Quick correction: there may have been discussion of using RFID early in the development, but today Golem Arcana uses infrared microdots – similar to the Questron wand used with 1980s activity books.
While I can certainly see many valid uses of a computer in terms of speeding up the flow of a game, descriptions like this always worry me:
The app acts as a rules tutorial and manual, a combat resolution calculator, and a referee to let you know if you’re allowed to do what you’re attempting to do.
It reminds me of that version of Monopoly with the electronic “bank”, which forced you to play only by its rules — e.g. no paying money for any other reason than rent, etc.
It completely prohibits any kind of “house rules,” small exceptions, or whatever.
I didn’t find that terribly onerous to not have house rules, and the rules are complicated enough that I wouldn’t really want to play without the computer. It is really useful for stuff like movement: you select a unit and it shows you which squares you can move to, taking into account various terrain types and obstacles.
The bigger issue for me is that there are (or were) a relatively small number of scenarios – where a scenario is a combination of map layout, objective (deathmatch vs. capture the flag, etc.), map resources, and allowed army point value, and there were few enough unit types for each team such that there weren’t that many variant armies.
I played the initial kickstarter release last christmas, so it may have improved since then. It was a fun game, but not one I can see playing all the time.
What @ejeffrey says is dead-on. When you start looking at the complexity of the rules and stats going on behind the scenes, I’m really glad the app takes care of the heavy lifting and math, letting you just play. The game’s flexible enough that, if you want to, you can really dig into the data, but I’m not that much of a munchkin when it comes to this stuff.
I had similar niggly issues as what are described above – the stylus is a little touchy, and I found it easier to tap the cards than touching the small activation area of the model bases, as well.
All that said, it’s a lot of fun, though I can definitely see the limitations of the scenarios.
This is the only Harebrained thing I dont have, mainly because I dont have anybody to play games like this around here.
But between all the Shadowrun goodness they made for the PC and the Battletech game they are having a Kickstarter for, they are one of the bunch of people that get my money every single time they open their mouths, so far.
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