Category Archives: Gaming

iToysoldiers now supports EVERY miniature wargame

Ahoy, Commander!

iToysoldiers is pleased to announce our latest release, 4.5-rc4 which, amongst a handful of other things, brings support for EVERY SINGLE MINIATURE GAME AND ARMY IN THE WORLD! Yep. It’s now possible to add your own armies or factions so you don’t have to wait for the iToysoldiers team to update when a new rule set is released or if we haven’t gotten around to adding your favorite game. How __ing cool is that?

So now, when you report a battle, start a modelling project, or show off your army profile you can enter whatever you want as the army or faction.  I’m totally excited about the possibilities here.

Now. There’s some caveats and quid pro quos here.  Game Systems will still need to be entered in by the iToysoldiers staff and we’re going to make an effort to go through the new factions and see if we can associate them with games but if you want to make sure that your favorite game is truly supported on iToysoldiers all you have to do is zip over to the “Request New Game Support” page and tell us about the game. We’ll get it in as soon as we can.

Now that I’ve gotten that bit of gushing out of the way, here’s some other stuff that’s in the release:

The interface for submitting and editing battles and army lists have been revamped to make them easier to use.  There’s now a series of tabs that group types of input together and all of the required fields are on the very first tab.  No more scrolling through lots of stuff you don’t care about to submit your battles and army lists.

Corrected a whole whack of errors on the League manager. I’m still not 100% sure why the last release failed me so badly but it should all be working now.

Corrected the issue where battle reports weren’t being truly updated on creation. Your opponent wasn’t getting the meta data when you created a battle and that messed up stats for both of you. Also updated all the affected battle reports.

Cleaned up a bunch of backend stuff. Nothing to see here.

So that’s the latest release! If you run into any issues or have some suggestions, I’d love to hear about them.  Zip over to the iToysoldiers Help Portal and let me know what’s on your mind.

Carpe Acies!
Rob @ iToysoldiers

Ragnorak has begun: Better events for miniature wargaming

So one of the things I put into iToysoldiers pretty early on was a calendar/event listing thing so folks could post all the different places/times where we could go and play with our miniature armies.  I built it largely ’cause one of the things that I find to be terribly frustrating is that there’s no really good place to go and find a listing of all the miniature wargaming events going on – in a particular area or otherwise.  Usually, to find if there was a tournament going on during a particular weekend I’d have to sift through a whole lot of different store web pages and then sift through the events to see if there were any I was interested in. Time consuming to be sure.

Now, looking back at what I built for iTS I see it has some serious issues.  The first being that (as one of the first features I added) the functionality is pretty minimal.  It’s also not abundently obvious that ANYONE can post an event.  Also.  The pages are really ugly.

The Ragnorak release is intended to address the issues with the Event pages, calendars, etc.

So the first thing I had to do was rebuild the pages so that all the info packed into them would be easy to absorb.  I find that my sense of style isn’t ideal so I “borrow” design elements from sites that either I like or that I think do a good job handling the layout of the content type.  And so, here’s a screenshot of what the event pages are probably going to look like:

Event Page Screenshot
A screenshot of what the event pages will likely look like.

I’m pretty pleased.  This layout gives me a lot of places to fiddle with different kinds of displays and blocks but still presents all the relevant details right there in front of you.  The right hand block drops beneath the text description on a mobile device, FYI.

Right now I’m planning on leveraging this layout for the main pages of any kind of event: including War Zones (tournament and league manager) as well as Narrative Campaign instances.  I mean, it makes sense since those kinds of content already have a management and operations page to offload the mechanics bits.  Let’s just use the “main” page to display the event details.  Yeah.  I like that idea.

Rob

Concept: Global, Build: Local

iToysoldiers is all about tools to help the miniature wargaming community.  Right now it’s mostly about how folks can share the exploits of their armies but I have grand plans.  One of the things I’m doing is building tools to support my local community in the Greater Windsor, Ontario area.  Why?  Well, the stuff that they need to thrive is likely the same sort of stuff that other communities need.

Now that does generate a wee bit of an issue.  The Windsor crew tends to think of iToysoldiers as their playground – and I’m all over that.  But the intent behind iTS is so much more.  I want it to become a community of gamers that transcends regional boundaries and yet supports the local scene.  I know…  that’s hard.  But I think I can do it.  What I’m discovering I need, in order to address a global audience, is some sort of way to filter out content to only show what’s really important to a particular player.

