Quirkworthy’s Ramblings: It’s All Mine!

This article reprinted by kind permission of Ravage magazine.

Gamers like stuff. Me too, and sometimes I wonder why the draw to the latest shiny thing is so strong. When I say “stuff” I don’t mean the games themselves. Of course you need boards and pieces to play things. What I mean is all the extra gubbins that we gamers accumulate: dice bags, cups and towers; measuring sticks, a myriad types of “special” dice for every occasion, extra counters, 3D tokens, special cases to carry it all in and so on. Some games seem to be sold on the weight of the box rather than the quality of the game and include all manner of unnecessary baggage. More than once I’ve sat round the table with fellow gamers, discussing some pieces or counters that don’t seem to actually have a purpose other than to bulk the game out. It’s odd.

I’m not pointing the finger at anyone here because I’m just the same. I buy special dice for particular armies, look for nice acrylic counters to replace the card ones that come in the box, and wonder whether I have space for a dice tower on my gaming table. It seems to come with the territory.

 

So?

What I am curious about here is where gaming might be going. If our collective love of extra shiny add-ons to our favourite games is as commonplace as I think it is, then how does that fit with a world which increasingly strives to have digital rulebooks, on-screen games and so on? It seems like a core feature of gamers and gaming is a love for the shiny things that may all differ in detail but which are solid, physical objects. Getting special dice to roll virtually, on-screen just isn’t the same as having them in my hand. Agonising over which coloured sparkly dice are most appropriate for each game or faction, over whether my dice tower needs to be covered in spiral marquetry or whether it can be stuck inside a Cthulhu plushy… these things matter to us gaming geeks. And it seems to be the physical details which matter most. All of these are tactile delights, and ones that go firmly against the grain of the modern world. How can we bring these two themes together?

Now I’m not a Luddite at all. I’ve got my iPad and am happy to upload as many different rulebooks as I can. It makes carrying a wealth of paper reference for a game very much easier, and when the talk around the table drifts into other topics (as it will) I can check other rule sets I might have virtually, or look up things on the internet. All good.

 

A Way Ahead

I think this is a real opportunity. There have been several waves of digital “invasions” of the board game space in the past, and they have generally been touted as revolutionary (then withered very quickly). This has partly been due to the unwieldy nature of older computers. Now, with the near ubiquity of smart phones and the rising popularity of tablets, a great deal of computing power is easily portable (and is already present round many gaming tables). This gives us two obvious routes into the digital:

1)   internet access.

2)   Apps.

The internet is the land of FAQs and help with confusions. It’s full of folk who’ve come across that problem before and know the answer. It’s great for finding out niggly details about game play and rules queries.

When it comes to supporting traditional games, I think that apps are a poorly developed resource. The question here is the crux of my point: how far can traditionalist-shiny-toy-loving-gamers cope with having their shiny toys replaced by a different (digital) shiny toy. I’ve seen various apps for gaming including ones for rolling dice and a clever one for working out who should get the first turn. And so far, in every case, people have been amused once and then gone back to doing it the old fashioned way.

Progress marches on, and the handheld computing power we have now is only one step in a process that won’t wait for anyone. The resource seems largely untapped by traditional gamers and I’m curious to see what use these can be put to.  Where is the balance point between dice and digital?

 

By the way…

How much have you adopted digital assistance in your traditional gaming? Has this increased since you started? Where do you expect it to be in another 10 years’ time?

If you could have someone create any gaming app for you that you can imagine, what would it do?

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49 Responses to Quirkworthy’s Ramblings: It’s All Mine!

