I have an admission to make. I’ve always had an aversion to crowdfunding video games. I can’t really explain why, especially considering some of the brilliant games that have been crowdfunded and that I don’t have a problem crowdfunding physical games, but up until now I’ve never even been interested in plonking down my cash for a digital crowdfunding effort. The Iron Oath has changed all of that for me. Now I’m in for $15, excited, and tempted to up my pledge even higher.

I first noticed The Iron Oath after bignic (the one man team behind the awesome Domina) retweeted some of the pixel art from the game. I hit the Kickstarter page but bounced off of it without really taking a close look. I have that aversion to crowdfunding videogames after all. I decided to go back and take a closer look for some reason though, and now I’m in. Based on the description of the game on the page, The Iron Oath looks like it is trying to tick off every checkbox on the “List of things Travis likes in a videogame”. I really like tactical turn based combat, I love permadeath, I like managing a guild/base (see XCOM new and old), and I love dynamic stories and characters that change based on my decisions. Let’s take a look at the listed features straight from the Kickstarter page:

  • Tactical turn-based Combat: Deadly foes, traps and destructible objects means one misstep could be your party’s undoing. Proper planning and execution is vital to your success.
  • A Large and Dynamic Overworld: 9 regions with over 50 hubs to visit. Cities can be overtaken, destroyed and rebuilt; while various factions can emerge, rise and fall. A playthrough can potentially last hundreds of years, resulting in many changes to the initial world state.
  • In-depth Guild Management: Control your guild’s finances, resources, alliances and roster. Your characters will age, retire and frequently die in combat and you will need to recruit and train their replacements.
  • Character Development: Every recruitable character has their own personal backstory, incorporating events that have taken place during your playthrough. Their motives, alignment and traits all stem from this, but each of the three is subject to change as their career progresses.
  • Dynamic Dialogue: Characters will converse over a variety of subjects such as the current state of the world or relevant past experiences, along with offering their input on any decisions you face.
  • Decisions Matter: Your choices bear consequences and they can affect your characters, your guild and the many factions that exist throughout the world.
  • Detailed Pixel Art: Meticulously hand-crafted pixel art characters, animations and environments help set the mood for your journey.

The team, known as Curious Panda, behind the game is headed up by Chris Wingard, who most notably worked for EA on various different sports titles before leaving to pursue the indie development route. Joining Chris on the project is pixel artist Nik Mueller and composer Alex Roe. Curious Panda previously put out Rhythm Destruction, so this isn’t their first foray into the indie games scene, although it is by far their most ambitious.

The Iron Oath has a number of pledge levels ranging from $5 all the way up to $2000, and all pledge levels with the game will get you the game on Steam or DRM free via Humble.

  • $5 will get you a Wallpaper and a Ringtone in September
  • $15 will snag you a copy of the game, the Wallpaper and Ringtone, and gets your name in the credits
  • $20 adds a Digital Manual to the mix
  • $25 adds a Digital Art Book
  • $35 includes the Soundtrack
  • $50 is the tier you want if you want into the Closed Beta, and also gives you access to a private Discord channel, and an in-game Guild Flag
  • $75 and up gets you two copies of the game, and your name will be added to the pool of randomly generated NPC names
  • $125 gives you the chance to get creative, and write a Corpse’s Journal for inclusion in the game
  • $200 gets you a passage and a pixel art rendition in the game’s Book of the Fallen
  • $300 gives you the chance to design a Legendary Item in the game
  • $400 gives you the opportunity to design a neutral NPC
  • $500 is where you want to pledge if you want to design an Overworld Encounter or Event for the game
  • $750 lets you design a Shrine of a God, including the pose of the statue, and effects that it will grant to characters that interact with it
  • $1000 will put you in the role of a mission designer, and give you the chance to design a 2-stage Mission
  • The final $2000 tier has already been taken, but it offered 1 backer the chance to design a Bandit Group

As of this writing, the campaign has 14 days left, and it is sitting at just over $35,000 of its $45,000 goal. The middle of Kickstarter campaigns tend to be the slowest part, so there is a very good chance that the game will meet its funding goal. The Iron Oath is planned to be delivered to backers at the $15 through $35 tiers in March of 2019, while backers at the $50 and above tiers should have access to the beta beginning in October of 2018.

Overworld Encounter

Turn based, perma-death, and a splash of choose your own adventure. Sign me up.

There is a ton of information that I didn’t even touch on over on the Kickstarter page, so if you want to know more, see more art, or even listen to some of the songs from the soundtrack, then head over and check it out. If you are like me, you’ll probably end up pledging while you are there, which will put the game closer to funding, and then closer to the post-funding stretch goals. Currently, there are only two stretch goals listed, one at $55k that adds a Guild Council to the game that will assist and expand your guild, and a $65k goal that will add Sea Travel and Encounters to the game. There are also some social goals, the first of which has already been achieved.

  • At 4 Goals (already unlocked) the Grappler class was unveiled
  • At 8 Goals an alternate skin for every class will be added
  • At 12 Goals the artist will create a tutorial outlining his method for creating and animating characters
  • At 16 Goals the character portraits will be enlarged and improved
  • At 20 Goals a new multi-stage quest will be revealed that will allow players to unlock an additional character class

All told, things are looking really positive for The Iron Oath. There’s always a risk when crowdfunding a game, but this one looks solid enough that it got me to take the plunge.

What do you think of The Iron Oath. Is there enough here to get you excited to pledge? How do you feel about Social Goals in crowdfunding campaigns? Let us know in the comments below.


Travis Williams

Tabletop Editor

Maestro of cardboard and plastic.