Where Video Games And Tabletop Gaming Meet

And so my great tabletop gaming adventure continues. Ex Illis is a tabletop miniatures game with a video game twist. While it has physical units and is played on a table, a lot of the meat and potatoes of the game - stuff that would normally require tokens, counters and books - is relegated to a second screen.

That screen can be a PC, Mac or iOS device, and it does more than just clean up the table during play. Because the game is "played" on the screen, and that's where all the processes and rules are stored, you can open up the box, set up the board and start playing right away, with the software guiding you through what would otherwise have been a laborious learning process.

Moving the data-crunching to software also means that the game processes all the complicated battle stuff on its own, leaving you to worry about broader strategic moves (though expert players can disable this automation if they want).

There are two versions of the game available; one with a 2D game board, the other with terrain modelled in 3D plastic.

Ex Illis has been out for a few years now, and doesn't seem to have really set the world on fire in that time, but still, I think it looks super interesting.

Ex Illis [Site]


    Love the concept

      It would really be incredible if they could apply this concept to other games:
      Diplomacy would be my first choice for this - and WH40K could benifit too.

    Why are people still not doing simultaneous releases on android. It has proven itself to have market dominance in many regions but we still see many announcements for and ios app without mention of its android equivelant. Bad market research? Laziness? Im missing something?

      Most likely a lack of resources and finances I'd say, as much as it does shit me.

      Last edited 08/11/13 4:22 pm

      I will never know mate..

      correct me if I'm wrong but aint it free to develop and upload an app onto google play??

      I know for a fact that it cost's for Apple.

      Last edited 08/11/13 4:24 pm

        It doesn't cost to put up an app on Apple store, but it costs about 100 bucks a year in developer licensing.

        Google is only 22 dollars or so.

        Unlimited apps on both.

        It's just laziness.

        Last edited 08/11/13 4:41 pm

          That's a bit of a cop out to just call lazyness.
          Developers have cited numerous reasons for delaying android platform integration, one of the highest being the ease of piracy compared to other mobile formats.
          Time and resources are another big one.

          I'm an android user too. Always have been and always will be.
          Good things come to those who wait (and ask for it nicely enough) with time.

    I still think Games Workshop would make a fortune if they stopped trying to strangle the market and embraced newer concepts like this. Take it a step further - put little RFID tags in the figures, make a terrain board that interacts with them and links in with controlling software like this.


      I had a better idea a while ago, that would totally kick arse - although someone else may have had the idea before me, which is likely, and you may think it's rubbish.

      Thing of an epic video-game version of 40k with fully interactive battlefields, that functioned with the exact rules from the exact rules of the tabletop varient.
      It is a downloadable title only and comes with nothing but maybe 2 battlefields for each mission type. No armies, nothing.
      Every physical mini or box set bought from GW will contain a redeemable code that will allow you to unlock that unit in the game space so you can build your armies. The software also contains a full painting tool for colouring your digital minis the same way you colour your phsyical minis.
      the would allow the collector with few people to play to play against anyone in the world with THEIR ARMY.
      For those short on time, a battle between two can even be paused at the end of the turn and saved to be taken up again at a later time.

      it's a win win in this matter, as we get far more flexibility from our hobby and GW get to continue selling physical minis.

        I think it's bound to happen eventually. Things like Skylanders and Disney Infinity have shown that linking a physical and digital product together can sell like hotcakes, and I see no reason it wouldn't be similarly effective for for mini wargames.

        The other advantage would be the ability to digitally track game statistics, allowing for much more effective balancing of units and armies, something games like 40K have struggled with for years. Digital upgrades to the rulebook with patches would also keep everyone up to date with the latest changes and so on.

        To me there's still a disconnect there between the figures and the digital side. What if people only want to play online? Would they shut out a good section of potential market for what is essentially a separate product?

          You have to remember - GW can be extremely Myopic when it comes to stuff like this.
          Besides - it's better to start somewhere than end up no where. This strategy could generate TONNES of extra revenue for them.
          That being said - they could easily offer purchase of digital only units - just don't expect them to be much cheaper - much like the current digital codexs.

            I like your idea (though I'm more of a WHFB man myself, it could work for both.) My problem is I wouldn't trust GW to not fuck it up somehow. They seem determined to kill whatever good will players have left for them with their hideous pricing model, silly rule changes and disdain for independent dealers.

