Warmachine: War Room 2 and You

War Room 2 Logo Warmachine Hordes Bell of Lost Souls

The new Warmachine and Hordes cards application–is it a must or a bust?

Chalkboard here from Chalkboard War, with an initial review of the War Room 2 app for Warmachine and Hordes.

I’ll start with the fact that I did not use War Room at all for Mark II, and I honestly probably misliked it then. I want to see my opponents mark their cards with a pen when their models took damage, and I didn’t care for the delays that it took some players to shift from model to model when looking up rules.

Yet with the new edition, I felt it was time to try it out. I wanted to get up to speed quickly on all the new factions and rules, and to sort out which faction I would be learning the new edition with first (torn between my two newer factions, Trollbloods and Cryx, and my longtime love of Skorne). Despite the cost, which is considerable for the application ($80 U.S. for every faction), getting access to all of them at once to be able to review and compare directly and easily was worth it.

I’ve been fiddling for a week now with the application, and I honestly really like what it does in terms of organizing lists and giving me the information for models, friend and foe, quickly. The design is simple and effective, and I can get right to browsing cards or my collection with the buttons at the bottom, or construct an army list or play with the larger tags at the center of the screen. I also like the little Bug button, which lets you report anything that’s amiss (and it must work well–each time I’ve seen a “I found this bug” message in the community, when I checked I didn’t see it myself.

War Room 2 Top Screen Bell of Lost Souls Warmachine Hordes Privateer Press

I find it’s an aesthetically pleasing UI, even on a phone. I used the question mark a lot at first to re-read the info of how things function in each screen, but once I got the hang of it things work very well.

I dove right in to making lists for the various factions I play, and moving models in and out of the lists was very simple with the math done for me. I’m finding there’s a new fiddly-ness to the points totals in Mark III, but the application at least minimizes the pain of it. You can pop things in and out of the list simply, and the text goes red when it cannot be added because it would take you over your points total. If you’re like me, and prefer to field painted models only, you can enter your collection into the app and then restrict choices to those. You can also limit by models owned as separate from models painted, for more flexible creation. And it’s not like you cannot see those other models–I could check their rules and decide “well, it seems I need to add that to my shopping list at my LGS.”

Mind you, I’m not a complete War Room 2 convert. When playing games of Mark III, I’ll give the “Go to War” feature a few more tries, but I’m pretty convinced that I will continue to play the game with the physical cards for my faction. One big reason is that I don’t expect my opponent to have the app as well–and letting them look over my army and what it does before a match just feels better with physical cards. Plus I just plain like the little marker stains on my fingertips after a long day of Warmachine and Hordes. However, as a reference document for the cards when I’m not actively playing the game, the ease of access and organization of War Room 2 cannot be beat.

Skorne Mark III War Room 2 Warmachine Hordes Bell of Lost Souls

When building the army, use the paper-clip icon to add warbeasts or warjacks to their designated warlocks/warcasters. 

My only real critique is the way that it links to the rules for Mark III. It’s sadly somewhat clunky, as pulling up the pdf to a specific spot seems awkward at best as I try it within the app. I’m already finding that I’m just keeping the pdf open in a different window, or will be likely to keep the physical rulebook handy for reference.

I’ve been seeing a lot of players concerned about the cost, and I understand that to be sure. It seems like Privateer Press did a good job respecting people who purchased their Mark II War Room more recently in giving them discounts, but even at the top entry price that I experienced being new to the app, I still find it worth the investment. I’m sort of particular about the pitfalls of saving money at the cost of time–I won’t do something that takes far longer simply to save a bit of wealth. I feel like my time is worth more than that. And given how much I’ve used the app already this week when thinking about a list idea or checking a model for another faction that people are worried about, I think the cost will be well worth it when spread out over the lifespan of Mark III and all of my games.

So to the player who has never used War Room before, as a player who has never used War Room before, it’s worth checking out–and worth the cost on balance. Already it’s making me a more-informed player, which is a key to success in Warmachine and Hordes. And it’s a really easy way to see and think through army creation yourself. I still don’t think I’ll advocate playing games with it alone–I’ll be keeping my cards, card sleeves, and overhead markers handy for a while yet. But even without that, I still find it to be worth the investment.

~ What do you think of War Room 2? How are you using it? Is it worth the cost? 

Want to watch the author fail at finding a Warmachine and Hordes Mark III list that works, despite now having War Room 2? Check out Chalkboard’s blog at:

www.chalkboardwar.com

 

  • GoodOleBoy01

    So, how much is the discount if you owned war room 1? Is it $80 with the discount? Or something like a more palatable but still makes you think about getting it or not $60???

