I find myself hopped up on excitement and caffeine, so I felt the need to write an article regarding one of the format changes of the tournament: the Big Game Hunter Tertiary Mission.
“Of all the destroyed units at the end of the game, the player who killed the destroyed unit which cost the most points wins this mission.”
This was used as a secondary mission for one of the scenarios at Da Boyz GT. I loved it at the time and immediately set to figuring out a way to incorporate it into my games. As a Secondary mission, it was a good counterpoint to Purge the Alien and not a bad way to reward players for destroying large units like Imperial Knights and deathstars of doom. For my taste, the mission was a bit binary to be used as a Secondary or Primary mission, however, I did think that it would make an excellent Tertiary mission.
Big Game Hunter has the binary nature of First Blood; sure, it’s possible to tie this mission, but it is highly unlikely. For this reason, it makes a great tiebreaker in traditional games of 40k. For multi-tiered mission formats such as that used by most tournaments, it’s an excellent bonus point because it actually requires some form of effort as opposed to First Blood which basically rewards a player for winning the roll to go first. It also creates a nice counter-point to Purge the Alien, but not to the same degree as if it were a Secondary mission.
Additionally, Big Game Hunter serves a purpose from a risk/reward perspective. There are good strategies surrounding forcing your opponent to “deal with” a specific, tough unit. With Big Game Hunter, a player who must destroy one of these units could have a nice bonus for pouring a significant amount of effort into a single unit (beyond the obvious advantage of it being dead, of course).
If you look at Victory Points as a measure of your army’s performance on the battlefield, I think there is a strong argument for Big Game Hunter as a replacement for First Blood. While destroying the first unit may have some kind of nebulous morale benefits, destroying a nasty and pivotal unit belonging to your enemy will not only have a psychological effect on the rest of the troops, but it also represents a significant blow to your opponent’s ability to wage war.
As usual, I polled my players at the end of the night. I received generally positive responses and a few criticisms on the format which I took to heart for the next event. However, what surprised me the most was the extremely emphatic response to Big Game Hunter as a replacement for First Blood. Not a single one of the twenty players offered a caveat or complaint. In fact, there were a lot of very positive, even excited comments about it. The response was so positive that it might even be risky for me NOT to include it next time!
I think it’s pretty clear that I love this mission. I won’t try to hide it. I strongly recommend folks give it a try. I hope you’ll agree that there’s not much point in holding on to sacred cows, particularly when almost everyone thinks the steaks taste like crap.