After my last article on missions, I feel the need to preface this article by saying that these missions do not seek to solve every problem with Warhammer 40,000 and I am working under the premise that discussing them regardless of this fact does have value. My intent here is to provide a forum to discuss them and, hopefully, inspire other T.O.s to incorporate some of this stuff in their own missions if they feel it will help them. Your mileage may vary.
At any rate, I was very impressed by some of the missions at Da Boyz this year. Not only is this my personal experience, but I had some discussions and overheard some talk about them and they seemed rather well-received by many attendees. Of course, no real metrics exist on this, so it’s anecdotal at best.
These missions sought to reduce the impact of both deathstars and spam, both of which can be a problem for fair play. Note, for context, that Da Boyz already boasts a comp system which limits non-troops to 0-2 and dedicated transports to 0-3.
Double VP for Spam
One scenario boasted a very interesting mechanic for the primary mission. It was old-style Victory Points (where each killed unit was worth an amount of VP equal to its total cost and each half-strength unit or unit with half its hull points/wounds left was worth half). The spin on this mission was “Break their Will” where any unit which had a duplicate in your list was worth double points. Non-dedicated transport troops were exempt from this. For example, all of my Ork bike units were worth their listed price because they were troops, but my Trukks were worth 80 points because I had more than one of them in my list.
People playing two Imperial Knights must have been a bit taken aback.
I was really impressed with this idea. Of course, any old-style VP mission is best slotted for the last game of the day or the tournament because it takes extra time to tally the points.
Victory for Killing the Biggest Unit
Another scenario boasted an interesting secondary mission. In this, you kept track of your killed units. At the end of the game, whomever had killed the most valuable unit won the mission. I think this was in a proper position as a secondary mission, though I think it has promise for expansion.
Marked for Death
As a secondary mission, players chose three units to be Marked for Death and only these were scored like kill points for the mission. Dedicated Transports couldn’t be chosen. This gave the player the ability to choose units which they could kill and score with them rather than having to deal solely with the enemy’s most deadly or hard to kill units. It also created quite a conundrum… choose your opponent’s key units which had to be dealt with for the primary mission, or go for the easy kills to score Marked for Death?
Folding these Concepts Into Your Tournament
I think some of these concepts could very easily be combined into a more robust Purge the Alien mission. I am imagining running Purge where units which are duplicated in a list are worth 2 VP instead of 1. Of course, units which are troops would be exempt from the doubling (though their dedicated transports would not be). Additionally, you could roll Marked for Death into this mission, scoring an additional VP for Marked for Death units. This mission would help quell the power of spam armies while, at the same time, help armies with lots of kill points which do not use high-point spam to be effective in Purge.
Of course, I don’t see a problem with running the original Da Boyz mission in a tournament. The old style VP really helps with opponents who spam very large models like Imperial Knights. I would just make sure it’s your last game of the day or you give extra time for points calculation and list verification. Remember, old VP isn’t just about counting points, but verifying for yourself what you’ve killed… old VP can be pretty janky.
I’d love to see killing the biggest unit replace First Blood as a tertiary objective. I think it requires actual effort and decision-making which is much better than “go first with big guns”. It also is similar to First Blood where it is likely to be granted to a single player, thus creating an objective which helps break ties.
For any of these missions, I do advocate pre-publishing the missions. I know not everyone agrees on this, but if there will be spam-busting missions, folks should have a chance to adjust. If you don’t pre-publish, your players feel like they’re being treated punitively for bringing the list they like to play and that’s probably detrimental to attendance.