Wednesday, February 3, 2010

I Heart iBodger

A long time ago I was an avid user of Lone Wolf's army construction software... yup, Army Builder. Just to be clear that I mean no infringement upon their intellectual property, Army Builder is a registered trademark owned by Lone Wolf Development. So with that disclaimer out of the way I can hopefully continue without fear of litigation. Even though I had not used their program for several years now, I do fondly remember sitting at my computer making list after list just for the fun of it. Unfortunately it now seems that Lone Wolf has been following Games Workshop's example and has recently swung its own IP-Hammer at Privateer Press. Apparently they did not like the fact that users of Privateer Press's forums would sometimes refer to army construction software generically as "army builder" programs and therefore asked PP to remove all such instances. They further wanted Privateer Press to police their forums in the future to prevent anymore such occurrences, as well as to educate their users regarding the legal issues involved and why "army builder" is not in fact a generic term. In order to comply, Privateer Press had to delete numerous offending threads, thus destroying significant content that had been developed by the community of gamers who used them.

I don't want to get into the legal concerns here as I am by no means a lawyer. It just strikes me as being a very petty, small-minded move on the part of Lone Wolf. I know defending one's IP is important for companies to do so as to not jeopardize their claim to ownership but in my opinion this was a really bad move on their part. Lone Wolf's own products exist within a legal grey area themselves and come extremely close to infringing the IP-rights of all the game companies for whom their software is designed to support. What's worse though is that this was brought about not by Privateer Press's actions but by those of average gamers posting at PP's forums. Considering the size of the company and the niche market that they serve, I believe this was a horrible public relations blunder on the part of Lone Wolf and has done tremendous damage to their relational equity with the gaming community. It will be a long time before I purchase anything from them again and right now do not foresee ever giving them my business in the future. I'm not going to help out a company that treats fellow gamers in such a manner.

Having fully returned to my hobby of choice, I had recently thought about getting the updated Army Builder software from Lone Wolf. It's by no means a necessity and in fact I remember seeing quite a few bugs showing up the last time I was an active user of their programs. It was nice having all the stats and information regarding weapons compiled onto a few sheets of paper to use while playing, but certainly nothing I couldn't do on my own. This has therefore kept me from spending some cash on something I don't need... thanks, Lone Wolf! But the other really great thing to come out of this is that I have also been introduced to a very neat phone app called iBodger. It is officially supported by Privateer Press and designed to be used for Warmachine and Hordes as an army list construction tool. Even better is that it is free! Not only does it help you put together your army lists, but also serves as a way of keeping track of one's miniatures collection. Very cool! Had it not been for Lone Wolf targeting Privateer Press and going after their forums, I might have never heard of this app and so for that I too am thankful. It's funny how things work out. One of the first things I did after getting my iPhone was look for applications suitable for gaming but I found nothing useful. I'm really glad therefore that Privateer Press saw the potential for this and is giving it their support. I'm starting to really like this company and I look forward to getting to know them better. And if you play their games and have an iPhone, go check out iBodger for yourself.


  1. I just discovered iBodger for Android and I love it! Now, if I could only find a way to delete a list....

    I'm so glad PP encourages this sort of fan contribution. It generates a lot of good will.

  2. Right on, glad to hear it! I agree about the good will, since writing this post I've had a lot more positive contact with PP. I really appreciate the way the respect and support they offer their customers.

    Thanks so much for checking out this older post, Mike. I've calmed down I suppose over the whole Lone Wolf/IP thing but it still irks me. Oh well... like I said, at least I found out about iBodger because of it. :) Best wishes, Mike!