The lights are on
The concept of random card draws mixed with turn-based tactics isn't a new concept. Petroglyph's Panzer General Allied Assault on Xbox Live, Robot Entertainment's Hero Academy, and even Wizard of the Coast's Magic: The Gathering Tactics have all contributed to the genre. At first glance, you might think that Ironclad Tactics is the same thing, but you'd be very wrong.
Historically, the ironclads were naval vessels, but Zachtronics has twisted history to make them walking automotons. The setting is the American Civil War, and the South has invaded the North with bipedal tanks. Thankfully, the Union has some of its own, making for a steam-powered robot rumble.
Unlike many tactics games that encourage players to take their time and plot their moves, Ironclad Tactics moves at a very brisk pace. Each round passes in about five seconds, with rapid action point, play, attack, and movement phases. In order to facilitate the pace, units move in a straight line, with maneuvers handled by playing cards.
Units can be paused for free, which is a critical piece of the strategy. Battles are won by accruing victory points by having your units pass the edge of the enemy's side. Those units are scored, but lost for the rest of the battle. This creates a tower defense atmosphere in which your units are both tower and invader.
Ironclads come in a variety of sizes and shapes, and many have slots for armaments and different stat-boosting heads. Infantry plays a crucial role in fights, as they are the only units that capture AP-boosting flags. They are unsurprisingly squishy, and ironclads can take them out just by stepping on them during a move.
Each mission offers bonus objectives that unlock more cards for deck customization. Decks are 20 cards, and it's important to use them as they appear in your hand during a match. Should your hand fill up, cards will be pushed off the board and made unavailable.
Ironclad Tactics is only a few weeks from its September 18 release. The title is designed for solo, co-op, and head-to-head skirmish play. It will be available on PC via Steam. Make sure to check out the trailer above.
Email the author Mike Futter, or follow on Google+, Twitter, and Game Informer.
I want a Zombie Robot Lincoln to fight a Deadpool Mech in this game. And instead of slaves couldn't the South use Ironclads to harvest cotton? It would solve the economic and war problems at the same time.