New Poll: How do you tally the total point value of an army?

Everywhere I look, people seem to throw around point totals for their army: “I have 20,000 points of Marines, and another 8,000 points of painted Eldar.”  I’ve often wondered how many points of models I have, but I’ve never really bothered to sit down and count.

Well, this weekend, I tried, but I ran into a snag.  Really, I set about photographing my Tyranid army, but while I was taking the time to put them out neatly on the table, I figured it wouldn’t be hard to count up what I had and determine what the total points value was.  Well, on that point, I was both right and wrong.

For things like Pyrovores, the math was really easy.  Just take the total number owned (0) and multiply by the points value listed in the codex (45).  Since there are on unit options (and I own exactly zero models), it doesn’t get any more straight forward than this.  Other units started to get a little trickier…

For instance, how does one handle unit upgrades like adrenal glands and toxin sacs?  When I tally up the point cost of my hormagaunt units, do I include those in the value of the model or not?  Since the upgrades themselves can almost double the cost of the model, it is an important distinction.  Perhaps if I was stricter about modeling such upgrades on my bugs, it would make this an easy decision.  Unlike some people, I rare run the same list twice, preferring to mix things up each game.  With that said, some games I’ll run my bugs with certain upgrades, and other times I’ll outfit them completely different.  For simplicity’s sake, I try to ensure that all forms of a unit within an army list have the same upgrades though, because I hate getting into the “Hrmmm, was it the blue gaunts that had toxin sacs, or the green ones…?”

For those upgrades that are supposed to be affixed to the model (as above), I’m sure alot of people will say that points should be determined in WYSIWYG fashion.  I can respect that, but then what do you say about upgrades that have no visual representation?  For example, what about regeneration or psychic abilities?  When I total up the points value of a unit that has such upgrades as possible options–do I include them, or exclude them from the value of the figure?

And then, what about magnetized options?  Anyone whose read the blog for a while will note that I’m a little crazy when it comes to magnetizing options (as anyone should be whose been through four editions of rules/codex changes).   Well, how do you account for point value changes in this case?  Do I take the cheapest option?   The most expensive?  The one that I most commonly take?   Or some sort of combination of these (perhaps an median or a mean price?)

Lastly, how do I proceed with units that I use interchangeably between multiple codex slots (and no, the answer isn’t to go out and buy more models—at least not for me)?  For example, my original take on a Carnifex was to use a Trygon tail, but I’ve taken to using them sometimes as Carnies and sometimes as Tervigons, and have lovingly dubbed them “Tervifexes.”  You can pictures of them in this blog post (for some reason, the thumbnails appear broken, but if you click on them, there are valid large images behind them).  I definitely use them more as Tervigons than Carnies, but there are rare exceptions.  When tallying my points, which do they count as?

With all of those options, I’ve decided to make a poll on the subject.  You remember polls?  I used to do them quite frequently.  Alas, all of my previous polls broke after I moved the site, but what better time than to start again?

The question is simple: When I tally up the total points value of my army, how should I do it?   Should I value it:

  • Based upon the base cost of the model?   (though it wouldn’t account for upgrades, it would provide a solid baseline)
  • On the maximum point cost of the model? (After all, this is a form of digital epeen, right?   If that’s the case, don’t I want to flaunt how big it is?)
  • Using the most common options I use (which is difficult for me, seeing as I mix things up so regularly)?
  • Or some combination of the above?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter….  How do you tally the total point value of your army?

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9 comments on “New Poll: How do you tally the total point value of an army?

  1. I’ve changed my opinion since last we chatted about it. I opted for the bare minimum and that would be across the board. Things with options, just take the base cost of the model. Multi-use models, Tervifexes, whatever the cheaper option is.

    I’m sure most who tout how large their army is do it that way. No doubt they’re factoring the most expensive options. Anyone can inflate the size of their army that way. I could make a Marine Captain cost twice his base cost by doing that. However, I see army size as saying this is the base size of my army, the true value.

    • I’d love to do that, but I so often use various configurations that doing this would be hard. I know there’s no hard-and-fast rule, and ultimately–nobody really cares if I can field 10k or 11k of an army, so the solution there would be really just to do a gut check, eh?

  2. I’ll have to consider which poll option to pick, but to answer your question:

    If you’re packing an army for a tournament, perhaps in a custom case, then the value of the army is strictly according to the army list in question.

    If you’re just wanting a rough estimate for your entire collection, I’d use WYSIWYG at a baseline. I’d include upgrades that are commonly taken (like gaunt toxin sacks) – especially when they’re taken by others. Options that no one takes I’d only count if I ALWAYS took them. Then add ‘a bit’, but really not very much to the total to represent things I’ve overlooked and/or wargear that isn’t specified, and there you have it. A totally scientific way of establishing what your army value is!

    Really, your question is actually two rolled in to one. People either want to know the value of a specific army, OR they want to know roughly how much stuff you can put on the table if you were to have a huge ‘unlimited points’ game. And in the second case, no one needs an accurate answer.

    • I guess I assumed that the point value of a specific army was easy to determine–sorry I didn’t make it more clear. The point of the poll is really geared to totalling every model that you own. Ultimately, you’re right in that the accuracy of the total doesn’t matter, but I was just curious as to how most people do this sort of thing. It seems pretty popular to put total points values in signatures on forums (eg. 5,000 points Painted eldar & 12,000 points Chaos). Morbid curiousity got the better of me and after tallying them up, I just wondered how to present the final number.

  3. Bare minimum. Why? Because that way you know the minimum size game you could enter! If you have 4,000 of beefed up ‘Nids, you know that there is no way you could enter a 5,000 Mega-Battle (or Apocalypse). If your army count is ‘non-upgraded’, then you know that you could join the battle as you upgrade yur Army.

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