Random Army Selection for 7th Ed

The Rogue Trader army lists tended to include random rolls for some aspects of army selection. This may have represented the idea that a General might not always be able to get the exact troops or equipment he needed. Or maybe it was just a way for the game designers to encourage players to experiment with some of the weird and wonderful selections available.

Some examples include:

  • Random equipment charts for characters.
  • Random psychic power selection. (We still have that!)
  • Random numbers of Techmarines or Adeptus Mechanicus available. These determined how many vehicles and support weapons could be included in the army.

There are some practical problems with using these rolls though – what if you don’t have the matching models available? Or you roll a low number for Techmarines, and without all your tanks, you can’t meet the points value for the game? In the RT era more players were likely to work around these problems by fudging the rolls if necessary to work with what models they had, but this could be frustrating for some.

Random-ish Selection

My idea for random selection is the other way around. Instead of starting with charts and trying to match models to them, we start with the models and choose amongst them.

Any player can follow this method for choosing their army for a 7th Ed game – but obviously it works best if both players use it.

Base Organisation

All armies chosen using this method count as ‘Unbound’, so forget about those special rules you get for using a detachment. Even if you happen to end up with a selection of units that could be a valid detachment, the army still counts as ‘Unbound’.

1. List units

The first step is to make a list of all the units that could be in your army. If you’re doing this properly, it would be all units in your collection, or at least for the relevant army. But you should ensure that you have at least 25% more points (roughly) than the size of game you’re aiming for.

If you want to include units from different races or factions, go for it! It’s an Unbound army after all.

2. Prioritise units

At this stage you might decide there are some units that you really want to have in the army. Some reasons for prioritising a unit:

  • It’s your favourite character who is developing a history over several games.
  • You just finished painting this unit and haven’t played a game with it yet.
  • You can’t imagine playing a game without some heavy firepower.

Mark the units on the list to show which are prioritised. It doesn’t make much sense to prioritise too many. As a rule of thumb up to 3 units is good.

3. Roll some dice

Roll a D6 for each unit. If the unit was prioritised, add 1 to the score. Write the score next to the unit.

4. Choose the army

Starting with the unit or units with the highest score, write them down as your army list. Subtract the points value from the total as you go. If two units have the same score, you can choose which one to take first.

Eventually you will not have enough points remaining to take the next available unit, so stop. You can spend any leftover points on non-WYSIWYG upgrades, but otherwise they are not used.

Dependent units

Some units can only be taken if you take another unit. For example, you can only take a Rhino as a transport for a Space Marine squad, or you can only take a Command Squad if you have a HQ character to lead them.

There are three ways to deal with this:

  1. Include them as a single unit in the list you start with.
  2. Include them as separate units in your starting list. After you roll scores for each unit, if the score for the dependent unit is higher than the unit it depends on, reduce the score to be the same.
  3. (Needs opponent’s permission). Include them as separate units and ignore the dependency.


Some units have upgrades which don’t need to be shown on the model. For example, a Librarian can upgrade to an extra Psychic level.

If you always want the unit to have the upgrade, include it on the original list. Otherwise, you can leave it out, and if you have points left over after choosing units, spend them on any upgrades.


Ultra-Marines Skirmish

I want to choose 1000 points from my Ultra-Marines for a skirmish.

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