The trend of tabletop games launching support apps to rocky or, at best, mixed responses continues with Modiphius’ Fallout: Wasteland Warfare app.
The Fallout app wasn’t written by Modiphius but by a fan. Jamie Morris has spent the last three months making changes on feedback and testing. The result is an app that can track damage, statue tokens, provide quick access to equipment cards and even generate a random AI force.
Modiphius is on board with the project, helping to promote it, and it is the publishers’ name associated with the app in the app stores.
So, what’s the problem? The unit and equipment cards that come with the Fallout: Wasteland Warfare core box are free with the app. If you want more; you have to pay.
Morris foresaw issues around pricing and has written a detailed walk through of the thought process.
The short story is that the app takes time (money) to build and maintain and therefore, to be maintained, it needs to earn something back.
Some options like a subscription or paid features were ruled out. Instead, whenever there’s a new tabletop release, a paid content approach for the app was opted for; Jamie could spend the time to turn the new content into app content, and charge for it.
Still, the negative feedback is usually centred around one thing, and rather than repeating myself on the same points, I thought I would address them here.
“I already paid a lot for the game, and now you want me to pay for the app? It should be free!”
It shouldn’t be anything. You don’t have a right to a free app, even if you bought every Wasteland Warfare product three times over. Perhaps you imagine that Modiphius are some large pharmaceutical company with a legion of corporate employees all rolling in piles of cash? They are a small company who work incredibly hard to produce excellent games.
At a guess, I’d say I’ve spent about 400 hours of work on this thing so far. And there is a lot more to do. Even if I’d been doing this as a full time job instead of in my free time, that’s still two and a half months of work.
Imagine being asked to go to work for two and a half months with no pay. That was never an option.
So the choice was between charging something or not making the app at all. The latter would mean nobody wins. I think we made the right decision.
A complication is that people who took part in the iOS test and picked up packs for free; but only for the test. They’ll need to be rebought.
Modiphius, Jamie and Fallout aren’t the only tabletop game in this situation. Games Workshop’s Warhammer 40K app was heavily criticised by fans. Geek Native used the word “rocky” to describe that launch too, but the comparison isn’t fair.
For Warhammer 40K, fans discovered that the free tier of the app was only a webview of a Google Drive hosted PDF copy of Warhammer. That differs entirely from Fallout which charges nothing for features, only for content.
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