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No more arguments about movement and line-of-sight in games like Warhammer? This mobile app wants to handle it all for you with a picture

Sci-fi shooter Light Speed: Arena will debut the Tablescope tech, with a companion for WWII dogfighter Wings of Glory in the works.

Image credit: Ares Games

Positioning your troops in the perfect vantage point to line up a critical shot on your opponent’s units is half the fun of miniatures games like Warhammer. Less fun are the inevitable arguments over whether your shooter really does have line-of-sight on a model squatting in cover (“Yes, I know you can see them!”) and those make-or-break debates over a millimetre of range or movement at the end of your ruler. An upcoming mobile app wants to do away with the human room for error and leave no question about whether your shot connects. Apart from, perhaps, “Do we really have to have a phone at the table?”

Tablescope’s technology aims to understand where physical pieces like miniatures, cards and tiles are located on a tabletop, and then use that to calculate gameplay elements such as movement, range and line-of-sight. As described, the tech should allow a player to snap a single picture of the current layout and have the app sort the rest, instantly drawing the necessary lines and measurements between units in battle.

Meet the Warhammer player taking pro play to the next levelWatch on YouTube

The tech’s first showcase will be in Light Speed: Arena, a remake of designers James Ernest and Tom Jolly’s 2003 card game where players position a fleet of flat cards representing their spaceships around the table. In the new version, the players take a picture of the table using the Tablescope app once they’re done moving their ships around in real-time, seeing whether their shots line up.

In a slightly more terrifying premise, the app will also apparently provide commentary on how the game is playing out based on its visualised analysis. Because what we all need is a computer saying “Oof, you really screwed that up” every time we slightly misjudge a shot.

Light Speed: Arena will hit Kickstarter on May 7th ahead of a planned release next year, but it’s just the start for Tablescope. The tech company has partnered with tabletop publisher Ares Games, the studio behind the likes of War of the Ring, to develop a companion app for its games, starting with World War I and WWII aerial combat wargame Wings of Glory.

Image credit: Ares Games/Tablescope

While the Wings of Glory app is said to still in its early ‘experimental’ phases due to needing to calculate movement (as dictated through players’ manoeuvre orders) and firing ranges based on 3D models rather than 2D cards, the hope is that it will ultimately be able to handle battles in the same way as Light Speed: Arena, with players needing only to take one photo of the layout to do all the maths automatically on their phone. Ares also has a naval spin-off, Sails of Glory, that seems prime for a similar offering if the tech works as promised.

It’s an ambitious idea, but one that could make for a much more approachable wargaming experience on the table - both in terms of the maths and rules-remembering needed, but also by cutting down on the time needed to measure everything precisely, keeping things fair and moving along. If Light Speed: Arena and the upcoming companion app for Wings of Glory work as intended, could we see the same technology applied to the likes of Warhammer or even Dungeons & Dragons?

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