View Full Version : Army Builder Programs

06-08-2007, 13:03
I have searched the forum for an answer for this and is seems that there is a divide, so I have added a poll to get some clarity.

So which one do you use?

Slaaneshi Slave
06-08-2007, 13:04
I use Army Builder (by Lone Wolf Studios, you can find it easily via google). Its very good. Saying that, when I'm writing a real army list I do it with a pen, paper and calculator, so I know everything is in order.

06-08-2007, 13:05
I don't see a poll ;)

Anyways, I use the latest version of AB; v3.1c.

06-08-2007, 13:07
It comes up after you have submitted to post, some of you guys are just to quick, it is there now.

I know a lot of people use the old pen and paper, but I wanted to see which one is best. I currently have both the AOTI and EOTI.

Also is it correct that Army Builder includes the IA entries, all or some?

Here are some links as well for those of you that might not have seen these.

Army Builder


06-08-2007, 13:24
I use both Armies & Enemies of the imperium.
They are terrific because of the drag an drop interface.
They are invaluable (to me) when throwing ideas around for a new army in my head.

06-08-2007, 13:28
Please note that Armies of the Imperium count as Enemies of the Imperium for this pole.

Some points, reasons of why you use these would also be useful.

06-08-2007, 13:38
I use Army Builder 3. Building large 'nid and IG lists would otherwise be an untenatable bore without it. Some people prefer version 2. I don't know why, never having used it. What I do know is that Wolf Lair's program blows GW's mediocre efforts right out of the water, although after something like a 2 year hiatus, they've finally updated their army lists.

06-08-2007, 13:49
MS Excel + Codex is the fastest way to do them for me.

Major Thom
06-08-2007, 14:18
I use all three depending on what i am playing and what is available for data files.
AB 3.1
MS Spreadsheets

I get the most use out of AB 3.1 since I play multiple games systems and most of these are supported in one fashion or another.

06-08-2007, 14:21
Can somebody answer if Army Builder Includes IA entries? If so, up to which versions? 5?

Does it include any of the army lists like DkoK, Armoured Companies, D99, etc

06-08-2007, 14:29
I used to use AB2 but moved to AB3 as soon as it came out

06-08-2007, 15:17
Come on people lets have some pros and cons as well

06-08-2007, 15:52
I use Army Builder 2 but think about moving to AB 3.
The pro of Army Builder is that more gaming systems are supported (GW and non-GW). But you have to pay a fee after one year (1/4 of normal price) to be able to download updated army lists and updates. I think AOTI/EOTI is one payment only.

Since I am not sure to get hold of AB3 or AOTI I would appreciate any advice.


06-08-2007, 16:44
I use Army Builder 3 with latest updates. I like it for the multiple game aspect. If I get into other games besides 40K I won't have to shell out for another program or do without. It also prints a summary of the special rules for your army and how many of each of the Force Org slots you are using.

Cons would be that the files are updated by kind souls with patience so they are not updated until these folks get the time. i.e. Dark Angels are not updated yet, nor are Blood Angels.

I also use the old paper and pencil with calculator, but AB3 is great.

Puffin Magician
06-08-2007, 17:54
I use Army Builder v3 after using ABv2 for a few years. I don't think v3 is better, it's just the one still being updated.

Can somebody answer if Army Builder Includes IA entries? Does it include any of the army lists like DKoK, Armoured Companies, D99, etc.Yes it does, and they cover up to IAU2006 & IA5 at least, Titans and Quad Launchers are in there.

06-08-2007, 18:19
Can somebody answer if Army Builder Includes IA entries? If so, up to which versions? 5?

Does it include any of the army lists like DkoK, Armoured Companies, D99, etc

It's currently includes units from up to IA4, and most variant lists.

06-08-2007, 19:50
Hey how do you download Armies Of The Imperium

06-08-2007, 20:17
Just be careful with army builder. It lets you do some suspicious things that aren't actually real (Dark Angels command squad with jump packs, anyone?)

I shudder to think how wrong it is in chaos lists.

06-08-2007, 20:55
I think IAL by GW is a far "cleaner" setup then AB.


If you are going to pay for one or the other, AB might be the way to go, as it supports multiple systems unlike IAL.

07-08-2007, 00:46
A friend uses Army Builder. I questioned his list one time and he said he used the Army builder and it was approved for GW tournaments and their for 'good'. Is that true for all army builder programs.

Katkiller 5
07-08-2007, 00:48
Microsoft Excel works just fine for me, makes the lists look pretty good too.

07-08-2007, 01:17
Same here.
Some of us use AB, some use AoI/EoI/some use pen/papere/calculator and the rest seem to use excel/other spreadsheet.
This thread pops up 2-3 times a month. There's never been a consensus.