  1. Mike Thorp says:

    I’m not so bothered about having specific dice (just so long as they are nice and clear and don’t involve red dots on green dice – a nightmare for those of us who are colour blind!) and I’ve never seen the point of dice towers, but there is something nice about physical components as you’ve described. Board games like Agricola are thoroughly enhanced by animeeples and the likes…
    I love physical rulebooks though and can’t get my head around digital ones. I’ve got an ipad and an iphone and it’s a great way to browse some of the free to download rulesets, but I can’t cope without a physical copy of the book. The digital freebies that some kickstarters include really don’t do much for me, but bind them together in a book (as Deadzone eventually did) and they suddenly seem to have more value and something I’m willing to pay for.
    Back to your point on what apps could do… In theory they can take the place of cards to track damage on troops – Privateer Press do a good job with their cards, although they are eye-wateringly expensive if you want several virtual-decks. I could actually imagine them working very well for acting as the opponent in a single player game. You can add much more depth than is possible with a set of AI cards, but take it too far and you may as well do away with the physical board and just play on the phone! I think I would prefer a well created deck though, just for the feel of shuffling the cards and turning them over to see what happens.
    I guess I’m just a luddite when it comes to ‘proper games’…

    • Quirkworthy says:

      I think that this crossing point (where an app stops being a helper and starts being a game in its own right) is something we’ll come back to a lot as this area develops.

  2. Gnawhunger says:

    Years ago (back in the late 80’s) we used to discuss no longer needing models as hologram tables would make them all obsolete. Now I suppose a similar effect would be having some VR glasses which would get rid of the need for a physical table and models altogether. It’d save me from having to paint any more models – I like collecting them and sticking them together, but painting is often more of a chore than enjoyment.

    The link to the internet is a pain – when I’m away at work I get either no or limited internet access, and if I get internet access most gaming sites are on a banned list. When playing computer games it gets very irritating when Steam decides to ‘lose’ the offline profile as I haven’t logged on for the past 10 days.

    Computer games replicating tabletop games are odd, but are probably the ultimate gaming app – no need for a board, models, tapes, rulebooks or dice.

    I’ve played the Bloodbowl computer game (which for all it’s little flaws is OK when I have hours to kill with no internet access and no opponents), but it makes me a ‘lazy’ player – I no longer have to remember all the rules (as the computer works it all out) and don’t tend to plan out my moves as much.

    I’ve enjoyed playing Xcom – which is basically a tabletop skirmish wargame, and that probably influenced me throwing money at the Deadzone kickstarter. In fact the player I got to try out the Deadzone Alpha rules with, I’ve played against online in Xcom. Reading some reviews of how innovative it was left me with a bizarre feeling as the gameplay concept it will be very familiar to any wargamer.

    I still prefer ‘real’ rulebooks over .pdfs, even when I have pdf and paper versions, I’m not sure I’d be happy about using a computer RNG when I could be rolling dice (the Bloodbowl game seems to throw up some odd strings of results, but maybe I notice it more on a computer screen). There’s always the possibility that someone’s app might just ‘stretch’ the laws of probability in their favour.

    If an app improves things, I’d probably adopt it, but just having one for the sake of having one is a massive fail. I’m already suffering at work as the engineers keep ‘improving’ our software with little or no regard for it’s actual utility on how it’s used in the workplace, I’d rather not have the same kind of improvements inflicted on my downtime.

    If I could get an app designed, based on previous play experience and current technology, an app that works out if a unit can make a valid charge would probably have been most useful.

    • Quirkworthy says:

      A standard lazy practice for balancing poor AI is giving them more men or bumping their odds. Crude, but broadly effective and much simpler than making better AI. Like you say, you can’t see what’s going on when the software tells you the results rather than rolling the dice yourself.

      It’s also interesting that you should comment about being a lazier player when playing online. I’ve noticed that myself. On the flip side, it does allow you to experiment with outrageous strategies as you will just be told “no” if you can’t do it. No more need to actually find the rule that says you can’t…

      • fiendil says:

        Also, playing the computer game gets you some idea of how to play a particular style of play, before putting it to an actual opponent. I did that with Bloodbowl before the league at Maunsfeld last autumn.

