Review and Giveway: Dungeon Mapp for iPad

The iPad has proven to be a pretty handy tool for roleplaying games. Previous articles have talked about some of the common uses, and I’ve found in the months since getting mine that it’s a lot easier to carry around a gaming library with me, and as a result, I’m more inclined to buy gaming PDFs. However, they’re still not necessarily a platform to run tabletop RPGs from, despite having many of the functions.

Dungeon Mapp (iTunes link) fills in a missing piece of that equation for those who play RPGs on a grid, most notably the past few editions of Dungeons & Dragons and its spinoffs. Dungeon Mapp is an app for the iPad that lets a DM build dungeon maps (or wilderness, or several other terrain types), as well as populating the maps with extra features. You can then use it to entirely run your combats from within the app, placing party members, monsters, and managing initiative all from within the program.

I found Dungeon Mapp, while seemingly sparse at the beginning, to be very intuitive. From smooth scrolling/pinching to get around the map, to easily filling the map with terrain by dragging across the screen, to hitting icons to place different features, and a scary button to place the monsters, I was map-making right away after launching the app. Then “play” mode was equally easy to manage, with the init mode grabbing the PC tokens and monsters I previously placed into the map and filling it in. There’s also a dice-roller built in to manage the monster attacks when it’s their turn, and places to enter in some basic stats of the creatures on the map. It was easy enough that if I were a more accomplished map-designer (like, say, the Architect DM) I’m pretty sure I could do a lot of the mapping on the fly for basic rooms, though obviously the more time you can spend with it in advance the more you’re going to get out of it.

I think the app has struck a good balance between the amount of tools you need to make maps without it being overwhelmed by functions. If you are having trouble though, there is documentation on the company’s website. Additionally, even if you don’t want to go all out and run games from your iPad (and don’t have the capability to project your display onto a table), you can export and email the maps you make, so it can be used as a prototype tool for your own maps that you render elsewhere.

My main complaint- other than sucking at making maps no matter what the format- is that the app seems to render the grid oddly which can make it difficult to tell what the scale is of a map. Lines do shift a bit, which might work better on the more powerful iPad2, and it’s not a major hindrance to usage, just an annoyance.

Dungeon Mapp costs $9, which seems fair for the amount of work put into it and the amount of utility you can get out of an app like this (and even compared to the prices of other apps in the same space.) We received a free copy for the purposes of review, but we also were given five codes for free copies of the app to give away.

If you’d like to enter for a chance to win, leave a comment on this post saying that you’d like to enter the contest, and either tell us what you’d use the app for or make a suggestion for a new function you’d like the app to do. You must leave your comment before 11/11/11 at 11:59P EST to be elligible to win. We’ll pull 5 entrants and random and email them the code (so be sure to put a current email in the email field when leaving the comment), and please only enter if you have an iPad or will give it to someone that does.

Giveaway only open to those in the USA, Canada, and UK. Some additional legal stuff is below- please see the appropriate section for the country you are entering from.

USA:
Code expires on Wed Nov 23 13:07:20 PST 2011 and is redeemable only on the iTunes Store for United States. Requires an iTunes account, subject to prior acceptance of license and usage terms. To open an account you must be above the age of 13 and in United States. Compatible software and hardware, and internet access (fees may apply) required. Not for resale. Full terms apply; see www.apple.com/legal/itunes/ww/. For more information, see www.apple.com/support/. This app is provided to you by Derek Proud.

Canada:
Code expires on Wed Nov 23 13:07:20 PST 2011 and is redeemable only on the iTunes Store for Canada. Requires an iTunes account, subject to prior acceptance of license and usage terms. To open an account you must be above the age of 13 and in Canada. Compatible software and hardware, and internet access (fees may apply) required. Not for resale. Full terms apply; see www.apple.com/legal/itunes/ww/. For more information, see www.apple.com/ca/support/. This app is provided to you by Derek Proud.

UK:
Code expires on Wed Nov 23 13:07:20 PST 2011 and is redeemable only on the iTunes Store for the United Kingdom. Requires an iTunes account, subject to prior acceptance of license and usage terms. To open an account you must be above the age of 13 and in United Kingdom. Compatible software and hardware, and internet access (fees may apply) required. Not for resale. Full terms apply; see www.apple.com/legal/itunes/ww/. For more information, see www.apple.com/support/. This app is provided to you by Derek Proud.

Even if you don’t win, you can still get a free preview version of the app on iTunes. So let us know if you’d like to “mapp” out your own dungeons on your iPad today.

