War Room

I have been spending a bit of time using the War Room application. It is Privateer Press’ tablet and mobile application for building armies, reading cards and also for tracking damage in games. It actually works rather well but there are a few issues with the application

The app is written using the cross-platform Mono .Net libraries. I am not sure why this decision was made but the end result is an app, an the iPad or iPhone that looks unlike any other app I own. It simply doesn’t look, act or feel like an iOS app. No part of the app uses a standard iOS control and so your ability to use the app is frustrated by these non-standard controls.

The app is oddly slow to load data. I am not sure why but it is always showing a loading graphic for every screen change. I am not familiar enough with Mono to know if this is a general problem with the libraries but I have other apps on my iPad that load larger sets of data without any delay. Even something as simple as showing a card will display a loading graphic.

The app free but the card packs are not and the cost can add up if you play a lot of factions or want all the cards. All of the Hordes and Warmachine cards will set you back $59.99 US and the Warmachine cards are $39.99. Not cheap. I’ve just picked up the cards for the factions I play so it hasn’t been too expensive. For a limited number of factions the cost isn’t too bad.

Using the app in a game is more frustrating than it needs to be. This, at least on the iPad, goes back to my earlier comment about Mono. There are any number of UI items, controls or application usage conventions for iOS that would make using the app in a game easier. This cross-platform UI means that none of those items can be used so there is a lot of hopping back and forth between screens during a game.

The app also isn’t even as smart as an online app like Forward Kommander when it comes to building lists. FK knows what it can attach UAs and WAs to. War Room doesn’t. This is simply bewildering.

The app does make it simple to build lists and use them on multiple devices. I can also build lists on my iPhone when I am waiting somewhere or browse cards.

If your opponent is using the app then you can host a game and then view your cards as well as theirs during a game. No more having to ask to see a caster card to read a spell.

No more leaving your cards at home. You can still leave your minis but at least you’ll always have your cards.

If there was any competition in this market then I don’t think it would be possible to recommend this app for iOS users. Android users might have a different opinion of the UI but as an iOS user its use of non-standard controls. The Mono controls aren’t as good as iOS controls and they don’t have the same feel so its not really like using an iOS app.

The app is good enough but I would really like to see Privateer and the app developers spend some time to make a proper iOS version.