If you’re like me, playing the same Warmachine & Hordes lists over and over again can get pretty dry. Don’t get me wrong, steamroller games are a ton of fun and you’re always learning new things about your lists or the game (at least I hope so), but sometimes a person needs a break.
Our meta hits this point a couple times a year and when we do we like to change things up and try out new games. About a year ago, Lance found a narrative scenario in an old issue of No Quarter Prime called Trophy Kill (full rules are at the bottom of the post). The basic premise is to make a 25-point list and go hunt down and kill a big, bad wild Gargantuan. Seems simple right?
Your 25-point list gets to use the standard rules it would in a typical steamroller game, but the Gargantuan you are hunting has a mind of its own and will do everything it can to chomp and stomp and shoot you into itty bitty bits. Also, you’re not the only one hunting down this monstrous beast; you’re 1 of (up to) 4.
Building Your List
Up to 4 players can build a 25-point list from any faction in Warmachine & Hordes. However, you can’t build just any list, its composition is restricted. No warcasters, warlocks, warjacks, warbeasts, structures, battle engines, weapon crews, or cavalry models. Soooo… basically just solos and standard units (with attachments).
Based on those restrictions, you might get lists that look like this:
Trollbloods Stone Scribe Chronicler  Trollkin Champions (max)  - Skaldi Bonehammer 
Minions Swamp Gobber River Raider  Viktor Pendrake  Croak Raiders (min)  Croak Raiders (min) 
Crucible Guard Trancer  Trancer  Trancer  Trancer  Crucible Guard Assault Troopers (max) 
One important thing to mention: having a list that hits real hard (weapon masters) isn’t always in your best interest (more on that later).
Set Up The Table
Pick your monstrous beast. You can choose to hunt any of the Gargantuans from Hordes. We’ve gone up against the Storm Raptor and Mammoth so far; but the Hydra or one of the Trollblood Kings would make for an exciting hunt, too.
Once you’ve picked your monster, place it in the center of the table (4′ x 4′ playmat) facing any direction.
Next, you can place up to fourteen pieces of terrain anywhere on the playmat. The terrain is limited to Forests, Snow Banks, Frozen Lakes, or Crevasses. Don’t use buildings, trenches, acid pools, etc (this is the wilderness with giant beasts, after all!). Don’t place terrain within 6″ of the monster or within 3″ of another piece of terrain.
Lastly, you deploy your armies on the play field. Each player picks one of the four corners of the playmat and deploys their models within a 10″ radius of that corner. However, your models don’t get any ambush, advanced deployment, or other modified deployment advantages. The entire army must be deployed within the 10″ area at the start of the game.
Time to hunt!
A full round of gameplay goes from player to player starting with player 1 (you can pick that player randomly) until all players and the monster have activated. A player’s activation follows the same movement and combat rules of a standard Warmachine & Hordes game. Command range still applies, pathfinder, effects, reposition, etc.
The goal for the players is to kill the monster before the monster kills you (all of you). But this isn’t an easy task. The monster isn’t controlled by a player and operates at the mercy of random dice. As a result, this monster you’re hunting isn’t just a regular ol’ gargantuan… it’s a tad, might i say, erratic?
Can’t Tame the Beast
In between each player’s turn, the monster gets an activation. The only exception to this is the first round. During the first round the monster is sleeping, and as long as it isn’t damaged by an attack first round, it will not activate.
When the monster does activate it automatically shakes all continuous effects and ignores any and all effects that would cause it to forfeit combat or movement actions. It will then choose a random direction to face using a deviation template (direction 1 on the template points in the current facing of the monster). After rolling a D6, rotate the monster to the appropriate direction to change its facing. The monster then picks the closest target in its line of sight (LOS) ignoring ALL terrain effects, (yes, I did say ignore ALL terrain effects… the monster sees EVERYONE) and charges the target model.
If the monster fails its charge it does not end its activation. Instead, it starts to shoot stuff. The monster targets the closest model in its LOS and appropriate firing arcs for each of its initial ranged weapons. After making its ranged attacks the monster’s activation ends.
If the monster instead succeeds its charge move, it makes a charge attack against the target model. Then, it makes all of its initial melee attacks against the closet model within its melee range of its remaining weapons.
After the monster has made all its initial attacks (either ranged or melee) its activation ends and the next player begins their activation. Gameplay repeats like this until the players kill the monster, or the monster eats all the players’ models.
But Wait, There’s More!
This is a wild monster after all. The Gargantuan has a few “extra” things that makes it especially erratic and nasty.
When the monster takes damage, it always takes it in aspect 1. So, any models that have a special rule that lets you pick the aspect to assign damage to (like Lynus Wesselbaum) are ignored. When a monster gets a crippled aspect, instead of getting weaker it gets really, really mad and gets super duper strong. When aspect 1 is crippled it gains an extra die on attack rolls; when aspect 2 is crippled it gains an extra die on all its attacks; and when aspect 3 is crippled it performs a sweep attack in each arc BEFORE it make all its initial attacks (ranged or melee).
Wait. But isn’t the monster dead when aspect 3 is crippled?
After aspect 3 is crippled it heals to full and all aspects are considered crippled for the remainder of the game. Which means you have to do it all over again, but the monster is real mad and for the rest of the game gets boosted attack & damage rolls, and performs sweep attacks before all its initial attacks.
Also, remember that part about hitting the monster real hard with your attacks? Let’s talk about that. Whenever the monster suffers 10 or more points of damage, immediately after the attack is resolved the monster activates, turns to face the attacking model and then tramples over all models in its line of site until it has a place to land. The monster doesn’t stop or forfeit the trample if it can’t land at the normal SPD+3″ distance. Instead, it tramples until it has a place to land — which means it can trample 15″ over all your stuff if it needs to. So maybe those weapon masters aren’t the best idea…
Somebody Has To Die
The game is won if the players disable the monster, which means you have to kill it twice…if you survive.
The game is lost if the the monster eats all the players.
Brutal Damage has recorded 2 Trophy Hunts and posted them on youtube. One with a Storm Raptor and the other with the Mammoth. If you’d like to see some monster hunting in action you can check them out here:
No Quarter Prime, Issue #02, page 110