    • fiendil says:

      My understanding of the Bloodbowl computer game, they didn’t bother to make the computer play cleverer on harder difficulty, they just changed the odds of the dice. Might explain some of the odd results…

        • Papa Angel says:

          Hi,
          The issue with computers and dice seems to be that us humans do not have an intuitive understanding of propabilities and statistics. Perceptual bias is very strong in us and combined with the lack of trust in things we cannot hold in our hand or see (an algorithm vs. a set of dice), most computer game AI’s get accused of cheating with the dice. Most don’t. Case in point: Cyanide’s blood bowl. Its PRNG has been investigated thoroughly in several ways (statistics, algorithm, code) and it has been found to be solid.

          http://forum.bloodbowl-game.com/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=112

          Blood Bowl AI tries to level the skill gap against humans by using more experienced teams.

          The dice we use, excluding high end casino dice (only d6 available), are less random than properly seeded algorithms.

          I just had to get that off my chest, back to lurking and waiting for more Dreadball and first Deadzone deliveries. 😉

        • Quirkworthy says:

          Humans are very poor at believing facts and would rather have a good old anecdote… at least that’s what my granny used to tell me 😉

  3. Henry says:

    I love technology, but I don’t think I’ve seen a digital product yet that’s really improved my gaming experience. I’m a big fan of Privateer Press and would happily buy pretty much any product they put out (dice, tokens, etc) but I think Warroom (their digital card app) seems to have been a bit of a rare miss to me – a real case of over engineering something for the sake of it. I haven’t been following it much recently, but it was severely delayed initially and extremely buggy once released.

    It also didn’t really do things that people wanted (such as validating lists, especially the complex theme forces available). Marking damage on digital cards sounded like a cool idea, but in practice seems to be an over complication for something people had been doing for years with a simple dry erase marker… I can see the appeal of having access to all the cards and rules in the palm of your hand, but as someone who already owned all the books (for the excellent fluff and art as well as the rules) I wasn’t willing to pay the kind of money they were asking for that privilege…

    If a game was only available as a digital rulebook, that would put me off for sure. Technology has its place, but making things digital for the sake of it makes me roll my eyes in the same way that a Politician talking about how much he loves pasties and bands for twenty somethings does…

    • Quirkworthy says:

      WarRoom does seem a big fail so far for all the reasons you suggest. I’ve tried the basic free version, and have spoken to some users who have the paid for decks. Very disappointing. It’s a long way from being the quality that you would expect for the price they charge. If it was free you could forgive some of the clunkiness and wide selection of bugs, but not at that money. Perhaps future iterations will improve it.

    • fiendil says:

      The quality of War Room is surprising given PP’s normal quality control.

      Really not impressed with the Skull Island Expeditions digital-only stance either.

      • Henry says:

        PP are releasing some paperback novels as well as the Skull Island stuff. I’m not really that concerned with Skull Island being digital only – there are huge overheads involved in physically publishing novels and certainly when they’re starting out producing as much material as they are would be a huge risk if it was all going to be physical…

        As for Warroom, it could have been great, but it doesn’t offer anything that the physical version doesn’t – its just provides a slightly clunky version of it…

        • sideofiron says:

          Whilst it has been a while since my last Warmahordes game, I was actually happy with WarRoom. I’ll concede its far from perfect but what I think it did bring was a method of live card updates.

          Warmachine is somewhat unique in the story progression update style where every faction gets a periodic small boost. Also, the campaign rules allow a world wide distribution of the limited edition cards.

          Sure there are refinements to be made, but no concept is ever perfect on the first pass.

      • Quirkworthy says:

        I was surprised by Warroom too. Not what I’d expected.

  4. fiendil says:

    I’m a luddite. I use spreadsheets and online list-builders to plan out armies, but give me paper and print for the rest. I got computer games for playing on my own, and I’ve been doing that for years, but I like my actual table-top experience analogue.

    I do like the extra little bits for the tabletop though. Got a lot of dice and templates. No dice towers though.

