Tuesday, March 13, 2012

War Room to replace Vassal?

 I want to call this a rumor but really it's more of some reasonable speculation/wishlisting, but I figured it would be worth sharing regardless.  There has been some conversation amongst some friends about Vassal, which has become a popular... what do I call it... game tool?  Well my buddies and I were thinking that with the recent announcement about the upcoming War Room app, that PP might have been giving us some hints about the potential future of this program.

For the uninitiated, it's a java program that can handle game modules for 2D projections of various games.  While Warmachine/Hordes is far from the only module available (40k was available until GW pulled the plug but there's also board and card game modules available), it's become increasingly popular amongst the international community in areas where there might otherwise not be a vibrant WM/H community.  While I have not played on Vassal yet (cold feet), I do have the module and I have to admit I'm not a fan of the interface - which is reminiscent of Windows 95 - nor the accessibility of the options.  Granted, it's certainly very useful and I think once I jump in I will love it, but it's a bit of a pain to use.

Flash forward to Templecon 2012 where Privateer Press announced their upcoming War Room app coming out for smart phones.  Here's the announcement video to refresh your memory:
Flash forward to the 1:30 mark and starting from there you'll see the relevant part of this article: you can link games between players.  This is significant for many obvious reasons but one of those is that this will actually make Vassal games so much easier, since you can link up with your opponent and play over Vassal, relying on War Room to keep track of the army lists, damage grids, etc. instead of the lousy interface (no offense).

What if Privateer Press took this one step further?  It sounds like the app will already have all of the information at your disposal - even your opponent's cards and their rules - so perhaps we could see, in the future, War Room act like Vassal where one can simulate games of Warmachine/Hordes by moving bases along a 2-dimensional simulated board?  Would it be a lot of work?  Sure.  Vassal, though, is not really making any money by itself and is mostly created by passionate individuals.  Who's to say that Privateer Press couldn't have the app developers do something similar?
The cards and rules will be available in the app itself!

At the very least, I will be sure to get War Room and probably all of the card packs because I think it's a great product (as much as the makers of iBodger are sad, I'm sure) and is actually offering some innovative improvements over comparable products instead of just creating the same thing with a higher pricetag.

We'll see what comes in the future but I'm very impressed at the attempts Privateer Press has been making about making themselves more than just a miniatures company but they're embracing new technology and media to become well-rounded and diverse.
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