense experience. In the same vein, those
who are used to card games may be disillusioned by the tactical strategy that
is necessary to the more quicker paced lane defense mechanic.

I can recommend this game, but I strongly recommend that you are aware
of the hybrid card/lane defense elements so as not to expect all of one element
or too much of the other.

This is a summary of what I talk about in the video, I am a YT'er not a Blogger
Thanks for your viewership and support for more videos check click here.

http://www.youtube.com/user/SocioPyscho
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5 of 5 people (100%) found this review helpful
42.7 hrs on record
Posted: October 15
I think that it is a good game overall, although it gets sorta repetative after awhile and can get stressfull if you fail many times, but once you figure it out i think it is good.
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6 of 7 people (86%) found this review helpful
3.8 hrs on record
Posted: September 22
I gave it a try during the free weekend and liked it enough to pick it up to own permanently.

For the sale price at the very least it offers a fast engaging RTS type game where the real strategy lies in setting up your deck to beat the specifics challenges that each stage holds in store for you. Amusing civil war steampunk story and visuals just add to the charm as far as I'm concerned.
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4 of 4 people (100%) found this review helpful
19.0 hrs on record
Posted: September 25
I felt the need to evalute this game after reading most of the negative feedback in the recommendations, mostly from people giving up on it because of how hard the game is. True the game is frustrating, but I found looking for each level's solution quite challenging, rewarding, and eventually quite fun.
Having deck building elements, it'll require you to figure out which cards are good and which ones are bad, and test your decks, several times if needed. Kind of like those games such as Metal gear Acid or PSOIII, which I personally loved.
The art and story are also baffingly good, which is a strong reason to hang on and complete the whole game.
Typically this is the type of game which you can rapidly be disappointed in, and a demo would really profit everybody imo, so I'd recommend you try it beforehand, one way or another.
If you're the impatient type, you can safely pass on that game though.
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5 of 6 people (83%) found this review helpful
0.9 hrs on record
Posted: October 31
Good Game, Funny Storyline, but the battles take too long and its very difficult to win 5/10
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2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
6.7 hrs on record
Posted: November 18
Fun game to run through campaign in 6 hours. Satisfies the card game itch. Good touch controls for tablet play.
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2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
0.4 hrs on record
Posted: September 26
Ironclad Tactics was an awesome game for the time I got to play it. At first I wasn't so sure about, it didn't really seem like my kind of game, but I gave it a try and I loved it. For me they explained things so easily, everything flowed really smoothly. The game itself looks fantastic and the art style fits perfectly. The music isn't my favourite but it fits the game really well. Overall I think the game is about an 8.5 out of 10. I'm only giving it 8.5 because it's It's not exactly my favourite type of game that I can just play nonstop, it requires a good amount of thinking and proccessing your next move. I will hopefully buy the full game soon. Actually I'm going to do it right now.
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2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
16.4 hrs on record
Posted: December 17
It's a card-based strategy game that runs in realtime, where armies of retro robots march across a grid-based map as players spend action points on the cards that arm them, move them, repair them, and introduce new units to the fray. The campaign can be played co-operatively, with a few bonus objectives in missions requiring two friends to battle each other and there is a random 1-versus-1 option where you will be matched against an opponent over the web.

Game: 8.0/10
Graphic: 8.5/10

100% Achievement : Easy | Medium | Hard | Very Hard
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3 of 4 people (75%) found this review helpful
28.7 hrs on record
Posted: October 20
Interesting concept with deep tactical options. Lovely artwork
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5 of 8 people (63%) found this review helpful
8.4 hrs on record
Posted: October 16
This game is very unique, starts of with nice comic strip funny cutscenes, and has gameplay thats a mix of TCG and realtime 4 row cardplay!Unfortunately even with the right choices and deck , LUCK plays a huge role.After a while you ll probably restart a round after first 2 turns go bad.With the added expansions it has much variety and cards but is always plaqued by randomness preventing it from being a brilliant tactical game.Also the computer always has an unfair advantage on you.Lastly the tutorial is lacking badly.
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
2.5 hrs on record
Posted: September 20
i love it!its very fun!
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
3.1 hrs on record
Posted: November 29
Beautiful artwork, challenging gameplay, Linux compatibility. Great game!
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
3.3 hrs on record
Posted: July 4
Boy was I wrong not to try this game sooner. I love Civil War history, so I thought this would be up my alley. However, I've shied away from tabletop card games in the past. This was the supposed marriage of the two. I bought it in a Humble Bundle, then installed on it and sat on it for a few months. I finally fired it up and was pleasantly surprised that it wasn't exactly "playing cards via a video game" but a bit more than that. It's more fast pace than a tabletop would be, with the computer setting the moves at an even pace.

I've only played the campaign thus far, and have very much enjoyed it. I wonder how the online multi-player would be if/when I play it.
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