Sunday, January 6, 2013

BattleScribe Mobile: The Perfect Tool for the Wargamer on the Go

Hello again fellow wargamers! Today I bring you a review of a digital product that the guys and I have been using for quite a while now: the Battlescribe Mobile app from the android marketplace. Now, for those still living with cavemen, or those who prefer the rustic touch of good ol' pen and paper, read no further. However, writing lists can often be one of the most tedious tasks that we all must partake in for wargaming. Using a calculator and doing math is just too old school, but luckily many app designers have heard our calls, and Battlescribe Mobile takes the cake as the best list-building tool of them all. It's not perfect however, and with the release of the new chaos book its faults shine through, but that remains only a minor blemish on what is otherwise a great app.

Xinz, Metal Rancor, and I all use android phones, so it's relatively easy to find in the marketplace by searching 'Battlescribe'. None of us have any experience with the iOS version, so consider this review strictly based on the android version. There is both a free version and a pro version, but I would definitely recommend paying for the full version so you aren't limited in your list building, and it also comes with some handy dice tools (for you math hammer nuts) to calculate probability. Once downloaded, you can't actually start making lists right away. In order to get all the information for the 40k books you have to import a data file into the app which gives you access to every 40k codex and all the information to build lists for any army. The app also has data files available for other popular tabletop games, which makes the app great for any wargamer. Furthermore, the different games are very easy to switch between and you don't have to do any complex file swapping. My only qualm with this process is the lack of an included data file, as the file was difficult to locate (we will provide it at the end of this review). Once that is completed, however, the app is ready to go with no other steps neccessary. Rating: 4 out of 5

This app is all about simplicity. No fancy color schemes, just straight black and white and no distractions. To start making a list, you simply click "create roster", select your army, a points limit, and a title and it takes you to an empty force organization layout. With the 6th edition update, you can also add an allied detachment, but you must do so before you start adding units otherwise you have to start over. This is an awesome addition, as you no longer have to have your main force and your allied detachment in separate files. Once in the roster, you simply add HQ's, Troops, Heavy Support and so on to create your armies. Some armies take a bit of getting used to in order to find out how to add the wargear options, and I feel that the app could make use of a unified system between different armies in order to ensure that making lists for different books felt the same. However,  after a few lists it should feel very easy and intuitive. Another great feature is the ability to long press on a unit and duplicate it, which saves tons of time when creating your lists. The data files are mostly accurate to their codex counterparts, but  we have found a few errors such as slight stat differences. The app is definitely not a substitute for a codex, and it's very important that you know your army book so you can identify any errors and not cheat yourself or your opponent. With that being said, these errors are few and far between, and knowledge of your army will ensure that mistakes don't happen. The one exception to this feature is the new update for the 6th edition chaos book. It seems that the developers really rushed to get this one out, as it is full of errors and very difficult to create an army list. If you are a chaos player, I definitely recommend waiting until they update that file, rather than trying to trudge through it. Another interesting feature is the alert in the top right corner that will tell you if your army is legal or not, and while it is not always clear, it is still helpful to know if you're accidentally putting to many special weapons in a squad, not meeting compulsory force slots, or something else. Another great feature is the option to switch to "roster view", which outlines your entire army, all your wargear, and even stats and special rules. This works fantastically as a reference sheet for your army, and as way to see your whole army at a glance. The roster view is probably my favorite feature, because if I can't remember something about the army I'm playing, I just check the roster and I have it all at my fingertips. Overall, the simplicity of the interface allows you to make army lists quickly and efficiently, providing a valuable tool for wargamers on the go. Rating: 4 out of 5

If you only plan on downloading the free version, then don't worry about this section. However, if you have a smartphone and love playing tabletop games, then what you get with this app is truly valuable for only $2.99. The ability to experiment with list-making on your free time (which I know I do quite often) is great for improving your knowledge of different armies and your ability to make great lists. I've learned so much about the armies I don't play from this app and just messing around making lists, which is very important for a competitive gamer such as myself. The addition of the stats calculator is also fun, and while I haven't used it too much, it just adds that much more value to the package. While the app isn't perfect, it not only saves you time, but will make you a better gamer. Rating: 5 out of 5

While this app won't substitute for a written list in a tournament setting, it is a great tool for casual pickup games, and is a great time-saver if you just want to get in a quick match with your buddies. Definitely give it a shot if you don't already have a good list-making tool, but if you think you have a better one, then let us know! Overall: 4.5 out of 5

Oh, and as a thanks for reading this article through, here's the link to the datafile for the Warhammer 40k books -

Just copy and paste that into the "manage data" section!

That's all for now! Enjoy your wargaming and please follow!


  1. Thanks for the glowing review :)

    I just wanted to note that I don't create/distribute data files myself for legal reasons ( Instead, the files out there are community maintained.

    If you find a data file problem, you can either contact the creator to let them know, or you can use the editor that comes with the desktop version to fix it yourself.

    Hope that's helpful :)

    1. That definitely helps a lot. Thanks and keep up the great work!