Back, oh, about 20 years ago, Armored Core came out for the original Sony Playstation. It was unique in that it was one of the first games that not only let you heavily customize your mech between battles but also boasted some whiplash action during gameplay. It was frenetic and punishing to those without quick reflexes, but also rewarded players that were willing to dive deep and crunch the numbers on what upgrades would serve them best. As the series continued, the mechs got bigger and bigger and the customization deeper. Sadly, I missed it all as my eye had turned away from video games and onto board games.
Lucky for me, then, that Bad Crow Games has picked up the official license to Armored Core and have put together a seriously wicked tabletop game!
Armored Core RTS is played in 20-minute rounds of non-stop action with a customizable terrain, featuring skyscrapers and other line-of-sight blocking obstacles. The highly-detailed mech miniatures slot into a base with an integrated LED to help you quickly figure out if you can take the shot or not. You have to pilot your mech, fire weapons, activate equipment, and direct your support troops simultaneously. You can even take out surrounding buildings to improve your line of sight. It sounds as frenetic and crazy as the original game!
In between rounds, you have a chance to spend your earned loot on upgrades for your mech and gear, customizing everything to suit your playstyle. There are over a hundred unique weapons, boosters, and equipment items to choose from, some inexpensive, some that you’ll have to save your resources to acquire. Beyond buying cards to upgrade your personal deck, you can get physical gear to swap out parts on your mech! Each mech mini has interchangeable arm and leg sockets, allowing you to switch out weapons and leg units. The Kickstarter mentions possible magnetization–I’m really hoping that ends up being a stretch goal rather than just an after-market suggestion! The minis themselves are faithful to the property and manage to be menacing, weighty, and sleek all at the same time.
Overall, Armored Core RTS is a campaign-style game, where you have mulitple, branching missions with a wide variety of parameters to complete–from resource collection to outright destruction. There is also a cooperative expansion with additional units that you can snag alongside the base game.
The Kickstarter did phenomenally well in its first day, blowing way past its funding goal in just four hours. They’ve unlocked a new elite mech and building miniature upgrades, along with two-sided boards and environment markers. Looking down the road, Bad Crow seems to be taking the measured path of further upgrading the core components rather than delivering tons of additional pieces–smart for their first campaign. The base game is available for $79, with the base and expansion pre-order running you $125. If you’re looking to get even more, there are a few “Ultimate” editions that contain Kickstarter Exclusive mechs (which will be available as add-on purchases as well). If you’re interested, hurry over to the campaign page before they sell out.
It’s an exciting campaign and what looks to be a truly unique game. Bad Crow Games will be sending me the completed game once they’re available. I can’t wait to see how it plays!