  5. Ben says:

    I think there’s a lot of room for apps to enhance the hobby experience, and as new generations of gamers come up for whom using a tablet and reading an ebook are second nature it’ll play an increasingly bigger role. I believe GW e-army books/e-codices automatically update with each new FAQ and errata and this is an area that digital content has a big advantage. They can make running tournaments a lot easier for the organisers as lists can be checked and match-ups made using them. Once everyone has some form of tablet and carries it as a matter of course then you can have each of your match-ups sent as an alert to you, have access to a real-time leaderboard, and vote on things like best opponent or best painted using them.

    I’m not sure if we’ll see truly integrated tabletop gaming and mobile online gaming. By which I mean having some form of mobile internet access with the relevant software is integral to the playing of a board game or minis game. It might happen, but it think it’s probably a but too unwieldy. At least with the technology currently available.

    • Quirkworthy says:

      Updates are the main area of win for books as far as I’m concerned – but that is a big advantage.

      Ex Illis was the sort of integrated game you mention and I’ve seen it done with even clunkier formats many years ago (there was a Napoleonic game that ran on PC I saw a few times at cons). They’ve not had a stellar track record so far.

  6. Tom says:

    Apps could be great. The potential for updating, altering randomising a high number of events is fantastic. A deck of cards is good, but when you get beyond the normal 52 or so, the deck starts to get unwieldy I think. I have no idea how (absolutely no computer understanding) but I think the solo games could have a good ai app option. Could it even move its own npcs around the board virtually? (Input the board layout into an app…)
    I agree with the others, that I love bits and tactile stuff including books, but the potential for ai must be higher on a computer surely…? Not a fan of computer dice or rule books though.
    Are you considering getting an app sorted for deadzone jake?

    • Quirkworthy says:

      Apps for Deadzone are Mantic’s area rather than mine, though I suspect that they’ll suffer from the same issue as apps for DreadBall – they’ve not yet found the right company to partner with. Mantic are a toy soldier company so they wouldn’t develop apps themselves. Best to simply license that to people with that skill set.

      I can envisage some useful things for apps to do in both DB and DZ, but when we’ll see them is anyone’s guess.

  7. Aaron says:

    I’m far from a luddite, in fact I write iPad apps for living. However, I still carry around real dice and physical rulebooks.

    Why? Because it’s often faster and easier to use the real thing. PDFs can still be pretty slow to flick through as rendering new pages isn’t instantaneous and even a 10″ screen is smaller than most physical rulebooks.

    I think roleplaying could benefit most from a decent iPad app. Something that keeps track of your character sheet and gives you instant access to dice rolls with the appropriate modifier. I’ve seen a few desktop programmes do this but nothing particularly polished yet. It’s really got to come from the game producer and I doubt many have the resources to develop such an app.

    • Quirkworthy says:

      It’s the skill sets that are the issue from what I’ve seen, rather than the interest.

      Personally I’d do RPG apps last. Don’t want any more distractions than I have to have when I’m trying to weave an imaginary world. Mind you, I’ve not ran an RPG in many years (though I keep thinking I might like to). For me they’re more appropriate to either be updated rule books (which is a big area of advantage), to monitor tracking of damage (or stats, etc), or to act as virtual card decks.

  8. ph3brickid says:

