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 (490 reviews) - 67% of the 490 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Sep 18, 2013

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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
Customer reviews
Customer Review system updated Sept. 2016! Learn more
Mixed (490 reviews)
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307 reviews match the filters above ( Mostly Positive)
Most Helpful Reviews  Overall
224 of 293 people (76%) found this review helpful
3 people found this review funny
Not Recommended
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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63 of 74 people (85%) found this review helpful
4 people found this review funny
Not Recommended
4.7 hrs on record
Posted: July 24, 2015
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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114 of 162 people (70%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Not Recommended
1.9 hrs on record
Posted: May 5, 2014
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.

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33 of 37 people (89%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
22.9 hrs on record
Posted: March 24, 2015
If you've ever played a collectible card game, do you enjoy constructing a deck as much as actually playing the game? If so, then you'll probably enjoy Ironclad Tactics.

It's possible to slog your way through missions with sub-optimal builds/tactics, and granted, it is incredibly frustrating when played in that manner. The core missions are tolerant of bad play, so you can get pretty far into the game before realizing what you're doing wrong. After unwittingly playing badly throughout the main campaign, I eventually hit a wall in the additional content.

The final mission of New Game Plus was particularly brutal, and I barely beat it after a couple hours of reckless attempts. As I moved onto the DLC missions, I found myself frequently devastated by the enemy having 1.5-2 times the resources that I do. Slogging through these missions was becoming increasingly unlikely, and I was questioning whether these missions were fairly balanced. Did I have to rely on the AI screwing up to stand a chance, or was there another way?

At that point, I approached the game from a different angle. First play a mission noncommitally with a simple deck, just to grasp what's being thrown my way. Then go to the drawing board and construct a deck particularly for that mission. With that mindset, I was crushing missions on the first "serious attempt" and feeling accomplished in my decision making.

Playing in this manner is a bit artificial. In what other game do you play a level for the first time solely to analyze it, with no intent of winning? I wonder if Ironclad Tactics could have been more forthcoming with its mission content, rather than have players flail through the motions with an uncatered deck.

I recommend trying Ironclad Tactics with the "study first, succeed later" approach. That's what tipped me into the "recommended" camp. This is certainly a game for analysts/tinkerers.
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44 of 59 people (75%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
41.4 hrs on record
Posted: October 4, 2013
I really enjoyed this game and chose to go through every optional challenge for a full completion of the campaign. Even so, it was fairly short (around 12 hours for a full-clear?) The multiplayer was also enjoyable, but not a compelling reason to buy. The campaign missions, challenges, and puzzles were solid and I really enjoyed the setting for the game (more than I expected to.) I recommend picking this up if you like a good strategic game with reasonable depth and multiple paths to victory. I bought it as part of a full price two-pack and would buy again. Completing all of the challenges (especially without using cards from much further on in the campaign) made this have just the right difficulty level for me to really like that challenge without thinking it was stupidly hard or "lucky."
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36 of 47 people (77%) found this review helpful
3 people found this review funny
3.8 hrs on record
Posted: September 22, 2014
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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33 of 43 people (77%) found this review helpful
3 people found this review funny
46.5 hrs on record
Posted: October 12, 2014
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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50 of 78 people (64%) found this review helpful
21.3 hrs on record
Posted: May 22, 2014
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).
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54 of 89 people (61%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Not Recommended
1.8 hrs on record
Posted: April 20, 2014
I was a very big fan of Space Chem (previous game from this designer) coming into this, with hopes of a similar brain-xploding idea of complexity condensed down into pure fun. While this has some great deck building elements and interesting play mechanic, it seems to just boil down to spamming cards. And sometimes the only way to learn a level is play it and lose 20 times with different deck builds each time before finally one clicks. Now this same process can be said for many games like Super Meat Boy or others of the same ilk, but while those are quick to reset and get you back into the meat of it, this game takes time and turn order. It builds up and leaves you very twitchy and ♥♥♥♥♥♥ when the next deck combo doesn't work. Interesting premise and great presenation, but just hampered down by mechanics that seem to wear down before their final destination.
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35 of 56 people (63%) found this review helpful
52.0 hrs on record
Posted: June 26, 2014
(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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Recently Posted
4.7 hrs
Posted: October 23
Well executed and great tactical game with a lot of cards and decent campaign.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
0.4 hrs
Posted: September 4
Product received for free
Easy achievement. Actually looks like a fun simple card game, but I got bored of it pretty quickly.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
2.6 hrs
Posted: July 30
personal score: C-RANK
price paid: 14.99 USDs
price history: buy at a 75%+ price cut
Helpful? Yes No Funny
1.7 hrs
Posted: July 25
This game was forgettable. I played this game a long time ago and noticed I got 100% on it in achievements, so that's for hte review.

Achievement Quest: 1 Achievement, Very Easy.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
21.5 hrs
Posted: July 20
Awesome game
Helpful? Yes No Funny
1.5 hrs
Posted: July 15
I wasn't expecting much, which is exactly what I got.
It's passably fun for a short period, but it quickly gets repetitive, and the difficulty curve isn't well designed. The plot and characters are nothing but annoyances and the mechanics aren't balanced.
I wouldn't buy it even on sale.
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Animated Effigy [MicS]
10.9 hrs
Posted: July 14
While weak on story, this card based strategy provdes addictive gameplay and is an intersting variation on the genre.
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83.1 hrs
Posted: June 15
Highly complex and tactical card game with quite a bit of RNG. A cool comic driven storyline and very demanding level challenges.

I was a kickstarter backer of this and even although I didn't play it for too long, I always thought I got way more than my moneys worth.
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10.2 hrs
Posted: June 8
I played this game when it had sort of a free weekend thing a few years ago. It's really good. 10/10 waiting to get steam cards so I can buy. Also a tip. When making decks get lots of the guys wearing fezzes, they're hard to kill as if you only shoot them once they have armor so it wont do anything, and he will pick up and put his fez back on. Their only weakness is multiple enemies shooting him at once, or gettig stepped on by an Ironclad.
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Obey the Fist!
2.0 hrs
Posted: June 7
Doesn't work if you own a 4K monitor (screen draw exceeds desktop). Basic testing would have picked this immediately. Selling games that simply don't work on contemporary hardware is reprehensible.
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