              The thing is, that left in the right software developers hands, it could be really hard to screw up something as straightforward as this idea. It would allow for integrated rule updates and the such.
              The only problem would arise when coding rules that may conflict with each other.

              And yes, it would most certainly be doable for WHFB as well - and would most likely kick arse with the new expansion that allows for stacks of people to play at once with elements of tretchery - which looks kinda neat.

      I completely agree. I'd love to see a much stronger integration of new technology into the tabletop space. Lord knows it'd help tidy up a lot of the clutter that comes with those kinds of games.

      It just seems (at least from my experience) that while a lot of the people that are passionate about miniature wargames or role playing games also love video games, there's this notion that "WE MUST NOT ABANDON THE OLD WAYS". Like you can have one or the other, but thou shalt not allow physical and digital hobbies to intermingle. I think it's a shame.

      Honestly though, I'm just interested to see how things play out for companies like Game's Workshop in a few years, when everyone has a 3D printer in their house. Good luck charging 60 bucks a mini when you can just download the blueprint and make your own for a few cents.

        I think people are overestimating the speed of adoption of digital printers.

        Also, the detail will be SEVERELY LESS than that of a cast mini - i'm not even sure if the STUPID EXPENSIVE high end industrial printers can print that much detail at the moment.

          Don't get me wrong, I'm not expecting everyone to have a high resolution 3D printer in a year or so, I'm talking slightly more long term, but then again to me it feels like yesterday no one had mobile phones or internet. Now I feel old. =<

          Anyway, while there's not necessarily a massive demand in the home market for 3D printers yet, they are still rapidly becoming much more affordable, and there is an increasing commercial demand. While I don't know anyone that uses a 3D printer at home, I do know several that use them at work, and have used them to print their own minis. You'd be surprised at the level of detail a printer worth a few thousand can reach, even now.

            Yeah - there is no doubt that in perhaps around 5 years time peopel could definately be doing this a heck of a lot - but i don't expect GW to take it sitting down.

            Besides - while they are expensive, they still produce (arguably) some of the best stuff out there with the best back-story hands-down. While i personally don't pay GW's prices - i'm more than happy to spend the money on the discounted minis their stockists provide.
            Either way, the bubble will have to burst for GW eventually, unless they inovate.

              Yeah definitely. I think whether or not they survive is going to depend heavily on their ability to change their business structure. Mini kits like the ones we use today have an inherent cost for not only manufacture, but also storage, shipping, and distribution, which weighs into their profit margins (something GW care deeply about).

              The way I see it, in the next decade or so, once 3D printers are more common, we're going to reach a tipping point where it's simply better value for people to print their own minis than to buy. When that happens, GW sales are going to drop like a rock. Tell me a whole bunch of gaming groups wouldn't go in with their friends and split the cost of a printer to start churning out their own budgets figures. The rapid increase in sales from the Reaper Bones line is a pretty good indication that there are a lot of people looking for a cheaper alternative, even if it means a slight dip in fidelity.

              If it gets to that point, it's going to be the same kind of "OH SH*T OH SH*T WHAT'S GOING ON??" moment the music industry had with digital downloads before they realised they could move in and clean up if they did it right.

              If GW really wanted to innovate, they could design and sell a 3D modelling suite that lets you customise your minis look and pose, and then print them yourself. If they wanted they could go one further and couple this with a digital version of the game itself. They probably wouldn't be able to get away with charging anywhere near as much per mini, but if done right, they could have a huge win on their hands.

    GW priced me out of Warhammer Fantasy. Unfortunate, because I love that game. Never could get into any other table top system.

      I'm just about to get back into Fantasy. Just keep the points low and it's not AMAZINGLY expensive (just stupidly expensive)

        I need to find mordheim... now THAT looks like an amazing game

          If you go down that route use the custom/edited rules. The official rulebook was so horribly broken.

      Why don't you try using ebay and gumtree to build your armies?
      It's a massive cost saving that doesn't really cost much more than any other game system (or a night out when you think about it).
      Also, indipendant stockists are the way to go. slavetopainting.com.au is my chosen source as not only do they have a huge range of GW stuff at reallly good prices, but also the option of using other stuff to cut down on your costs, such as alternate paint brands or avatars of war models.
      This way you can have your cake and eat it too.
      Plus you get a free lollypop with every order. Mmmmmm...

    Necromunda was hands down my favourite GW franchise. I reckon it would mod well into a fallout title too...I need to pull my finger out and start making it.

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