    I really have no desire what so ever for any digital gaming aides. It’s all good for a company to put out digital versions of their rules but I personally want the physical copy of something in my hand. I guess it’s part of the collector in me, a lot of people in this hobby simply love getting stuff. It doesn’t matter whether I actually need a little gadget or not the simple fact that I own it pleases me! 😉
    I’m not anti technology, I’m typing this on my iPhone and I love playing videos games, but there is no desire (for me) to integrate mechanics of a game into digital programmes.
    One example of this would be Warhammer Quest by rodeo games that they released on iTunes the other month. I enjoy the game for what it is and by all accounts it is a pretty good representation if the original game (not that I have any first-hand experience with the board game as I’m far too young!) however there is something about it that makes the entire thing less rewarding than if I actually owned the board game. I guess this comes down to two things; firstly (as i mentined before) is the tangibility of it. I like to have something physical to admire and look at, you don’t get that by reading a digital rule book or rolling digital dice. Secondly is the fact that the technology is taking away and covering up the game mechanics from me. I like to know how the rules work and what I have to roll to kill my freind’s tank or whatever- digital program’s take this away from me. It means that I understand the game less thoroughly and therefore limits how well I can predict what will be the outcome of any choice I make. It essentially makes the game less inuitive and the player feel more like a bystander.
    The same thing applies to all the gaming gubbinz too; I could if I wanted download a GW digital product to keep track of psychic powers but I haven’t bothered getting it, instead I’ve bought the nifty and visually appealing psychic power cards.

    There’s my thoughts on the topic any way, sorry for another ‘Big Wall of Text(tm)’
    —Luke Howell-Williams

    • Henry says:

      While I totally understand the point you’re making about the game mechanics being covered up (I’m the same way), to play devil’s advocate, it could be argued that its more realistic for those mechanics to be “hidden” from the play. Afterall, in a real battle, the commander or the troops fighting have to make more of a ‘gut’ call rather than relying on the exact odds of beating their opponents or making a particular shot…

      • Mike Thorp says:

        But are we looking for realism or a good game? I think computer games give a far more realistic experience but boardgames and Wargames are something different. Part of that experience is all the dice and nice looking models.
        Apps can be a nice gadget, but it doesn’t sound like anybody has figured out a way for them to actually improve on a game yet.

        • ph3brickid says:

          What mike said! 🙂

        • Quirkworthy says:

          @ Mike – I’d have to disagree about computer games being more realistic than board games. Both have their plus points, but both abstract things immensely and some of the corners cut to make the thing playable are very unreal. A perfect example of this that is very much a computer notion is respawning. How many real units do that?

          With Apps, I think that there’s a lack of cash to support the development rather than a lack of ability or conceptual framework. Certainly that’s what has held up all the projects I’ve heard of.

  9. Reorder says:

    A forum that’s easy to search using a phone would be sweet. Or an app that connected to the official forums so phone users could be a little less burdened with limited keyboard and screen. I love real rule books but theres always a rule that’s disputed and in need of a quick clarification. Which would tie in with a nice servers to host forums. Nothing like bad tech to slow up a quick search. If anyone has used Fantasy Flight forums you’ll know what I’m talking about.

    • Quirkworthy says:

      Wouldn’t that be better sorted by simply having decent searches on the forum and using a browser to get to it? Whilst I do agree that many forums have poor search facilities it seems an odd use for an App.

  10. sideofiron says:

    Whilst it has been a while since my last Warmahordes game, I was actually happy with WarRoom. I’ll concede its far from perfect but what I think it did bring was a method of live card updates.

    Warmachine is somewhat unique in the story progression update style where every faction gets a periodic small boost. Also, the campaign rules allow a world wide distribution of the limited edition cards.

    Sure there are refinements to be made, but no concept is ever perfect on the first pass.

    • Quirkworthy says:

      The live card updates and campaign stuff was interesting and a good use of the tech. As I think has been mentioned already, the live updates for rules is a major plus for this format.

  11. I’ve been experimenting with my own app for Dreadball, keeping track of actions and scores. I planned to add the card deck, but that’s a lot of manual work :/ Obviously it’s only for my own personal use, but perhaps I should speak to someone?

