War Room

It’s been a little bit of time since Privateer Press and Tinker House Games released War Room and there has been plenty of bad press from the Warmachine/Hordes community.  Being a software engineer myself, I know how things can go wrong even if you think you’ve been really careful, so I decided not to judge until they’ve had some time to sort some things out.

I recently decided to bite the bullet and buy the bundle containing all the Warmachine and Hordes decks.  I knew if I bought a few a la carte, and then later wanted to get the whole set, I’d regret it.

I’ve got an Android phone and a Nook Color running CyanogenMod7 Android to try it on, so I get the handheld and tablet experience.

The Bad:

After some initial issues, I only have a couple of problems.

Android does a thing so as not to kill your processing and battery where it puts applications to sleep which are running in the background.  The way War Room seems to handle coming back from being asleep is to crash.  This is slightly problematic as the app takes a little while to load, but I can mitigate it by keeping the app open when I shut the screen off.

The touch controls suck at times.  I read somewhere that this might be due to using some software that makes the same application on iOS and Android, but all I know is that occasionally, it just does not work right.

There are some minor functionality bugs, but nothing else that bothers me too much.

The Good:

War Room is great as a card reference.  I don’t own the books or card decks for Menoth, Circle, or Skorne.  For others, I have one or the other.  If I were to buy those 3 decks, I’d already be at $45, so 60 for the app and all the cards for every faction seems like a great deal to me.  It’s nice to be able to access everything in one place and to not have to switch between cards and books is great for someone who likes to research armies.  If you’re a competitive player and want to do some research on opposing armies, this is the best way to do it.

It also works nicely as a rules reference.  You can access base game rules from a lookup screen, or from the individual cards that reference them, which is very handy.  If a card has an icon you don’t remember or references a rule you wanted to reread, just tap on it and the text will come up, even if the interface is a bit odd.

The Rest:

I have yet to try the list builder during a game instead of cards and to mark damage.  There might be some weirdness in the switch, but I look forward to trying it out.

I have been tending to prefer the tablet layout.  It will show the front and back of the card at the same time so there’s less switching back and forth, though it is nice the have the handheld version on the go.

The app definitely isn’t necessary to play, but if you’re tournament minded or just like to know about all the armies, I’d say it’s well worth your money, even if you don’t ever use it during a game.

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