My first step into this realm is part of the Ragnorak release, which deals with events/leagues/tournaments/ect.  I’m going to try and start suggesting events that a person might be interested in and I’m going to utilize the geo location info to do so.

Baby steps.

Rob @ iToysoldiers.

What’s a core feature to miniature wargamers?

I’ll admit that I get distracted with nifty new things that I can add to iToysoldiers.com.  It’s extremely tempting to fiddle with new features and unfortunately that comes at the expense of things that one might consider to be “core” features.  So over the last week or so I’ve been thinking about what the core features of iToysoldiers are from a player perspective and I’m committing to polishing those up.  Here’s the list I’ve come up with for each of the three major aspects of the hobby:

Gaming

  • Battle Reports and Stats: Kind of where iToysoldiers started.  I mean, the original tagline of the site was, “We have stats. Stats are cool”.  To be fair, I’m always working on making this better.  The Kilgrave release is going to see some new player stat pages that I think you’ll like. Submit a battle and let me know how I can improve them.
  • ListCrit: I’m kinda bummed that more folks don’t take advantage of the listcrit system.  I find a lot of folks use the Army Profile and/or blog functions to post their lists.  That’s cool.  I mean, use it how you want, right?  ListCrit was inspired by the ship buildout tools for Eve Online.  I need to revisit this ’cause I think I may have made it too cumbersome.  But anyway, a place to get peer reviews of your army list is pretty neat, right?
    Any thoughts on how I can make ListCrit better?

Modelling

  • Modelling Projects: The first thing I need to do is decide how I’m going to spell this on the site.  “Modelling” and “modeling” are both correct depending upon what country you’re from.  But I digress.  This is one of the newer features on the site.  Immediate needs are stats and achievements related to the projects.
    Take a look at the modelling projects and let me know what you think of where they’re at right now.

Narrative

  • Army Profiles: So the inspiration for army profiles are those old Index Astartes articles in White Dwarf. I don’t have any specific plans right now to improve it (there was a release not too long ago that added some authoring tools that are kind of cool.  Any feedback on the Army Profiles as they are?

So that’s my list, from a player perspective.  Did I miss any that I should be focusing on? Any ideas for improvements on them? Don’t hesitate to let me know.

Cool idea? Club and Store Automatic Ladder Leagues

So last night I was thinking about some of the conversations I’ve had with my local gaming crew.  One of the things they mentioned was internal ranking for the club would be kinda cool.  I think I have a nifty idea to accomplish it.  Read on:

The basic format would be this:  Every given time frame (I’d probably default it to every quarter) a “league” would be automatically generated for each club and store that opted in to the system.  Every member would then be allowed to register for the ladder.  As players play each other in regular games, league games, or tournament games the system would automatically calculate a ranking based upon the results of the battle.

The ladder rankings would then show up, of course, on the ladder page but could also show up on the club or store page.

The rankings themselves would be generated once per day (so as to not add too much additional processing when unrelated battles are reported).  The rankings would be ELO style and reset at the beginning of each new ladder league.

Whatcha think?  Cool idea?

What’s coming in Smaug

Greetings, commander!

I’m aiming to release Smaug (the code name for the next iToysoldiers release) into the world this week or early next week!  I figured you might be interested in what’s going into it.

So first and most importantly: The iToysoldiers Tournament Manager will now support Privateer Press Steamroller tournaments!  Yep! After years of threatening to do it I’ve finally gotten it into the system.  Now, there’s not a huge ton of differences between a Steamroller tournament and a plain jane swiss style tournament but there are enough differences – especially on tie breakers and the like – to justify a separate rule set.  I mean you could always run one using the existing system but now it’ll sort players exactly as stated in the Steamroller rule pack.  Oh! And the scenarios can be picked manually or randomly generated when one starts the tournament.  Neat, eh?

I’ve also added a stats page to tournaments and leagues.  I know it’s pretty basic but there’s only been two tournaments (and only one league that utilizes the newish system) so I don’t have a ton of real data to play with.  I’m hoping with more events and more feedback I’ll have a better idea on what information is interesting.

I’ve also added the ability to attach a tournament to a gaming club.  So if your tournament is of interest to a particular crew of players they’ll get a notification when you create it.  It’ll also show up on the club page – which is kind of handy.

For tournaments (and leagues and events and campaigns actually) I’ve given the EO the ability to register players.  This is particularly handy with Tournaments where folks will show up on the day of the event and not necessarily have signed up already.