You won't get any of us excel users to switch to another format, and the with the exception of the pen/paper group, you'll probably never get any of the others to switch either.

07-08-2007, 01:34
Excel/Codex for me too because:

1) I already owned it so no purchase needed.
2) It is as customisable as you want (once you learn the ways of Excel-Fu).
3) Spreadsheet skills learned & refined on army lists are useful for other things like managing personal finances etc.

To be fair, you do have to know the codex fairly well to begin with, or you'll tie yourself in knots trying to program all the wargear/FOC validation etc, but that's not really the end of the world if you apply some common sense.

I tend to set up a template for each army with the unit options I'll use most often, then I can just make as many duplicates with as many adjustments as I want. Mainly I use AutoFilter to keep things tidy by removing blank lines (unused options) and VLOOKUP and Conditional Sums for points & totals. Finish of with some concatenated summary boxes and you're good to go...

If I ever get round to it, I've sorta promised on Warseer before to show some interested people how to set up lists.

(Sorry if you're one of those people. I am slowly getting there, I promise!)

07-08-2007, 03:43
Army Builder is dandy, but is not always approved for tourneys, you need to check the list as errors and abuses can occur and so its up to your opponent is check. It just looks nice when it prints out. I like 2.2 but I am cheap, when I see 3x for less than 30$ I will jump up.

07-08-2007, 04:31
I think of the options Army Builder is the most flexible. I've used both that and IAL/AOTI/EOTI, and let me tell you about each:

IAL Pro's:
- Simple, clean, easy-to-read printouts
- Exact duplicates of all codex rules are built into it
- It is designed by GW to be fully legalized, meaning you are much less likely to accidentally break some codex ruling (I've seen some army builder guys switch over to my IAL and suddenly realize options they'd always used were not correct)

IAL con's:
- Doesn't seem to work on my Windows Vista.
- Doesn't include anything after the Eldar codex (i.e., no Dark Angels or Blood Angels)
- It's not particularly intuitive. The whole thing uses drag and drop, which is cool, but it can be irritating at times. I.e., dragging a weapon over to a member of a unit will not give HIM the weapon, but rather, the one you have highlighted, etc.

Army Builder Pro's:
- It has pretty much all list options in it, including the latest codex releases and other 40k variant codices (Like the Imperial Armour books). WORTH NOTING: When Apocalypse comes out, I am fairly certain that IAL will have ZERO support for it, just like it has ZERO support for EoT, Cities of Death, or Cityfight.
- It's pretty easy to use, and it's somewhat customizable.
- For the cost of 40 dollars, you get a program that can do all of your army lists for all races, rather than spending 30 on two separate ones.
- It has hotkeys (plus and minus raise or lower squad numbers, for example), and allows you to rename pretty much anything in the list.

Army Builder Cons:
- You can't necessarily install it on multiple machines.
- It has some incorrect options strewn through it which can lead to abuses
- Its print out is a bit convoluted, and includes a lot of detail by default that the average player won't really need.
- Army Builder doesn't stop you when you break a validation (like adding a third HQ choice). In ways this is good because it allows you to go around validation errors; but mostly this is bad as it can lead to people not noticing the validation marker and going to town with a list with 7 elite slots.

07-08-2007, 04:45
Of course for your last point, that means ignoring the Elite or HW bar going red, the warning icon with attached message that your list is invalid at the bottom of the screen, and the pop up warning that your list is invalid when you attempt to print it out(or save, IIRC). If they somehow overlook all of that, they're just as likely to add in 7 Elites when writing a PnP list, or any other way. It's nothing to do with Army Builder.

For your point before that, 'output as text file' is the answer your looking for. It gives only the unit, cost, weapons, and wargear. And since it's a text file, it's easy to edit. I pare mine down to list the unit, weapons and wargear, and total cost. Also, 'output to html' has pretty extensive display options, so if you don't want something included in the printout, you just have to click a button to remove it.

07-08-2007, 08:02
I really like army builder V3.x

It is no perfect, but is great for fleshing out an army that is floating around in your head.


1) Updates are fairly common.

2) Major mistakes are usually caught and corrected. You can submit any errors/bugs to the AB author to have them corrected on the the next update.

3) I find the stats to a nice addition. You can see model counts, necron phase out, and percentage breakdown of each FOC slot and wargear (33% troops 15% HQ 7% wargear, ect..)

4) it prints out a quick reference sheet with all the weapons (strenght, range, ap, ect..)you took in your army.

5) Support for multiple game systems even non GW games


1) the licensing scheme is a pain in the ****, but support has responded quickly to my emails

2) mistakes, there are enough mistakes that I ALWAYS double check a list. Sometimes it wont let you do something you know you can do, or will tell you its an invalid list for doing so.

