Ironclad Tactics, when a game has that weird flavor that you think you sorta like but you don’t really know if you like it but like…


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For a long time I had an idea for a strategy game. It would be a steampunk reimagining of the civil war with steam powered mechs. Maimed soldiers would have their amputated limbs replaced with steam powered prosthetics and the mechs would be like walking land-based versions of the ironclad battleships that made their first appearance in the civil war. The idea always resonated with me strongly so when I saw Ironclad Tactics in the steam store that featured that exact premise I was both devastated and intrigued. Someone had already made the idea I was never really going to get around to! I had to check it out.

Ironclad Tactics is a really unique game if nothing else. It combines a deck-building card game with real-time tactics. The turn phases of draw, deploy, attack, and move are put on a timer that doesn’t stop. It’s easy to never even realize the game is turn based. You draw infantry, mechs, mech parts, and tactics cards and deploy them on one of 4 lanes. The ultimate goal is to march your mechs all the way down to your opponent’s side and score victory points. The whole thing has the wonky vibe of an unfamiliar genre and I had to play the early missions over a few times before how all of the mechanisms worked together fully gelled in my mind.

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I felt uncertain about my feelings about the game for most of the time I was playing it until 6 hours passed and I finally looked up and realized I had played through the entire main campaign in almost one sitting. I was still convinced the game was merely alright but I still had this hunger to play even more. I clicked on the online match making and was far more devastated by being unable to find a game than I anticipated. I don’t love the game, but ok games don’t make you wanna keep playing like this. It’s like getting far too used to eating nothing but a can of beans for most of your meals. I don’t really particularly enjoy beans, but I’m getting hungry and I keep ignoring all of the boxes of pasta  and cans of soup in my pantry and go straight for the beans every time. There’s an expansion that lets you play through the Franco-Prussian war I’m thinking about getting. It might be interesting to mix it up a little, you know, try some kidney beans instead of pinto.

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