Sunday, March 10, 2013

Warmachine/Hordes War Room App Review

So here's my take on this nifty little app called "War Room," released by Privateer Press in support the game, Warmachine (and Hordes, but a "War Room" for "Warmachine" is just so much more alliterative) Scroll to the bottom for the TL; DR. Most of this is referring to the iPad version of this, because it's the best version, and it is probably what I'm going to use primarily. I will include a section at the end to talk about the phone version.

What you get:
The app is free. Completely free, and you have to make a username with the Privateer Press servers. What does it come with? I'll tell you.

1) Rules reference: (i.e. how do Combined Ranged Attacks work? How does Bushwhacking work? etc.), and the ability to view certain cards for casters and other models in the Prime books. Mneh. Kinda nice... but for some reason I prefer books for reference, it's just so much easier for juxtaposition of rules if you need to do so.

...but then I clicked on the "Store" tab, and that's when I needed new pants. For $7 you can buy EVERY card from a single army. No fluff, so if you want to have the book lying around as a coffee table piece to spark conversations, you should still buy the book. But this app isn't about conversation. This app is for your inner Sun Tzu. You can also buy every card from every Warmachine and Hordes army for about $50. That's right. For the price of a single book, you can read the full stats and rules of every single unit in the game. Not only that, you can make armies with them, which brings me to:

2) Army Builder: So, now you know what your options are. Boy, are there a whole lot of them. There's so many casters and so many 'jacks to choose from, and that's before you have even considered looking at the mercenaries and minions! What do you do? Look in the army builder section of War Room.

The app will pull everything up in a handy list on the left hand side of the screen and all you have to do is click the "+" button to add it your army, to include any merc or minion options. If there's multiple options available for unit size, or who to attach the model to, the app will let you pick. If you forgot what the unit does, then tap its portrait to find out! The app will keep track of points and force allocation limits, highlighting in red when you've gone too far. The app can show you the theme force for your warcaster, but currently doesn't seem to keep track of your tier fulfillment.

Okay, so you've built your army. What now? Go fight! Thankfully, this app has you covered as well!

3) "Fight:" just what it sounds like. You can take those armies that you've input into the tablet, and fight with them. The app pulls up your army, gives you a turn timer, and will track damage. Yep, no more mucking around on a card cover with a marker. You can do this all digitally. Of course, the app retains it's ability to show you the weapons and stats of any card. You can even duel an opponent, but I haven't had the time to test out this function.

The app intuitive and easy to use. It's easy to read and easy to understand. There is ONE gripe I have with this app, and that is this: when looking at faction cards, if you hold your finger down on the screen for a moment, it will pull up the rules referenced on the card for your perusal. Unfortunately this function seems a little finicky, as I can't seem to always get it to pull up when i want it to, or it pops up while i'm trying to scroll through a card. I wish this were just a button at the top, but it's a small blemish on an otherwise great app that provides quite a bit of value.

Non-Tablet versions:
This app was designed for tablets. And for what it does, tablets are optimal. I have this on my phone, which offers all the same functions, but is a bit more claustrophobic. I'd probably pull up the phone version if I'm sitting on the bus and have an army idea, but I'd rather use the iPad version if available, mostly because I have really big fingers that have problems with apparently being dead, so I need all the screen real estate I can get, but also because the tablet version is higher resolution, so it looks a bit better :-) If you DO have two versions, like I do... your username remembers your purchases across the platforms so you only pay for the cards once! Pretty cool.

TL; DR version: This app is a very clear example of how much attention PP pays to its games and how much they want to support their players. If you can afford the 50 bucks for the army cards, it's a great way to buff your knowledge of the possibilities out there, and will save you LOADS of time trying to build an army. ($35 for all Warmachine armies and $25 for all Hordes armies, if there are those of you who are not interested in the whole thing, or don't have that much money to spare)