Sunday, 14 March 2021

ADLG: Army List Writer

Recently, I felt the urge to write a new Art de la Guerre (ADLG) army list1.  All my old lists were created with the Little Army Builder website but when I checked recently the original site was no more.  Thankfully, this is only a domain name registration glitch and the application, and my lists, are available elsewhere2.

Before I found the new location, I tried the free Excel sheet available from the main ADLG site3.  In use this sheet is straightforward but, as I began writing a new list, I soon realised it did not suit me as a working document4.  So I reverse engineered the free sheet and wrote my own: otherwise known as building a better mousetrap.

Design Philosophy & How It Works
I wanted more focus on data entry and less emphasis on filling in the final form.   I knew I could automate the form filling once the right data was present somewhere.  I also wanted everything on one screen and useable without scrolling up and down.   Here's the result with the basic flow:

I've colour coded and numbered the sheet above to illustrate how the sheet works:

  1. Enter list number and the top level list details will automatically appear in the blue section on the right5.  Add the date for the list and any option or strategist taken (and available).  Finally add a fortified camp & fortifications if required.
  2. Add the various generals and their competence.  The points accrued will increase automatically as will the command points.  If you overspend on command the unused command point total will be negative and highlighted in red.
  3. Add allied commands here if any.  The available allies will be automatically listed in the blue section.
  4. Finally enter the details of each command.  The Quantity/Description/Type/Quality cells can be cut and pasted which is real advantage as you optimise the list6.
  5. As you add items the points total will appear in the grey section on the left.  The army initiative is shown in the top right hand corner of the dark green section.
  6. Obviously, you can back track and make changes at any time but the above flow is the quickest way to a draft list.

I think this spreadsheet will help me write stronger lists and make less errors.  It's good not to be totally dependent on a niche online application which could disappear at anytime.  Plus I learnt a lot about data manipulation using Google Sheets.

Printing The List
Once you are happy with your list, printing is easy.  There is a second "Print" tab where all the data from the "List" tab has been used to automatically populate the standard template:

The form is designed to be printed on two sides of A4 or duplex printed on one piece of A4.  The second side is solely for your notes and can be skipped.

Want To Try It For Yourself?
The spreadsheet is online in draft form7 as a Google Sheet8 but you don't need a Google account to try it.

Create A Personal Copy
As the online spreadsheet is a shared file, not a multi-user database, you may run into problems if two or more people are trying to use it at the same time.

To avoid these problems, and if you have a Google account, use the link provided below9 to copy the sheet to your Google Drive as a separate, "unshared" copy.

Acknowledgements
I'd like to thank whoever wrote the spreadsheet on the ADLG website. Their approach to some of the calculations was re-used as was the list of categories and troop types.

Footnotes

  1. It must be the impending end of Lockdown III here in the UK. 
  2. Little Army Builder - ADLG 
  3. ADLG Army List Form v3.2 
  4. Every time I moved a line I managed to break the calculations within the sheet.  I think you're meant to rewrite lines not cut & paste cells.  As of 17 March this doesn't happen with my sheet. 
  5. This is thanks to an extensive Army List database that I have written.  It is still under development but is now online: ADLG Army List Data V3.01.01
  6. A clear separation of the list data from the print formatting is the real benefit for me.  It makes messing about with a list so much quicker and safer.  It's that much harder to break the various calculations. 
  7. View & use shared version online: ADLG Army Army List Writer V3.02.06 (via Google Sheets). Google account not required. 
  8. The sheet is written using a couple of powerful functions which are unique to Google Sheets.  As they are not available in Excel, or OpenOffice Calc, there will never be a downloadable version unless Microsoft catches up. 
  9. Save a personal copy to your Google Drive: ADLG Army Army List Writer V3.02.06 . You may be asked to log into your Google account first. 

13 comments :

  1. Thanks for this a nice little tool for playing ADLG. Hopefully you will update when V4 comes out?
    Sean

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes I will. Be sure to read the forthcoming post about the database. It'll be posted soon.

      Delete
    2. I think that when you add a defended camp it doesn't add this to your army breakpoint? On mine I've just done sum for that column and it works well. Thanks again
      sean

      Delete
    3. You've confused me. Did you mean "fortified camp" and that any camp doesn't add to the army "demoralisation value"?

      Delete
    4. Update: Fortified camp now counts as 1 unit towards the army total.

      Delete
  2. Update: points for Elite Impetuous Medium Knights corrected to 12 (was 13). Post any other errors here and I will correct them.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Well sir, that's a great work! I wanted to make smth similar and now I'm very pleased to see that it's already well done! Thank you!

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  4. Update: added missing points for "Medium swordsmen armour 2HW" (10) which has been omitted from V3.2 spreadsheet since 2018.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thank you. Very nice work. Sure I'll use it

    ReplyDelete
  6. Update: creating a personal copy doesn't work the way I initially thought it would. There's a new section explaining this and providing a simple link to create a copy. This will only work for to those with a Google Drive. Sorry for the hassle.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Update: the Unit section now allows error free "cutting and pasting" of lines so it's even easier to rearrange commands. In V3.2.04 this broke some calculations. If you've created your own copy of V3.2.04 you'll need to do it again with V3.2.06.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Update: the Army List Database is now online

    ReplyDelete
  9. This is great work and 'needed' as Google docs is free to use. Thank you
    Sean

    ReplyDelete

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