About Dave

Dave "The Game" Chalker is the Editor-in-Chief and Co-Founder of Critical Hits. Since 2005, he has been bringing readers game news and advice, as well as editing nearly everything published here. He is the designer of the Origins Award-winning Get Bit!, a freelance designer and developer, son of a science fiction author, and a Master of Arts. He lives in MD with e, their three dogs, and two cats.

Comments

  1. I wanto to enter the Contest and I’d Use the App on the TV as a big map that the players would unveil it as they walk, and NEVER MORE I would have to use my awfull drawing skills.

  2. I’d like to enter the contest. I’d use Dungeon Mapp to test encounters before springing them on my players.

  3. QuackTape says:

    I would like to enter. The biggest feature I’d like to see is the equivalent of “presenter mode” in PowerPoint when you are Playing. In other words, when plugged into a TV or other external display, the iPad display would show a set of DM Tools while the external screen could show player view.

  4. I’d like to use the mapper for our gaming sessions because most of us have ipads and would love to go 70-80% digital.

    If i were to add a feature to it, it would be the ability to use mirroring with it on ipad 1st gen if you cannot already do it. Playing with it on an HDTV would be a cool experiance.

  5. I would like to be entered in contest.

    Installed and played with app. I own several of the competitors of this app so I can compare it to them. Functionally this app runs well and is easy to create quick maps. It allows for some basic map marking in terms of difficult terrain on top of the already drawn terrain type (such as grass or stone) which was quite nice. Good selection of basic map objects to put on the map to give it some life not just blank rooms.

    The app looks to be designed to create maps AND use at the table as a VTT (virtual table top). I thought the map creation was well done, but he table use aspect was not terribly useful. None of the iPad/iPhone apps I’ve played with have nailed this feature.

    Several features that would be helpful/cool.
    1. Import of .JPG or other image types for both maps and other objects. Mostly for maps that already exist. I don’t wanna recreate the wheel for every map. Thus, its usefulness as a “quick” map creator only.

    2. Token editing should either be more system independent (we don’t ALL play 4e) or bill itself as a 4e VTT. Either way it should have a notes field on the token to allow for other info to be saved with the token.

    3. FOW (Fog of War) would be cool. Especially if it showed the map locally on the iPad (DM View basically) with a translucent FOW and solid FOW on the output connector for the players.

    4. Need to be able to import and export (or save locally) a roster of PC/NPC’s in a tree structure. Too many tokens to sort through if doing multiple combats.

    My two bits,

    Kizan

  6. Seems like a great idea. Put me in the draw for the Canadians! 🙂

  7. i would love to win the contest. I am starting a new game with some brand new players and it would be a great way to introduce them to the game with some new tools and some ‘sparkle’ i’d love to hook it to a projector and down project to the table at work!

  8. I am entering because we are teaching my not-quite-seven-year-old daughter the basics of adventure gaming and she would love to be able to make her own dungeons; she tends to side with the monsters, so I sense a budding GM.

  9. I would like to enter the contest. I’ll definitely use this to display maps on the TV for the players to slowly discover. It’s not clear from the iTunes description if it’s an option to import maps from other sources, but if not, that should definitely be added. Just giving it the ability to open an .png or .jpg would be great.

  10. I’d love to enter the contest. This sounds damn near perfect for one shot games at conventions. The challenge has always been “bring a giant battle map, or fake it with scrawls on paper?” With Dungeon Mapp you could prep the battlefields ahead of time and just use the iPad. I would love this.

    Kevin

  11. Initially I’d use the mapper to prototype board games, which is my primary gaming hobby. This sounds like a great tool to map out scenarios and try things when I don’t have friends around (or willing!) to test my prototypes.

    I’d also like to use this to finally dip my toes into the D&D world. I have the books and several friends with iPads. Perhaps a slick digital app such as this will be the way by which I can finally convince my friends to try it with me.

    Great review, thanks for the opportunity.

  12. I want to enter. I’d use this to create some maps while on the go.

  13. I would like to enter this contest. Our gaming group has been using a 2×4′ wet erase map for years, but always end up using a small portion of it for actual battles. Running this kind of app on my new iPad would be perfect for streamlining our gaming sessions.

  14. I get married on 11/11/11, so this would be a great wedding gift! Our group has not really used much modern technology in our 4E game, so I think this app would be a great way to start tapping into the future of gaming.