  12. To be honest (IMO) the main thing that attracts us to the shiny physical objects is all to do with the intrinsic value we place upon an object. Many of us are older gamers (well not kids) who didn’t necessarily grow up with computers capable of creating the fantastic in-depth worlds we now have access to through our consoles and pc’s.
    So when I say value I don’t just mean cash, though that does have a lot to do with it, I’m talking about the aesthetic value some folk place upon the finely painted and displayed miniatures/scenery. Or even the emotional worth; as in “playing with our toys” but in an ordered fashion with rules, being able to in some way recreate the fun we had as kids just by lining them up and knocking them down with marbles. Then there is the issue of cash, if I’m handing over my hard earned for something then I want something I can hold onto or sell on if I no longer want it. I have in the 30 years of being a gamer bought, collected and sold on many games and miniatures, as I get board of one thing it helps fund the next. I, like most?, have several games on the go at any one time and some get played way more than others as they come and go with the favour of my gaming group.
    The one thing that sticks out for me was Magic the Gathering, I love the game, but after having collected and sold my collections several times over, there was no way I was going to jump in on the virtual game, as the cards cost the same as the real ones but you didn’t get them to hold and use, they basically had no value to me.

    Computer games are great, for what they are, but they lack that camaraderie of sitting around a table and having a shared experience in the flesh. I and my friends are Battlefield players, its an FPS, you die you spawn back in until one side or the other achieve the game winning criteria. It’s great fun but its far from what we do in a table top game. one of my favourite game types in an earlier FPS gave each player on a team one life each, it totally changes the way you play the game, unfortunately it’s not very popular as loads of folk end up getting board sitting about waiting for the next game to start. Again its still nothing like what we do on the table top, someone in an earlier comment mentioned playing games on a holographic projector or with AR glasses, I have to say I don’t think it would be anywhere near the same, that lack of something tangible the weight of the playing pieces in your hand. Dice is another side to that, again I’m more concerned with the feel of a dice than the look of it but when it comes to real dice V’s virtual I’m always going to have at the back of my mind a little niggle saying “It’s an algorithm its not as random as a real dice.”

    I do believe there is a use for apps in the tabletop games world I just think they need to make sure they enhance the experience, I have an app in mind for the Game I’m trying to create but I don’t want to go into detail about that yet.

    as a side note I love books but I cant read them in PDF format, I also think that PDF books should only cost a fraction of what their Physical brethren do, due to their lack of printing and shipping costs.

    looking forward to Deadzone.

    Gavin (Gofur) Hunter

    • Quirkworthy says:

      I think that there is likely to be a degree of generational effects here, with younger players being increasingly familiar with downloadable content that has no physical presence. The more normal that is, the less it’s likely to be an issue.

      I grew up before there were computers in a household, so I still have a slight mistrust of digital only versions. The whole digital management rights nonsense just makes me even more unsettled.

      The perception that pdfs should cost very little is a common, and unfortunate one. In reality, the bulk of the work has been done before you decide whether you print it or make into a pdf. You have paid for the designer/writer, artist(s), proofreaders and editors, layout, licenses, etc. Any commission, royalties, payment fees, etc must still be paid. The only thing you haven’t paid for is physically printing it, and depending on the size of the print run that can be a fairly small slice of the final retail cost.

      • gavinhunter says:

        Fair point, well made, about the costs on the printing issue. What really confused me about that whole thing was when pre-ordering book 5 of A Song of Ice and Fire the hard back was £10 cheaper than the digital vertion, that was weird. also I still think that a digital vertion should still be less expencive than a pyisical copy.

  13. maxstyles417 says:

    I think the need to have the physical object is more of an older gamer thing (yes I am an older gamer too). Younger gamers will use technology more and more because they have grown up with it and its always existed for them. Think of the differences between older users of facebook and younger ones. Younger people will usually post whatever is on their mind, no matter how personal where older people tend not to do that. It’s a wild generalization I know, but I think it’s rule of thumb that holds up.

