Friday, 24 May 2013

An App Review: Quartermaster List Builder.

Hi guys, I've been using a program called Quartermaster for a long time. It's an iPhone and iPad app that produces clear, cohesive army lists for use in games. In this review, I intend to show the relative simplicity of list building on this app, while making sure that going into the product, you're aware of what you should expect. Firstly, I have no affiliation with the developer, but I will be the first to admit that I have a bias, having been very supportive of the app since its inception. Hopefully, the app can speak for itself. Finally, I apologise for the poor screenshots. I couldn't post them without them being huge or pixelated. I guess I went with the option that didn't overdo your data budget.

Quartermaster is in its 4th iteration, and should cost about $5. I promise you the amount of time and paper this program will save you will be well worth the cost. 

The good:

In my mind, there are 5 things that make Quartermaster fun to work with and useful. 
  1. Simplicity of list Building
  2. On-the-fly list editing
  3. Simple, clear summaries
  4. Forum Code Summaries
  5. Can be very intuitive when templates are well made.

 Simple

Wow. This App is really, really easy to work with. I can sit pondering something on my current Tau army, bring up the list and change things very easily. As you can see on in the screencap here, it is possible to do individual models separately. This is very useful to me - my Battlesuits can very very differently, and using the "Attached units" option. Effectively, what I've done here is made every bodyguard in Farsight's enclave a separate entity - then the drones are a further separate entity. 

The other thing that quartermaster supplies me with is a running cost that updates as I make changes - so, it always lets me know how many points I have spent at the moment, and even gives me a percentage value for each section - this has made making fantasy lists just so much easier! 

Finally, the program makes it very easy to write your spam - it has a copy function that allows me to copy my spammy 12-man fire warrior troops.

Oh, another nice addition is that it is possible to write nicknames for characters and units into the program, I must admit I don't make much use of this function, but I felt it was worth a mention.

Useful summaries


This is what it looks like when produced as a summary: 


As you can see in this image, each battlesuit has his statline and specific wargear listed separately. This means I can tell my opponent exactly what each suit is wearing. The other nice thing about this form of summary is that Quartermaster produces it as an A4 page (or, if it is particularly long, it makes multiple pages) and at the bottom of the list lists all the special rules for those "magical" items I've entered rules for - this can be very useful for Tau, where there are a lot of different acronyms that are used for weapons. 

In addition to this, Quartermaster can produce an entire list, ready to be placed into a Forum, complete with forum formatting and written notes.

The Bad: 

Template editing

For all Quartermasters timesaving in army building, it has an issue in producing what it calls "Army Templates". Most likely due to legal concerns (we can all respect this. One would only have to look at the companies GW have strongarmed to realise that this is reasonable), Quartermaster requires that the user produce his own templates. This means adding every character, unit and tanks special rules, character chart and wargear options. Armies like Tau that often have a single wargear list have a bit of an easier time; they can write most wargear options once and be done with it. It also means that if a codex gets updated, you have to edit the template to compensate for changes in prices and organisation. 

Of course, the developers have thought about this. And how much of a drag it is to have to produce your own templates, so they have provided a website to allow users to get straight into list building. I tend to make my own list templates due to personal preferences, so I'm afraid I can't comment on how useful these templates are, but I believe most are made by users who own the program.

Slow to change

As far as I'm aware, Quartermaster is made by a one-man team. This means that sometimes issues can take a while to be resolved, but if you do have an issue, the developer is very good about responding to issues. 

Conclusion:

As I have said, I've always been impressed with the program that quartermaster constitutes. If you're willing to shell out $5 for this program, I can assure you it won't let you down. I personally believe that it takes all the useful features of computer list builders and brings them to iOS in a very effective manner.