Tuesday, May 01, 2012

In Which The Warlock Taps, Swipes, and Pinches...

A few months ago, I mentioned that I'd come into possession of a certain tablet device, as part of a program through my school.  Now that I've finally had some time to play with the darn thing, it's round about time to give some opinion on the various toys that I've been playing with!


PDF viewing and editing comes foremost for me, in terms of utility on the iPad.  With so many books nowadays coming out in digital and dead-tree versions simultaneously, it's often a lot easier for me to just carry a tablet to my various games around the Ohio Valley, rather than lug books around.  While I still love books while at my home table (and to read before bed!), the convenience of a PDF really trumps a book when elsewhere.

GoodReader's tools are intuitive, easy to use, and usable with any number of cloud storage utilities out there.  Pllus, the PDF mark-up tools allow you to annotate, copy, and denote texts easily and quickly.  I actually used a character-sheet from Cold Steel Wardens to demonstrate GoodReader's PDF mark-up tools to my fellow teachers!  It's that quick and easy.

Hands down, GoodReader is worth the $4.99.  It's gotten rave reviews from numerous sources, and the praise is well and truly due.

Gamer Dice

This one, however, I was much less a fan.  One of the biggest draws for me, as a gamer, is the social and visceral feel of sitting around a table, rolling dice.  While Gamer Dice provides a stable replacement for the actual art of rolling dice, it can't replace that tactile feel of letting your d20s tumble between your fingers, clatter across the table, and roll to a stop.

Now, obviously, there are situations in which polyhedrals simply aren't realistic, but Gamer Dice doesn't do much to make me want to use it.  The app's base configuration is a flat, matte gray.  While its interface is functional, it has no visual appeal and no ability to simply input a number--rather, you have to tap the plus or minus button numerous times.  While this isn't a problem with small dice pools, rolling 5d12+22 would take a huge amount of time.  Plus, Gamer Dice doesn't allow for rolling of multiple types of dice simultaneously, which means that games like Marvel Heroic Roleplaying aren't playable with this app.

I'm sure that there's got to be a better dice roller out there than this one--save your time and effort.

Elder Sign:  Omens

Now, here's a real winner!  Fantasy Flight Games--producers of Arkham Horror and numerous other games--decided to take their card-based Cthulhian race-against-the-clock and build a version for the iOS and Android systems.

ES: O, as a product, is really polished and smooth, using art from its various Cthulhu lines and smooth mechanics.  Visuals and sound effects are evocative and immersive, drawing the player in.  While some have criticized the game for being a "trumped up version of Yahtzee", the more recent patches and the addition of two more Ancient Ones--Yig and Cthulhu himself, to go with the default Azathoth--have really expanded gameplay.

I find myself playing this one anytime I have nothing to do and have my iPad close at hand.  It's addictive, has a good deal of depth, and is outright fun to play.  Pick this one up and splurge on the expansion.  It's worth it!


  1. Anonymous6:52 PM

    One problem I've noticed with dice rolling programs is that they tend to not work for systems like Savage Worlds and Cortex where you take the better of two dice. Hopefully one will come out someday that will be simple and easy to use.

  2. Definitely, GamerDice would not work for Savage Worlds, either.

    I'm still on the prowl for one that will, though!