Welcome to Episode 4 of the Agents of Sigmar podcast. Following on from our discussion of the complexity of The Horus Heresy in our previous episode, we discuss whether tabletop games could be improved by utilizing apps. Should more games use apps? If so, why do so few games have them?
The idea from the discussion came because we continually end up with our Marvel Crisis Protocol tokens in a muddle. If you play in a confined space, lots of tokens on small cards can get confused. “Which fighter should this token be on?” I’m advancing in years now; if somebody asks me a question part way through the Power Phase, I can forget how far I got with my tokens and leave myself unsure as to who should have what.
This sort of mistake, I imagine, is fairly common. Add into that games that allow modifiers, rerolls, or any number of other buffs and debuffs, wouldn’t it be better if there were a way to track everything in-game and get those niggly interactions correct every time? Surely, we could have an app for that?
Apps would also be great for rules referencing and for companies to easily update errata and FAQs. This would avoid confusion and lessen the burden on players to keep themselves up to date with changes to games.
Who Doesn’t Want Better Stories?
Additionally, how great would it be if you were playing a narrative game and your app generated new objectives or problems to overcome for both players. Executed well, it could make for a much more absorbing and engaging experience. We discuss all this, as well as the pitfalls of using apps, in the podcast episode.
There seems to be a reluctance to embrace technology, despite there being some excellent fan-built apps for all manner of games. Anybody who has played a deckbuilding game will know exactly what I’m talking about. Surely, though, apps would be a benefit to games companies too. They’re more than just a player aid.
Crudely, they can be a way to promote new products—“You are playing with Asgardians in your MCP team. Look you can now buy these new Skurge and Heimdall models.” Games Workshop could use it to promote its Black Library novels that fit in with the particular army being played. This would work very well for the new Horus Heresy game.
In a world where data is king, apps would allow companies to not only gather data on their customers’ preferences but they could also glean valuable information about the state of their game. Armies used, weapons taken, objectives chosen—all sorts of things. This data could then be used to refine and improve the gaming experience.
We Can Do This All Day
As well as our main topic of conversation we also cover the latest gaming news (occasionally pinching a tidbit from Rob’s ReRoll column). In this episode, we discussed Atomic Mass Game’s announcements from its “Ministravganza” event.
We’re going to see new models for Captain America and Red Skull, as well as the introduction of some Hydra grunts and the Human Torch (the original Jim Hammond incarnation, rather than the Fantastic Four iteration). There are also some cool models for Arnim Zola and the Howling Commandos coming too.
On the Star Wars side, there are the new “Battle Boxes,” perfect for people getting into the game, or those who want to shift in allegiance.
If you want to listen to what Pete and I had to say on all these topics and a whole lot more besides, please check out the episode and follow along, wherever you usually collect your podcasts.