3) Some people treat it like it cannot be wrong, and it can be. This leads to some questionable lists

4) Sometimes when you update all you old lists are corrupted and you have to re-make them

5) Its not free

With that in mind, I never treat it like it cant be wrong, and I have used it for several years now.

As far as why people like V2.x is that its was cracked and you can download it for free. This lead to the slightly over zealous subscription key system used now. I wouldn't recommend you trying to dl it as you are more likly to get a virus than the cracked version of AB v2.x

07-08-2007, 08:31
Well I can see that AB is used more than the AOTI\EOTI, so thanks for that, I have now made a purchase of Army Builder.

Thanks all for your comments.

07-08-2007, 10:27
I use AB3.x. I've tried the GW software, and while the interface is nice it was quite awkward to configure units with weapons and wargear (having to drag to each individual member is a bit long winded). I can create lists in AB very quickly, it has fewer mistakes, it has most of the Imperial Armour and other non-Codex units, and can be used for multiple games (I also use it for Necromunda, Epic, and BFG).

I've seen people say they don't like the interface to AB - with version 3 the interface is "skinnable", so new interfaces can be put together once the XML based language has been learnt.

And the best thing about AB is the price. For less than the cost of either AOTI orEOTI you get AB (you actually get 2 copies of AB as you get a free secondary license so you can run it on another machine you own), with a year's support (and even after the year is up you still get to use it, and download/install updated list files), and it supports much much more than either GW product.

There are also two major issues with mistakes in the AB files.

The first, which is the most problematic, is that many users don't bother posting bugs on the maintainers sites (for 40k this is http://www.ab40k.org). If the bugs aren't reported, they won't get fixed unless someone else spots them. As a community led list system it relies on users spotting issues that get through beta testing (and I will admit as one of the beta test team that I do miss bugs as I can't test every possible configuration, but I do try to test as much as a I can).

The other issue is that of rules interpretation - often users post "bugs" that turn out to be a misunderstanding of the rules in the codex. Sometimes it's the file author that has misread something, in which case a short debate occurs in the forums and then it gets changed. However, in the majority of cases issues it's easily resolved with a discussion of the rules and pointing out why something isn't allowed. In a small number of cases, where there is ambiguity and a clear answer cannot be reached, the files are created to ensure that the "most" legal answer is used - that is, the authors try to ensure that a legal list is created rather than the chance of non-legal options being used by a player that would cause arguments.

On the whole the AB files are pretty good, but unless people report issues then bugs will not get fixed. I'd urge all users to at least try reporting issues (checking those author sites that have bug tracking systems for the issue having already been raised first of course - duplicating existing reports just makes it harder for the authors to nail the bugs as they work through the list and end up looking for bugs that have already been fixed).

Lord Solar Plexus
07-08-2007, 10:56
Excel all the way, MS or Open Office. Pro's are that it's installed nearly everywhere, is easy to handle, allows for sums, and the possibility of neat layouts. Con's? None.

Chaplain Ark
08-08-2007, 01:22
I've only used armies of the imperium twice and the others none but i still enjoy the good old pen and paper version. (plus, its easier to cheat a little with the paper. not many people see that I've counted my crusader terminators as command terminators even though i only have a EC, he he he.)

08-08-2007, 09:35
I'm still working with AB2. I'm waiting until they get all the bugs sorted out before changing over. The one problem I have with it is the fact that the program is no longer supported, and finding updated files is a pain in the rear.

08-08-2007, 10:29
-- For some reason this got posted twice. Apologies. Mods, please delete.

08-08-2007, 10:31
I use the army builder 3 trial version combined with a pen and paper or some text editor. You also best combine it with the codex itself, cause AB datafiles sometimes contain errors. This way you get exactly the same functionality as those paying $40 for free, and you can spend some of that hard-earned money on a new squad. You can also use it on more than two computers without having to cough up another $40.

08-08-2007, 11:01
Pen ad paper - that way, any mistakes are mine, and mine alone :D

I do use a MS spreadsheet to double check final lists though...

08-08-2007, 11:04
Pen 'n' Paper or Spreadsheet.

AotI/EotI are just bad.

Army Builder has mistakes and THE WORST Licence bar none. Seriously, I would NEVER pay money for something with a licence this BAD.

08-08-2007, 12:07
I use the army builder 3 trial version combined with a pen and paper or some text editor. You also best combine it with the codex itself, cause AB datafiles sometimes contain errors. This way you get exactly the same functionality as those paying $40 for free, and you can spend some of that hard-earned money on a new squad. You can also use it on more than two computers without having to cough up another $40.

