Friday, January 18, 2013

Games Workshop: Death of the Paper Codex?

Since I started to get serious about war gaming, I started buying every Codex that comes out starting with Dark Eldar.  Mainly because I wanted to play every Codex but it has become more of a way to learn about the other armies.  With the release of 6th, it became a way to recruit allies.  The main thing was still purchasing a paper Codex.

A paper Codex had many advantages.  The first was the fact that I could get a discount off the retail price.  Many places on the internet and several of the hobby shops I frequent have sales with releases.  The second was having the book in my bag with my army.  It was the easy way for me to not forget it. 

Then GW released Necrons and Space Marines in iBooks format.  I had an iPad and thought it was a nice idea.  What didn't sell me was the price tag.  Retail for old a Codex?  WTF?  One of the Beltway Gamers bought the Marine Codex and talked about how cool it was when they FAQ and the book updated. I decided to give it a go for NOVA.

The inital run worked well and having it handy was great.  Then came CSM.  I bought it the morning it was released.  Downloaded it and loved the ability to touch a item and see it's rules.  I was sold. Well sort of.

This is what brings me to the meet of this article.  Is it the death nail or is it just another option?  To look at this we have to look at the Pros and Cons.

Pros

Everything at your fingers

Everything is at your fingers when you need it.  Now, I say everything but I mean most things.  I would say that 90%+ of the BRB rules are accessible from the app.  There were a few exceptions the individual weapons for Oblitz weren't easily accessible but they at least list them.  I haven't found a USR that wasn't though.

It is super easy to just find data.  Bookmark a section you keep going to.  Use the glossary.  It's all there.

It's pretty

If you like pretty pictures from the books but wish you could see more.  You can with the iBook.  Some pics (not all) let you zoom and spin and all manner of stuff. 

Updates

Of course, as I started writing this, GW released FAQ updates.  I was able to download the CSM ones to my iPad.  I was not able to download and update my paper copy unless you count printing out the new FAQ.   This is a nice addition. 

Cons

Price

This should be a Pro but GW dropped the ball on this.   If you look at the digital White Dwarf, you get a nice discount compared to the paper version.  Here not so much.  You could argue you don't pay tax but when I paid 20% off retail to pick it up from a local store I paid much less than retail.  If I didn't want it ASAP, I could have just ordered it online and got 25% and paid little or no shipping.

Price should be the big sell and they decided they want to charge a premium.  Is the extras worth it?  Maybe but not to everyone.

Platform

It only runs on iBooks for the iPad.  No Kindle, Nook, or Android.  Not even Mac or PC.  Why?  I have no clue other than maybe anti-piracy and formatting.  If you don't have an iPad, don't bother.

I have had this bite me in the arse when I left my iPad at home before leaving for work on game night.  If I could have used it on my iPhone, I could have suffered through it but survived.  No joy.

Verdict

Depends. If you don't own or want to buy an iPad, then this isn't for you.  If you prefer paper, then this isn't for you.  If you are into wiz-bang neat stuff and like some of the new functionality, this could be for you.

Personally, I will be moving exclusively to the iPad versions starting next Codex (Daemons)?  I like it enough even though I am now married to an iPad.  I am sure I am missing lots of stuff but hopefully this helps some people decide whether or not to move to the iBook Codex.

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