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Make a unit, then subtract from the game size until you reach zero
Add up units and keep adding them until you reach your game size
Just a thought, when making an army list, do you subtract unit totals from the size of your game (i.e. 1500) OR do you keep adding units until you reach your game amount?
Personally I do the latter and add units up until I reach the game size
2000pts Orks 4-2-1
I have a lot of set units that I use in the same configuration every time I use them. I have a list of these, and I pull from that list, adding til I get to the total.
For example, I use striking scorpions in a group of 8 with exarch and scorpion's claw. I have a number of units that I change the size of though. I take out an add dire avengers to reach the limit sometimes...
But I call to God, and the LORD saves me.
I roughly think of what my force will be. Then I work on the Cores and General. Then I work on the rest of my army, and pick off any extras, so I'll often have smaller forces than I initially estimate.
I picked the second, though generally I will first write down a list that includes everything I want to have and then see if I have any points left for anything else. Thus far it seems to have made me better at judging the overall size of armies and predicting whether or not I'll be able to include any "recommended" or must-have units.
I picked "Other." Basically, I will figure out an army core - an HQ, 2 Troops and maybe one unit of something else that I really want, although as a chaos player, I usually end up designing lists around HQs.
Then I add up the point total for that, subtract 1,500 (or however many points, usually giving me a negative number). Then I add other units until I make it back up to zero.
I like to add the "core" units first and then I build around them, thinking about what they need in the way of support, maby add a few specialist units and then with the points that I have left over, I add my HQ to the list. (I do this to avoid the temptation of "maxing" out my characters)
Bad pun I know. But how I write lists, I obsess over the armies back ground, find a "hook" that catches my attention. Select the minimums for legal army fielding (which are selected if possible to back up/reinforce the theme) then add more basic troops as I have faith in the common solder and that's generally the theme with me, State Troop Empire Army, Tactical Marine Squads, etc. Then its tactical essentials, generally in the offensive defensive fashion. What ever I have left goes on what would bump the theme level up and looks pretty.
I thought I would start by pointing out that adding unit point values until you reach the limit is actually exactly the same as removing the value of each unit from the total available until you reach zero. This is in layman's terms merely a question of 'reversing the polarity'. When I read the name of the thread I imagined it would be more about technique than the order I do my math in. With this in mind I thought I would illustrate how I arrive at my army lists.
First of all I should point out that I like to have fixed lists. I like flexible armies that I can build up to say 3000 points and then use in a modular fashion, pulling out the units that I want to play in any particular game. So my 2000 point list is my 1500 plus 500 points, my 3000 is my 1500 plus another 1500. This makes it really easy to play. I will then make special lists for special events like club tournaments or special games like City Fight.
How do I generate those lists?
First I decide on a theme or purpose; this may be something as simple as all-infantry, all-tank, right through to heretic burning, armour avoiding plasma fanatics who refuse to carry projectile weapons. You get the idea.
Once I have the initial concept then I will set out the points limit I am aiming for. I will then look at the typical armies fielded by other players at that level of points. This gives me an idea of what sort of armour, levels of infantry, types of troops I will have to deal with. With these general concepts in mind I then make allowances for each portion of the army. This is usually something along the lines of no more than 1/5th for each sub category such as Heavy Support, Elite etc and at least half for troops choices. I then start with the part of the army that I want most control over and work through the list to the part that matters least to me.
When designing units I take several things into account, efficieny, potential, average cost per wound and anti-tank capacity. The last is important as you never want to field an army which is awesome in every way apart from the fact that it can't hurt anything riding in a tank... To assist in combining the fun of micro desigining a unit with overall army selection I usually design units along a bare-bones principle. IE what is the least amount of troops and kit that this unit needs to get the job done? This allows me to flesh out the units in the army before going back to fill in the gaps with any points left over. An example would be creating a unit of five IG veterans with a lascannon. This is the minimum, extra guns and kit only really supplement the BS4 Lascannon so I add them later. If I have no more points to do it then the main job will still get done.
Once I know what units I want to field I then run over the units in order of importance to the battle place handing out upgrades and extra models until I run out of points. This often leaves some more minor units in the bare-bones stage. This can really pay off as what you are really doing is avoiding spending too much on units that can already do their job anyway. So to continue the example, I may come back and add three more veterans and three plasma guns to turn my vets into an anti-terminator squad of doom, then again, I may not...
When I have used a unit for a while I will reserve points for it. So for instance in my guard armies my Storm Troopers always come in below 110 points. So by marking out 110 points for that unit I know roughly how much space they will take up without having to set out exactly what they will be carrying.
While I am doing the above I try to keep in mind that not many players enjoy playing a completely unbalanced list. So I try to keep my troop choices high and take only two choices from the other categories where possible. This is just a guide though so there is nothing wrong with fielding three tanks, as long as that is more of an exception than the rule. This means that ideally I field just stormies and vets, although I always break that rule when it comes to IG, partly because I field 100 troops at 1500 points and need the variety...
The other rule is familiarity. The more you know about your army the better. How many points is a tactical marine etc etc.
I think I have said enough for now. I hope my comments were helpful.
Doesn't really matter though, as a topic it might spark some good debate anyway ;Y
I have a simple way of building my army lists. I take an idea that I like, and grab all the units that I like to go along with it. If this doesn't quite fit I then grab a mathammer and smash the bejebus out of it 'till it does.
So basically I pick the fluffiest stuff, then make it slightly more efficient. And always in that order.
Take my skitarii, for example. The units I pick in general don't make for the best possible IG army you can field by a long shot, but I like the bionics, I like the servitors, and I work from there, giving me a fairly decent tournament army in the end.
"Pickles, the drummer, doodily doo. (Ding-dong, doodily, doodily, doo.)"
Also, you should google "garfield minus garfield". Awesome.
To try extrapolate on the topic a bit:
I have folders on my PC for each army I own.
In there, I create a text document with everything I own of that army. Example: 6 marines with bolters, 2 lascannons, 1 marine with powerfist, 1 snotling picking his nose etc etc.
I then create a spreadsheet in that same folder. (Excel / Open Office).
In there, I make a number of columns: Count, Description, Point cost, Total.
In Total field, I do calculation of "count x cost" or, to be correct "=A1*D1"
So, starting at the top I would type something like:
1 Lord 9999 9999
10 Marines 400 4000
The last values are filled in automatically, due to calculation.
At the end of this I do a sub total on coloumn D (the total points one).
I build on this to make a huge list with everything I own, and it's associated points cost. This adds up to a total. I can then decide what I don't want in, and make the count 0. Removes it automatically from the total. When I print the list out to take to games, simply hide the rows that are 0 count.
I can then also add things like:
10 Marines 400
1 Aspiring Champion 300
1 Powerfist 3002
1 Icon of Happyness 150
(note, these are obvisouly dummy points values, due to rules. If I have a powerfist of 3002 points, it damn well better take down a titan on first hit).
It gives me a good breakdown of what the person has. Sometimes I'll go so far as to type out ALL the possible options giving them the points value. That way simply fill in a 1 in the first coloumn and it's selected automatically.
I take this whole spreadsheet further. I have workbooks along the bottom with dates. So, lets say a config didn't work well I can make notes, make the next date for the following game and change the list. This allows me to keep a history of what I've made, and track the changes in case I want to go back to trying something.
If this is as clear as mud, let me know and I'll try explain it a bit more.