    • BlakLanner

      It was $60 after the discount for the ultimate bundle (all factions). I think it is worth it since it means you will never need the books or updated cards. The individual factions were a good deal cheaper if you only wanted to pay for what you played.

      • ZeeLobby

        Yup. Let’s put it this way, if I could have the rules for every single model in the game in other systems for $60, I’d gladly pay it. The fact that it includes all rules updates, and releases, going forward til the next edition just makes it even better.

        • zeno666

          Rules for all the stuff for (lets hope) another six years? I’ll take it 😉

  • Unless I have missed it, there is no longer an export feature for armies. It would also be nice to have an export feature for the collection manager as well.

    • BlakLanner

      I think your only real export option is to open the army and select “copy army text” from the menu, then paste it into a text file or email. It really would be nice to let you export to PDF or, even better, create a pairing and have it export as an official Steamroller sheet.

  • I just picked it up after never using it before like you and it really is the best army creator we’ve got. The points are definitely fiddlier than before and it’s taking some adjustment to get used to it which War Room helps with. Unfortunately I think the UI is terribly out of date, almost as if they tried to match Privateer’s outdated website in appearance and functionality which is definitely taking a step back. The textures, gradients, and colors are too much. The buttons are small and hard to distinguish. Icons are 1995. The navigation is far from clear. Basically I very much like what it does but almost nothing about how it does it. TinkerRoom needs to take a class in contemporary web/UI design please and give us some flat design, muted colors, and natural gesture navigation.

    • ZeeLobby

      As an occasional app developer, I 100% agree with this. That said, it’s still better than any table-top gaming’s army builder available. That’s not to say that’s the pinnacle to shoot for, but it’s so refreshing to have in a game system.

    • Balodek

      I agree, but I did find a button to make the other buttons bigger, so there’s that at least.

  • Gideon Ernesto

    Coming from Infinity I don’t feel greedy for wanting this to be free. I might actually undust my models then. I haven’t yet gone out an bought my cards. But I will at some point. Just being able to look at my rules for free right now would be an incentive to buy further models. I stopped playing 40k because I got sick of buying all those rule sources and their constant updates. I’m not at that point with WM/H. But since the story got uncoupled form the game, I see me buying novellas and novels. But I don’t want to buy rules, models and story separately. The price point of PP models is high enough to justify free rules AND stats. CB does it, Spartan does it. Hawk does stats and army builder.
    At least give me Rules and story, if I need to pay you.
    But I am glad to see that the rules are free. That is the new industry standard… Someone needs to tell GW 😛

    • bobrunnicles

      GW actually beat them to it by making the rules (yes, only four pages, but it’s the next bit that really matters) AND the stats for every model currently in the game for Age of Sigmar available as free downloads on their site.

      • Gideon Ernesto

        Yeah they beat PP to it. But not CB, Wyrd and Spartan.
        And frankly they only did that because it was only 4 pages… what would they charge for that., 99c? Many formations are behind paywalls now.
        And I’d eat a broomstick if they ever make all rules, stats and formations for any of their two major games (not just a leaflet and dance rules) freely available.
        The new AoS generals book will not be free from what we hear.
        And 40K is far from any free rules model. As far as far goes.

        • bobrunnicles

          Well, I was only responding to the ‘Someone needs to tell GW comment’ lol. But there’s a lot more than 4 pages out for free (yes, free, not 99c) – try at least 300+ pages of model stats that are online for free also. Correct, not all formations are up for free but that’s not a bad effort from a company that has previously been known for nickel and diming people to death. You have to start somewhere 🙂

          • Gideon Ernesto

            Well yes, but I doubt they will go much further soon. AND they already start to back paddle. The New generals book will reportedly not be free. So the ‘new Editon’ or at least the competitive play mode rules will not be free. In contrast to what we had so far.

      • zeno666

        Well this is for a game people actually play 😉

  • Alpharius

    It’s more expensive this time around, but definitely worth it. You get all the cards immediately without having to purchase any expansions or books. I may not play WM/H anymore if this edition continues to bore/disappoint me, but I don’t really regret the $60 Warroom purchase (just regret that I can’t sell it to anyone :P).

  • Damon Sherman

    it’s okay, i wish it didn’t take so many tries to get it to load up on my phone.

  • zeno666

    I’ve always prefered using cards.
    But since they’re not released yet I’ve been using War Room 2, and its actually quite neat.
    It could be a lot better, and a lot sleaker. But its still better than other Army Building tools…

  • JohnnyTrombone

    I only use WarRoom to create and save my lists, then the cards during games. Sometimes I have used my tablet during games to track damage, etc. But seems more fair for my opponent (and reduces me constantly having to show him my phone) to see all the damage out on the table.