  15. Entrance in contest: Check. Map usage: My players are always complaining about the encounter setups, so having the app to show everyone/print out map sections would be awesome.
    New Tool: take images of designed maps and convert to pdfs(or the like) for printing. Would make those WotC dungeon tiles obsolete.

  16. I’d like to enter. I’d use it as a simple guide to start while brainstorming for the next adventure. Once I got the hang of it and saw how it works I’d hope to expand it to a system similar to some others where I can have the map projected to a tv and allow the PCs to explore on maps I’ve created!

  17. Contest entry get.

    This looks fantastic for running a small 1-on-1 game with my wife, especially if we were on a plane/train/boat (but not automobile, I’d be driving!)

  18. Verbumaturge says:

    I’d like to enter the contest.

    I just got an iPad, and I have a projector, so I’m inching closer to my dream of projecting maps onto the table. This looks like the app to do it with.

    Verbumaturge.

  19. Sean Campbell says:

    Hello!! I’m throwing my gauntlet into the ring and entering to win!

    I’d love to be the only person at my weekly LFR games with professional, non-handdrawn maps!

    -Sean

  20. I’d love to win a copy of this app; I can see using it to quickly mock out maps for gaming sessions, especially when the party goes off the rails (not that it’s a bad thing!)

  21. Please enter me in the drawing. I’d love for it to be able to track hit points of player and monster objects.

  22. I’d like to be entered into the contest. I’d use the app to prep encounters for my D&D group and try to use it with a large tv to project the map for the players.

  23. Please enter me in the drawing. I’ve had an ipad for a few months now, but haven’t yet used it for gaming. Not sure if this product has support for hex maps, but I’d welcome that feature for overland maps.

  24. I would like to enter this contest. I do most of my campaign prep on my iPad already, but currently plan out my battle grid maps on grid-lined index cards because I haven’t found the ideal tool on my iPad. This sounds like it would fit the bill and I’d love to experiment with it before our next game session.

  25. I’d like to enter the contest. I am most keen to use dungeon mapp to prepare maps and print them off. I’d also make use of it for quick on the fly mapping to show a new location to my players.

  26. Christopher says:

    I’d like to be entered in the contest. I would use the app to make maps while I’m sitting in lectures to prepare for my games and help keep me awake while the teachers are talking.

  27. I’d like to be entered in the contest. I do most of my game prep on my iPad and would love to be able to draw my maps on the go to. Right now I am still making maps the old fashion way with a ruler and pencil.

  28. Enter me in the contest please. As a feature I’d like to see a system where the GM’s view was on the primary iPad and the players’ view was shown on another iPad (or multiple client iPads). Maybe there are too many iPads at my table?

  29. Please enter me in the contest for the app. I would like to use the app because all of WOTC DDI tools use Silverlight and that doesn’t work on an iPad.

  30. Matthew Gillespie says:

    I would love to be in the drawing to win Dungeon Mapp. I would be using it to easily setup encounters as they come to mind rather than wait to get home, mess with my dungeon tiles, and try to sketch it out legibly in my notes.
    I would really like to see releases of art packs in the future for different games. (Dark Sun, Eberron, even Shadowrun or Star Wars.

  31. I’d like to enter. And thanks!

  32. Jacob Y (@DelayedSession) says:

    I really like this idea, and would like to join the contest. I think I would use it for coming up with rooms on the fly, or for helping my mom get her ipad involved in the campaign I run for my family: she’s keen on that idea.

  33. I’d like to enter. How about dual screen support? GM on IPad, use HDMI output to show players their view.

  34. Yes please enter me. Well that sounds bad. Put my name in the hat for the drawing. I would like to use it to set up adventures to play with my kids.

  35. You end the comp on 11/11/11 and you don’t end it at 11:11pm? That’s a missed opportunity that’s not going to come around again.

    I don’t want to enter the competition (I don’t live in any of the eligible countries).

  36. Baz Stevens says:

    One for me please! My 5 year old twins want to get involved with my two hobbies, D&D and my iPad. Danny loves to draw, so he’s in charge of dungeons. Beth loves minis so she’s in charge of monsters.

  37. I would like to enter and would use the app to prep encounters during lunch (the only time I really have) for a D&D teen library game.

  38. Wayne Peacock says:

    I use Masterplan. you can either compose the map yourself, or import it from a jpeg.

  39. As a Canadian I am proud to enter, would love to get that app. Sign me up.

  40. Contest is closed- we will contact the winners soon.

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