Lastly, some of the feedback and observations of previous tournaments on iToysoldiers generated some bugs/feature requests surrounding the look and feel of certain forms and processes.  I’ve done a number of things to try and address those.  Mostly they’re cosmetic but there’s also a few backend things like removing fields that aren’t necessary, consolidating functions and the like.

I’m really excited about this release.  I’m confident that it’ll make the Tournament Manager even better.  If you’re an event organizer or a friendly local gaming store owner and you’re interested in using the tournament manager for any of your miniature war gaming events drop me a line at rob@itoysoldiers.com and we can chat.

Carpe Acies!
Rob

Itty Bitty Battle Report Release Today

Good morning, commander!

I implemented release code name, “Hastur” today.  Honestly, the changes are fairly minimal.  Mostly backend battle report type stuff.  There’s a minor change to the layout of the battle reports to put tem more in line with other types of content as well as playing with the tools bar.  What do you think of the buttons as opposed to the straight links?

Oh! The main Battle Report page also has new tabs that show all battles, your battles, trending battles, and battles of folks you follow.  I’m going to be adding that to most sections eventually.

Also, I fixed the achievement logic for battle oriented achievements.  Now they trigger when you create a battle so you don’t have to wait for a modification, a new battle or someone to acknowledge the battle.  I also cleaned it up so that it’ll be easier to implement new achievements in the future and that’s a good thing.

Lastly, I made some improvements to the look and feel of the monthly battle champion achievement.  Look for it on July 1st.  It’s more better.

See… Not a terribly interesting release really.  But that brings me to a bit of a chatter about the next release:  “Smaug”.  Smaug’s going to bring in something I’ve been threatening to do for a long time, namely, support for the Privateer Press Steamroller tournament format.  The good news is that the rule set isn’t terribly different from the existing Swiss format that’s the bread and butter of the iToysoldiers Tournament Manager.  When I built the tournament system I tried to think ahead and allow for a modular building block system.  Now I’m calling it the “War Zone Framework” and all the event management stuff is being driven through it.  Seems to be working pretty well.  Anyway.  That’s what I’m working on.

If you have any suggestions for improvements to the site or things you’d like to see I’m all ears!  Drop me a line at rob@itoysoldiers.com or post a comment here.

League Manager Improvements

Greetings, commander!

Based upon some feedback I’ve received over the course of the current GWTW Warhammer 40K league I’ve made some minor improvements to how battle results are reported.  It’s still done using the “Operations” page of the league but now there’s a handy list of your open matches and four buttons: Win, Loss, Draw, Forfeit. I think this’ll be easier to use from two perspectives: First is that it’s more mobile friendly.  Second, I think it’s a tad more intuitive.  It’ll also be cleaner when I get around to putting the round robin league format into play.

Oh yeah! Speaking of the forfeit button.  There is one now. I kind of overlooked that last release (it was there but it wasn’t visible) and now it is. So if you run into a situation where you can’t play your opponent (and it’s your fault) you can easily click the forfeit button and it’ll process the score cards for you and your opponent.  Neat, eh?

For you Event manager folks, I corrected the missing management page on various types of events. Gotta tell you, this was driving me batty.  I also corrected some of the formatting of bullet lists so that they don’t scootch over to the left quite so far anymore.  Huge win for authoring as well as some other spots where there’s lists (like the panel on club pages where you create new content).

So.  With all that there’s one other major thing on the League Manager that I need to address and that’s what happens when a player submits a battle and they’re recorded as player 2.  Unfortunately, I was using some legacy code from the old league manager and it only required a single player to report their battle and then it would generate everything.  I thought it might be a good idea to have both players report their results.  I was wrong.  What I’m going to do is remove the stupidhead form for reporting battles (because the button is way better) and change the code so that only one player needs to report their battle results and then the battle will be generated and acknowledged.

I’m also going to do some improvements to the messaging system so that when players forfeit or report their battle it’ll message their opponent.

Whew.  Anything else I’m missing in the league manager? Improvements? Suggestions? You can post them in the comments, send me a PM or an email at rob@itoysoldiers.com.  I aim to please.

Carpe Acies!
Rob

iToysoldiers is pleased to welcome Relic Knights

Greetings, Warmongers! I’m delighted to add the superfun looking “Relic Knights” by Sodapop Miniatures to the fold.  I’ll freely admit that I haven’t had an opportunity to play this game but I’m a huge fan of the whole anime/mecha aesthetic so this game looks fantastic.  Anyway, here’s some flavor text from the game to kind of give you a feel for the game.