    I have to say that I love companies that give you the PDF version of the book when you buy the printed edition. Having the physical book is great for all the “shiny” reasons and great for extended reading, but a searchable PDF is great to answer those quick questions. Using spreadsheets and army builders are great for game prep, but I would not want to extend that to playing an actual opponent. It is really satisfying to sit around a table with a couple friends and beers and game. This is especially true of RPGs, at least for me. I think that is why online games like WOW never held much interest for me. One of the things about playing with actual people is that they(we) can improvise which machines can’t do very well (yet).

    So why to I like to play Solitaire only on the computer? Ha Ha Ha….

    • Mike Thorp says:

      That makes a lot of sense.
      The one thing that I hadn’t been thinking about is army builders (and you are possibly the first to mention in this thread? Or I’ve just been unobservant). A good army builder would be an excellent app based resource for most games. The old excel based one for warmachine was excellent as it captured all the different options. An app to track teams/forces for games like bloodbowl/dreadball/necromunda/deathzone would be useful as it would make life easier, but not interfere with the actual games.

      • maxstyles417 says:

        I did make a filemaker db for the ipad that i could use for a painting jounal, but it quickly added the stats for each figure Warlord with God of Battles currently in progress. The cool thing was that I could use pictures of my figures so if wanted to proxy a figure it was easy because the army list used my figures as the pictures of the troop type. It also made it great for the skirmish type games for many of the same reasons, and you could easily keep a warband/gang/herd/groups history in a notes section.

        My dream app would be for mobile devices, have the ability to build army lists for any game system, incorporate my pictures, as well as the manufactures pictures, to represent my army, and track all of the book keeping in any game system. It would have the ability to roll dice for you if you wanted or it could tell you how many of want type of dice to roll, have the ability to “record” a battle for battle reports easily, sound effects might be fun, act as a painting journal (love painting ya see), have a measuring device (we are dreaming right), have searchable rule books for any game I owned, the ability to take a picture of the table and tell which figures are in the area effect template (still dreaming right?), and maybe suggest new games to men based on the ones that I liked (as long as I can turn this feature off!)….

        One thing I would not want is to have it calculate how much money I have spent on this hobby! Jeff

        • Quirkworthy says:

          Army builders are one of the most developed digital “helpers” for gaming in general, and some do an excellent job. Building on these is one of the clear routes forward.

  14. Orkula says:

    The only game I use apps for is Infinity. I use a free app on my phone and my tablet. Although I generally have a pile of army lists printed off to chosoe from, I still use the app for making lists on the fly. The big advantage of the app is for each model, it tells you what you need to hit at the various ranges, without having to look up a separate table for weapon ranges. Then there’s a free wiki app I use too. In fact, I rarely go to the rulebook to look up a rule, i just type the rule name (like “combat jump”) and press search – it then finds the rule for me with plenty of hyperlinks to other rules it references. This is how rulebooks need to work. A simple pdf just doesn’t cut it, especially if its a scan of the paper version. Computerised rulebooks need to cross-reference otherwise you may as well just use the printed book.

    Dice rolling apps, or hypothetical combat result sims just hold no interest for me. I want to roll the dice myself and i have no interest at all in hypothetical average ‘who-would-win’ scenarios as most of the time, thats not how you’re playing the game – you’re throwing in your cheap grunts to hold up the enemy killer unit or sending in your good troops with support, or sending them in and hoping it all works out ok. While for a sci-fi game it might seem ‘realistic’ to use such combat calculators in-game as perhaps futuristic generals have such information, in a medieval/fantasy/historical situation the general would not have access to, or in the case of ancients, even understand the concept of %ages!

    • Quirkworthy says:

      I think that the modern military already uses this sort of analysis to assess situations – certainly in the planning phase.

      I too like to roll the dice myself, and I agree that the idea of a pdf rulebook is missing out on so much of the utility a proper app offers. Links within rules to other rules and definitions is only the start, though we’re not really even there yet. At least not reliably.

  15. Army Builders and digital versions of rules ( i.e. free digital copy for buyers of the paper version, at least for me), are the Apps I am looking for. Dice I still prefer to roll.

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