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 (382 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."
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Recent updates View all (2)

May 6

Blood and Ironclads is now available!

The steam-powered automatons of the American Civil War make their way to Europe in Ironclad Tactics: Blood and Ironclads, an exciting new add-on campaign for the fast-paced, card-based tactics game Ironclad Tactics. With eight new missions, two new full-sized armies, and a challenging WAR! mode, you’ll unlock up to twenty four new cards from the French and German Empires!

If you own the deluxe edition of Ironclad Tactics, you’ll find that Blood and Ironclads is already installed and ready to play!

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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

PC
Mac
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
88 of 117 people (75%) found this review helpful
1.9 hrs on record
This game has a framework with so much potential I was really excited the first few rounds.

Unfortunately, before long it starts to feel like playing rock-paper-scissors with, well, a computer. Random play is equally effective as well-thought strategy and winning or losing feels like a flip of the coin. However if you lose a round the computer will replay the round virtually identically so it becomes trivial to win next time.

There's a really good game waiting to be made here, but this isn't it.




Posted: May 5
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45 of 68 people (66%) found this review helpful
21.3 hrs on record
I was unsure about purchasing this game initially, but I'm glad I did. Although the gameplay looks quite simplistic, it turns out that there are many different tactical possibilities. Each level can be a bit of a puzzle to solve, and the solution often comes down to building a different deck. If at first you don't succeed, change the cards in your deck. Even so, you could have a good deck but still lose due the random chance of which cards are drawn. The first few cards are often crucial at the start of a battle, but don't give up, I've come back from some bad starts and still won.

Card games are usually turn based so I was a little surprised to find out that there's a fairly quick timer running constantly (with no pause unless you press escape, but you can't study the board while paused), so you have real time pressure forcing you to make quick decisions. Normally I hate this sort of thing, but in this case I actually like it. It didn't take long to get used to it, it ensures quick battles (which makes a nice change of pace for me because I normally play slowly) and while it puts you under pressure, the timer lasts long enough for you to make good decisions most of the time, although occasionally you'll mess up.

My advice is to have a clear strategy in mind before you start each battle (and construct a deck to support that strategy), so that you know exactly what you plan to do during the battle. This makes it much easier to make quick decisions. Often you'll lose each battle on the first attempt, usually because the deck you're using isn't appropriate for the new situation, but just treat that as a learning battle to help figure out the best strategy to win it.

Each battle often has 3 different victory conditions. You only need to win the battle to progress the storyline, but if you fulfill the extra victory conditions you win more cards. Often you'll need to play each battle 2 or 3 times to win them all, since you usually need to win some new cards to help you fulfil the extra victory conditions.

There's a multi-player option and some cards can only be won by using this option. I'm not normally a fan of multi-player but this game seems ideal for it because of the fast play timer and the short games. I also think that playing against another human with a custom deck would make the strategy a lot more unpredictable and hence interesting.

I've only played through about 10 battles so far so I'm not sure how much more the game has to offer yet. I may add to this review once I've played more.

My conclusion so far is that the gameplay and tactics are better and more varied than I expected and it's proving to be quite an addictive game. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys the random nature of tactical card based games, and the ability to create custom decks and play multi-player.

[Edit] I've finished the main campaign now, there's 19 battles in all. Later battles become extremely difficult and can be frustrating to complete. But they're all winnable, the key comes down to designing an appropriate deck, but even then it may take several attempts due to the random nature of card drawing. In spite of the difficulty, or rather because of it, I found winning to be even more satisfying.

I still haven't beaten all the battles with the extra victory conditions yet, but I'll be going back to do that. Not only that, but once you've beaten the campaign once, you can play the entire campaign again at a higher level of difficulty. I've spent 21 hours on it so far so there's plenty of value to be had from this game, and that's not even mentioning the DLCs which add new campaigns.

In response to some people who've said that there's not much depth to the strategy, they're wrong IMO. There's a massive number of different ways that you can construct decks and many different strategies you can use, you just need to use your imagination. For example, the rubbish prototype ironclads you get at the start of the campaign often came in very useful in the difficult later battles, simply because they are so cheap (you can spam them and use them as blockers).

So my final conclusion is that I highly recommend this game, provided you enjoy the random nature of card games and can handle the stress of the fast turns (you have about 3 seconds in which to play cards each turn, plus another 2 or 3 seconds to resolve the turn).
Posted: May 22
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30 of 46 people (65%) found this review helpful
51.1 hrs on record
(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.
Posted: June 26
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11 of 14 people (79%) found this review helpful
8.2 hrs on record
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.
Posted: September 20
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11 of 14 people (79%) found this review helpful
2.5 hrs on record
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.
Posted: October 12
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170 of 218 people (78%) found this review helpful
10.6 hrs on record
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.
Posted: December 11, 2013
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