The Darkspace Calamity engulfs the universe. Inexorably it devours galaxies whole, their lights extinguished one by one. Only a single galaxy remains, desperately staving off extinction through the might of its heroes.

Relic Knights is a quick and dynamic tabletop strategy battle game that uses finely detailed 30mm scale miniatures to represent your heroes and villains on the battlefield. Relic Knights uses a card-based system to represent esper—the energy which binds the universe. Players draw and use this esper to unleash devastating attacks and cunning counters upon their foes.

You can take a look at the, albeit spare, Relic Knight page.  I can’t wait to see some of these games and models posted.

Carpe Acies!
Rob

Bring on the Stats

Ahoy, commanders! Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night – sweat soaking your sheets, a scream fighting to tear its way out of you – all because you were going to face a new army tomorrow and you weren’t sure how you were likely to fair against them?  Yeah, me neither.  But that doesn’t mean that you don’t share my curiosity in how a game’s meta is shaping up.  Well, wonder no longer, friends. I’ve started putting a fair amount of effort into actually living up to the slogan, “We have stats. Stats are cool”.  Which brings me to the announcement of iToysoldiers Release 4.2-rc10.

The main focus of this release is to total revamp the battle statistics for game systems and their associated factions.  There’s some minor visual tweaks that make the pages look better and give you a better idea of what content is associated with a given game or faction and the battle meta page has been completely redone but the real meat is in the statistics.

Every game system or army/faction that’s been involved in a battle now has a link to “Battle Stats” for that army or game.  I’m going to use my favorite army, the Dark Eldar as an example.  So if you zip over to the Dark Eldar Stats page (or you can follow along with your favorite army) you’ll see something like this:

Miniature war gaming stats screenshot
Here’s what the new army stats page looks like using REAL Dark Eldar stats

The first row provides some high level numbers: the number of battles, the number of players, the number of battlefields an army game has been seen at, and the number of factions it has fought against (for game systems this number is the number of factions that have fought battles).  Each is linked to a table (or list in the case of battles) that provides some information about the number of battles, the W/L/D numbers and the average battle score.

After that is a handful of spiffy charts.  Let’s talk about ‘em now, shall we?

Battles over time

This is just a simple display of all the battles reported by the faction or game.

Average Battle Score

Until I get a better system in place, average battle score is the current mechanism to provide relative rankings between players and armies.  It’s an average of the total battle result value divided by the battles that the faction has been the primary faction (no, being an ally faction doesn’t contribute to the battle score).  Since this just a number between 1 and 5 (5 being the highest) it gets to be a gauge.

Battle Results

Pretty much what you’d expect: a chart that shows how many battles were a victory, a draw, or a defeat.  Goes along with the Average battle score chart nicely, dontcha think?

Most Battles Leaderboard

This one’s fun: who’s the commander who fights the most battles?  You can, of course, see the full list on the Player tab.

Commander Survival Impact

This one is fun and the start of metrics that aren’t quite as pedestrian as a simple count.  What this chart shows is based on the criteria of commander survival, how many battles did this army win.  I know Warmachine/Hordes players won’t get a ton of use out of this chart (assassination rule and all that) but for most other games it’s kind of interesting.  So for Dark Eldar, if my commander survives the battle players win 58% of the time.  With CSM it’s about 75%.  It also shows the results based on the commander being slain.  Handy to know whether you should consider protecting your commander at all costs.

Opponent’s Army Impact

This is a riff on the Commander Survival impact chart except it shows the results based on the faction of the opponent.  Here’s where you can see how well the given faction does relative to other armies.  So in our Dark Eldar example, Space Wolves are the army of choice to go against.  DE win 72% of the time against these guys.  Avoid the Tyranids.  At all costs.  The faction does the best against armies in the upper right hand bit of the graph.

One caveat: A faction will have had to play against the opponent’s faction at least five times to get on this chart.  So if you don’t see your faction then you need to get those games in so that the metrics are more relevant.

Ally Impact

Can you tell I really dig these “impact” charts? This one displays the impact of the allied factions brought to the battle.  In the Dark Eldar example I think it’s clear that I need to bring Harlequins.

Most Battles Against

This chart displays the total battles against the top five factions that an army has played against.  It’s pretty pedestrian, just a simple count, but interesting.

And that’s all I have for now.  I plan to add more as they come to me and if you have some suggestions do not hesitate to let me know at support@itoysoldiers.uservoice.com.  I aim to please.  Oh yeah!  Don’t you worry! Player stats will be getting a similar treatment really soon.

Carpe Acies!
Rob