Monday, July 29, 2013

40K App Review

Whether you are a “heels dug in” old schooler or a tech wizard, the now ubiquitous App is part of our lives...
  Moreover, more and more of our Codices and Ancillary Publications are being produced in digital form (I will post a separate article concerning digital pubs).  That being said, I thought it would be helpful to provide a user perspective on a couple of the currently available Apps that I have found useful…

-      Simple War Dice by Nathan Zimmer.   If you roll 30 or more shots at a time or are always looking for a pesky scatter die, this might be useful.  There are four screens: Hits, Wounds, Scatter and History.  The History screen is of marginal use.  The Hits screen allows you to set the number of shots, the BS of the firing unit and whether or not you have rerolls.   When you then go to the Wounds screen,  the number of hits is carried over.  You can set Strength, Toughness and whether or not you get rerolls.  The number of wounds is then displayed for both initial rolls and rerolls.  It also shows the raw number of rolls for 1-6s on both screen in case you need know how many of any particular number you got for special rules.  The Scatter screen allows you to set BS and shows the number of inches of scatter and the direction from a 360 degree perspective. 

Now this App is not something  I use when a have 4 shots to take.  But when I have two hand fulls of dice to roll, it is VERY useful.  It is easy to use and very intuitive. This App is available on Apple products but not currently on Android.

-      Warhammer 40K: Psychic Powers by Games Workshop.  If you have more than a couple of psykers in your list, this App is extremely helpful.  I had 8 in my last list, and keeping track of which powers had been rolled, who had used their powers, etc., would be a nightmare without this App.  Chaos Marine and Chaos Daemon players might also find this useful, as it lists all 14 (insane!) psyker choices for each Codex.  GW has also done a good job of keeping the App updated based on Codex releases.

There are three screens; Powers, Psykers, and Play.  On the Powers screen, you can are shown a list of the powers for each of the five primary disciplines from the 40k Rulebook.  If your Codex has specific powers (not UNIT SPECIFIC powers), these are listed on this screen as well.  For example, Slaanesh has a primaris and three other powers listed.  What IS NOT listed are general codex powers from a Codex or for units.  For example, general powers listed for specific units in the Tyranid Codex, such as Domination or Catalyst for Tervigons are not here.  This would be an area that GW could improve to make the App even more useful.  

On the Psyker screen, you choose from the listed Psykers to include in your army.  Each one displays the Mastery Level of the unit (very helpful) and the number of powers it has (the number of times you can roll for powers).  It also provides space for naming the unit if you desire (see earlier Blog Post regarding naming my Nids). 

The Play screen first asks that you select the Psykers from your list.  It then has you choose the number of powers your unit is allowed to take.  Once this is done, it asks who goes first (you or your opponent).  Finally, it allows you to pick from the powers you have selected for each psyker.  A nice feature is that is breaks down the powers by the phase they can be used in (movement, shooting) so that they are used at the appropriate time.  Finally, there are some interesting sound effects if you are into such things.

Should you consider this App?  If you use more than a couple of psykers in a game, it will be a very helpful tool.  It is available on Apple products but not currently on Android.

-      Quartermaster by Sean Rogers.   Want to start by commending Sean for his work.  This is a complex and very complete program.  He also does a great job of updating the App as improvements are made.  I am not going to provide a detailed description here as I did for the previous Apps.  Here is why…

This App is for those who enjoy inputing, sharing and playing with army lists from the ground up…it is not for those who want a turn key type approach that Army Builder provides.  Also, it is much more useful for Warhammer Fantasy players than for 40k folks, IMO.   I am including it in my commentary because I feel that Sean has done a great deal of work to make this a useful tool for gamers.  My major issue is that you literally need to input items like stats and other special rules into the database yourself; unless of course you import previously built lists.  Again, there are those who enjoy this labor of love…I am not one of them.  I would much rather open a program and have the information from my Codex right in front of me.  Moreover, Quartermaster is a very popular App, so I know it has something to offer.  I am simply providing opinion based on personal experience…others may find this App a great tool to enhance their gaming.  This program is complex, has a steep learning curve and requires that the user invest a great deal of time to make it something they can use on the tabletop.  Final word…keep up the great work Sean.

That’s it for this post.  Let me know if you  try out any of these Apps and your experiences.  As mentioned at the beginning, I will post a separate article regarding Digital Pubs, probably next week.

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