Hobby Lessons – Army Building


I have been collecting models for probably about 10 years now, but haven’t really progressed much with painting, modelling, or terrain building, so I consider myself a novice when it comes to the hobby. I had been thinking about creating a “hobby lesson” type section based upon what I have learned with my blunders in the small amount of time in the hobby. I had been putting it off, but something just happened that I might as well write about.

Hopefully, I won’t be running across too many of these new learning, but I’m sure to run across them from time to time. I have a little bit of a backlog that I can draw from but for now, I will focus on the latest one.

When it comes to army building, I have typically steered clear of products for purchase such as Army Builder or Quartermaster. I have used Army Builder a little bit, and it seems to be a solid program. However (being cheap), I have generally relied upon my ability to create spreadsheets and created a custom spreadsheet to aid in my army building (and even planning). This provides the advantage of saving me money and being customizable however I like.

Well, this all works out great, so long as I managed to keep the file in a location where it is easily accessible. I have kept mine on my USB drive for quite a while now, since they are very portable and handy to use (and I sit in front of a computer all day). But, what happens when I can’t seem to locate it and I would like to write/update an army list? It doesn’t work so well. I checked on my desktop computer, and it seems that I forgot to back up the 8th edition version of the High Elf book on to there.

At least with this site, I still have access to some of my army lists that I have already created. I had a print off of one of my previous lists that I wanted to tweak slightly, and I had to break out the calculator and pencil to figure out my modifications. I didn’t realize how convenient (and quick) it is to have something that calculates it all for me. Now, I need to redouble my efforts to find said USB drive or write it off as lost and get another spreadsheet up and running. I don’t want to be writing army lists by hand for long.

So, this is kind of two lessons in one:

  1. Don’t write army lists by hand. Use a tool to assist you
  2. Make sure that if something happens to the tool, it is easy to recover from

So, when was the last time that you wrote an army list by hand? Maybe that is all that you do and it’s not as bad as I think? What tools do you use to aid in writing army lists and are you prepared if you lose the tools?


2 responses to “Hobby Lessons – Army Building

  1. I’m committed to Army Builder. I made some mistakes in the past scribbling lists on paper. AB allows me to modify lists in a blink of a eye, and have a list that is accepted by everyone I play against. They know if there are no errors marked in red, and the points are below what we agreed upon, then my list is GTG.

    Plus AB allows me to build armies for many different games, with updates and bug corrections when required. I’ve yet to have a problem, and I’ve yet to find any errors. Granted, I may be in the minority when it comes to this, I am extremely happy with the product.

    Although it does have a high price at first, I love the fact that I can change lists on the fly, and create armies within a few minutes. If my opponent doesn’t want to face off against my Skullcrushers again this week – no problem. A couple quick clicks and I’ve filled the gap with something new.

    • Yeah. I never had any problems with Army Builder other than me not wanting to shell out money for it. I know that I was a little concerned with my first tournament on the format that my list would be in. I wanted it to be easy to read and check the points costs, if somebody so desired. Maybe I will pursue that route if I don’t feel like whipping up another spreadsheet…

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