A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, Privateer Press announced ‘War Room’ Their own IOS/Android Army builder software. Yesterday after months of hype, suspense and delays it was finally released in the Apple Store.
War room offers:
- Full Card Display
- Army List Creation
- In-Game Damage Tracking
- Rules Reference
- In-Game List Sharing
- Turn Clocks
So A quick trip to the app store searching ‘Privateer Press’ and a 151Mb download later and it was time to see what all the fuss was about.
Upon starting the app for the first time you are presented with the welcome screen and asked to create an account. The process is very simple requiring user name, email and password. Once registered you are good to go. I have registered this on my iPad and my iPhone and have been duley informed upon loading on my phone this morning that you can only register 2 devices per account.
At the main screen you have a number of options you can select:
- Card Library – View cards of all models
- Armies – Create Army Lists
- Reference – View rules via alphabetical list
- Store – Buy the decks
- Fight – Track damage
Whilst I would normally tackle these in order, with this app you need to start with the store first. Although the app is free and mentions limited use as a free app. I could not find anything accessible without owning at least one deck first, everything down to the reference list is locked unless you have purchased at least 1 deck.
Once in the store you have a number of options, you can purchase a single faction deck for 4.99, the complete set of hordes cards for £20.99, complete Warmachine for £24.99 or everything for £39.99 Being a Khador player I elected to just go for the one deck for the time being.
With a purchased faction deck, the Card Library will allow you to view every card that belongs to that particular faction. You are asked to select a faction based on their symbol and from there a series of drop down lists to select you appropriate card. When you have a card selected you can slide across to view any additional material. One very nice feature when looking at the cards is that by clicking on a particular spell or action etc it will bring up a list of all rules that are relevant for you to reference which will allow you to define every aspect of an action.
A few gripes however kick in fairly soon. Loading screens, there are a lot of them and it gets annoying fast. As soon as I selected the Khador button I was stuck with a 5-10 second loading screen, after clicking on the various drop downs, it will hang before giving you your selections. When viewing cards as well, despite all the text fitting perfectly within the box, when you try to click a rule it will sometimes decide to activate the text scrolling instead.
Army List Creation
The main portion of the app is the ability to create army lists for use. When you start you are presented a screen to select your faction, give the list a name, select from a group of pre selected point values or enter your own, and finally select whether you want reinforcements or not.
Once you have made the basic selections its time to create your list. You are given your selection on the left hand side through drop boxes where you select the units you want. Clicking on a unit’s name will show you their relevant card and clicking the + symbol next to their name will add them to the list. IF you select a unit with multiple sizes you will be asked what size you wish. The same goes for Unit attachments, once you select one you are presented with a list of options on where to place them.
When a warcaster is selected you can click the top right button that says ‘tap to select theme’ this will present you with the Tier list(s) available to that caster along with their requirements and subsequent benefits.
This leads nicely to one of my biggest gripes with this app. There is no validation. Well lie you get an error message if you select a warjack without first selecting a caster but that is it. There are no restrictions set in place when you select a Tier list, so the app will not stop me from putting a gun carriage in my Zerkova Hunting wolves themed list, or Kayazay Underboss in a unit of Iron fang pikemen.
The app will also not stop you from going over field allowances. It does however flag a red number up on a unit if its over allocation but if a Tier List allows that FA to change, then the app will not change that FA to be in line with the Theme selected, which to me seems a little bit pointless.
It is worth noting as well that when you select a unit attachment and it gives you the option to select a unit to attach it to, it just presents you with the unit names and will not let you unit sizes, which in itself is not a major problem it can be an annoyance when creating large point value lists.
However once you are past this section and it’s limitations, and you have a legal list, you have the option to save, email the list or fight with it. The formatting of the lists is clean and easy to read so it makes sending in lists to TO’s nice and simple to do.
The reference section is a nice simple section that lists all rules in a alphabetical indexed fashion, where there is an appropriate symbol from cards they are displayed as well. Clicking on a rule will give you all the relevant wording from the rulebook. The only negative and this is purely from me being picky is that I would prefer to have an option to have all rules accessible in a long list as well as individual letters, this is purely for preference and its exclusion takes nothing away from the app itself.
The fight section allows you you use your army lists and mark damage, it also allows you to share your list with other war room users so this will make a great addition to Vassal. At present I have not used the share option. Selecting the solo option, will allow you to choose one of your created lists, from their you can view the key information such as base stats, weapon P&S, spells etc. However for casters they do not list the feat. You can click the models icon to view the entire card however.
Clicking on the heart icon will allow you to assign damage. You can do this my manually clicking the damage boxes or by sliding you finger across the number box to change the amount. Once committed damage is assigned and you can go back in to manually click a box already damaged to remove damage when effects throughout the game allow. For Jacks you are able to again manually tick a box or assign x number of damage points to a particular column. Once dead, you are presented with a nice Smiling privateer pirate skull to mark your model / unit as dead.
This section of the app also allows you to select timed turns. You can elect to use anything from 1 minute onwards. I stopped clicking at 122 minutes. However the timer itself is rather a pointless addition. When the time reaches zero nothing happens. No sound or ringer is played from the iPad and the time simply carries on into -seconds and minutes. So in any form of game environment when you cannot keep and eye on the small timer in the left hand corner it really serves no beneficial use which is rather a shame.
Overall I think this app is ok, It’s not great it’s just ok. Using the app everything felt slow and clunky to do with delays on buttons that after a while just get very annoying, iPads are fairly quick devices and this is the only app I have that feels so clunky to use. Don’t get me wrong, there are some great features within this app and I do like parts of it, however aspects as mentioned above have been overlooked/neglected/poorly executed which really affects the usability. Given updates though this can turn into a very good app however at the moment it is far from that.
Thankfully for me I did not buy into the hype. I have made that mistake on many video games in the past so I managed to stay clear of everything. The majority of the community have though and for them I can only feel that this is going to be a massive disappointment especially considering we all had iBodger prior to the announcement of this. One thing that is for sure is that Tinkerhouse games have a lot of work to do. With this app promising so much and following a number of delays for extra development it has fallen quite short of the mark.