I use the variable method for my game. The main character in my game can strike in 4 directions, but a random animation is played every time to keep things dynamic. For every strike a given variable gets assigned a random number between 1-10.
To use this variable with your animations, you must first name your animations accordingly. The animations are for instance called LeftHit_1, LeftHit_2 etc.
The string to trigger this is: "LeftHit_"&VariableWithMagicNumber
Hope this helps.