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Ironclads: American Civil War Demo Comments

October 17th, 2008 by Troy Goodfellow · 2 Comments · Indie Games, Wargames

A demo is now available for Totem Games’ 19th century naval wargame. You can play either side of the war in a multiple ship battle.

My early impressions are not good, mostly because it doesn’t feel like naval combat. It’s turn based, which is fine, but you only face enemy fire on the enemy’s turn, which is not. When you move your ship into a position to fire, you can unleash hell and then run for the hills and get no counter battery in your direction. Fire your broadsides and run like hell; there’s only a small chance that you’ll be chased.

The result is that there isn’t a lot of risk/reward calculation in choosing your angle of approach, only in your direction of escape. If I can get close enough, I can fire my fore, aft and starboard guns and, if my ship is fleet enough, turn and get a couple of port shots off. Meanwhile, the enemy captain has to wait his turn.

This sort of design isn’t unique to Ironclads; I’m sure you’ve run across it in other wargames. But even older land wargames like Age of Rifles had opportunity fire that you had to be aware off. Yes, much of the time you could approach and fire without a shot against you. But part of the game’s design was to save some of those action points for firing at whatever came in range. This was why defensive positions were so tough to crack.

The game looks OK and has a very intuitive interface. It’s probably one of the most user friendly naval games to come along in a while. I’m still not sure whether I’ll pull the trigger on a purchase though.


2 Comments so far ↓

  • James Allen

    While you could wait for my review in a week (the 26th, to be exact), the demo gives a pretty good idea what to expect. The campaigns are in a linear order and have one of two objectives (destroy all ships, destroy a building AND all ships). The only neat part is that destroyed ships do not carry over to future missions they would have been in, which makes conservation a top priority. With no multiplayer and tactics like to mention above, it’s looking like a solid 5/8.

  • Dave

    Turn-based wargames without opportunity fire is like home ownership without a mortgage.

    It’s nice if you can get it, but it ain’t reality.