You don't have "cough up another $40" to use AB3 on more than two computers. Up to two additional secondary licenses are available at a much reduced rate (been a while since I bought mine, but I think they were $5 each). If you use the trial version then you lose a lot of the functionality of the full version - printing out your entire list in one go and list validation across all units selected.

Hmm, maybe I should ask Wolflair for a job selling their software, I seem to spend a lot of time pointing out things about it ;)

Army Builder has mistakes and THE WORST Licence bar none. Seriously, I would NEVER pay money for something with a licence this BAD.

What's wrong with the license? It's better than paying out for every new version like many other commercial software companies do. I'd rather pay $40 for two licenses, and then the yearly renewal fee (I think it was $12 last year for me to renew my license and 3 secondaries, $12 for continued support on 4 machines is very reasonable in my view), than pay $40 every year for the same support, wouldn't you? And you don't have to renew - it'll carry on working, and you can keep on downloading file updates and installing them from the hard disk (you lose the automatic update facility within the program, but the 40k files tend to be available for download on http://www.ab40k.org a week or so before the authors list them in the AB update system anyway).

Did you buy AOTI/EOTI? If so, you were screwed - it rarely gets updates (last update was 20th Sep 2006 to add the Eldar list, there is till no Dark Angels update, and Blood Angels will be lucky if they get updated by the end of this year!), and if GW do release a new version of the software you'll have to pay out full price all over again (on the old GW forums they'd already announced they were discontinuing the current IAL and were looking at replacing it with a different programme that does the same thing), they won't have an upgrade price (just like they didn't from the old army list program to the current pair), and you have to pay for two separate products to cover the codexes (which if you play one or more Imperium list and one or more Xenos list then it's even more of a ripoff).

08-08-2007, 12:48
The only reason I use AB2 is because that is what I had to start with. While AB3 is probably better (I don't know personally) it means having to go and buy it. I will eventually, but not today.

The other issue, is they do say that you should delete any files for which you don't have a codex for. However I find that I also throw a lot of ideas around for different armies I am thinking of doing, and then when I start, I go out and buy the codex.

08-08-2007, 13:09
Pen & paper, occasionally tried Excel, but i'm using the forge a lot more now.
The forge in case you don't know is free has no validation but a nice alternative to excel in my opinion. Plus it's customise friendly. You could put in your own codex if you wanted.

08-08-2007, 13:36
Well I have brought all three of them now, they each have nice touches and it is a shame GW do not spend much time updating theres as often as AB.

I have raised two bugs with it already on the AB40K Maintainers site

08-08-2007, 14:02
I use an Excel spreadsheet that I picked up from Portent five years ago!

I had to update it to 4th ed and add things to it but on the whole it is fine.

Does the GW one still need patches to run?

08-08-2007, 14:05
I use both Armies & Enemies of the imperium.
They are terrific because of the drag an drop interface.

I just tried the Armies of the Imperium today and I've got to say, I was honestly expecting a bit more...
Sticking to Army Builder for now... along with Excel!

08-08-2007, 14:29
Ok found and raised a few bugs already, started a log here


I really don't like to wait for things, hence the reason I started fixing them myself. Please feel free to comment.

24-12-2007, 06:30
alright, this is a might bit old, but I'm trying to find the excel spreadsheet from portent. can anyone hook me up?
e-mail is dan.wootton@gmail.com

24-12-2007, 06:55
I tend to prefer the codex/army list and Excel. I naver have an issue with the software not being up to date with the information from the new codex as the book is right there for me to reference. Also, while I have AotI, I cannot use it for my main army because they chose to not support any Chapter Approved rules; hence, I cannot make a Deathwatch army. Fortunately, Excel works just fine with my Space Marine codex and the Deathwatch article.

24-12-2007, 07:05
I use IAL, I'm a big fan of the built-in codex rules which make it pretty much impossible to make a mistake. One con is that you can't put Forgeworld stuff into your list, but I can live without that.

24-12-2007, 08:34
Army Builder for me, I can spend hours playing with various lists, its a game in itself. I particularly like how they have implemented apoc allies, units and formations.

24-12-2007, 08:42
I used the original IAL.

I've never liked AB.

Now though, P&P all the way. Much simpler and in many ways a lot quicker.

24-12-2007, 11:21
I've used the IAL (old, combined version as well as AotI and EotI), AB2 and AB3

...Now I just stick to the codex, notepad and excel

the biggest problem with AB is that a lot of people put their brains on standby when using it, they don't read the codex when making a list so when AB allows them to do something, they accept that it can be done. what is much worse is when they insist that because AB allows it, it must be equal - they seem to not comprehend that the files are not made by GW, and so there's no guarantee of validity.

That said, the IAL's lack of updates is a crippling disability. The original version where you could make your own army files was much, much better.