Big Game Hunters/Beginners Test

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The following article is designed to only list a short overview of how the map "Big Game Hunters" is played competitively. The focus of the Beginner's Guide are explanations about map features in general and team play, as well as a collection of links to internal and external sources.

Modes of Play[edit]

Big Game Hunters (BGH) is usually a map associated with team play. Three Player Teams (3v3) are most common, classic 2v2 or 1v1 are less popular, though not unseen. Due to unique map features, team games are usually relatively short lived, despite featuring more players. Consequently, efficient and smart openings, strategies and interaction between allies play a big role. The assumption that BGH does not require any in-depth understanding of Brood War is a false positive. However, it is correct that BGH in particular demands different aspects off a players compared to games on modern, competitive 1v1 maps like Fighting Spirit.

Despite missing the original intention of this portal, it should be noted that (scripted) variations of Big Game Hunters exist as well. The Fun Map "Phantom" for instance features a scenario, in which one player is given an almost unlimited amount of minerals via scripts and the benefit of being able to train units in a shorter time frame. The player(s) to receive the benefits (the Phantom) is chosen randomly and not revealed to the other players. Once the phantom reveals himself, usually by using the benefits, it becomes the objective of all other players to eliminate him. Similar to Phantom, BGH can be played as 2v2v2, 2v2v2v2 or as "Free For All" (everyone vs. everyone). All these game modes are usually not considered as "competitive" and are usually played for fun only.

Map Features[edit]

The following paragraphs give a short overview of the map basics and the resulting balancing of teams, races and starting positions.

Key Features[edit]

Key Features
  • 15 Mineral Patches and two Vespene Geysers per spawning location
  • Nine Mineral Patches and one Vespene Geyser per Natural Expansion
  • Twelve Mineral Patches and two Vespene Geysers in the central area
  • Dropable cliffs behind each Main Base Mineral Line

Theoretically speaking, the original version Hunters is built very similar to Big Game Hunters, but features less Mineral Patches with a smaller saturation of Minerals per Patch. Hence, the category and slang term "Mucho Map" from "Much Minerals/Resources".

Positional Imbalances[edit]

Although being built more or less symmetric, (Big Game) Hunters has a longer list of map features, which can be abused.

Imbalances per Position
  • Only starting positions on 3, 5, 6, and 7 o'clock can build Zergling proof Wall-Ins
  • The Vespene Geyser on the 11 o'clock position returns a slower harvest ratio due to its placement
  • The 3 o'clock Main Base lower Vespene Geyser and lowest positioned Mineral Patch can be attacked by a Siege Tank from the 5 o'clock base
  • Generally speaking, ranged units, especially the Siege Tank, can block access to important map features. All of the Natural Expansion can therefore be sieged from farther distances

Racial Imbalances[edit]

This last paragraph of the Map Features should be read in the context of team play in general.

The Positional Imbalances suggest that Big Game Hunters is heavily Terran favoured, since Terran is able to abuse a list of map features with the help of Siege Tanks and Siege Mode. However, the power of each race depends on the stage the game is in, as well as the other races supporting them.

Zerg has the hardest time to keep up with any other race, mainly because the initial Larvae force a Zerg player to make the decision to either mass the weakest starting units, Zerglings, and sacrifice economical potential, or to focus on Drone production and consequently being more vulnerable to large scaled attacks in the early game.

Terran will have the upper hand due to the narrow paths on the map in later stages of the game, mainly because Terran can easily seal small choke points between bases. However, Terrans rely on Marines in the early game to throw back any kind of attack. In open battles, Marines lose to Zerglings and Zealots early on if not macroed properly. What supports a Terran late game army - narrow paths between bases - makes efficient micromanagement in early stages of the game exponentially harder.

As mentioned in previous parts, team games are shot lived. Protoss therefore usually comes out as "winner" of the positional imbalances, as this race can train very strong Melee units (Zealots) early in the game. The narrow choke points make it rather easy for the race to defend against the weaker Zerglings, which can not possibly surround Zealots in larger numbers in the tight coke points. Only in the later stages of a game Protoss loses against Terran.

Team Play[edit]

Summarized, the positional and racial imbalances, as well as the sheer size of the map in combination with the high amount of available minerals at game start turn the regular approach to Brood War upside down for many aspects. First off, any racial and positional imbalance throughout the entire game can be compensated if each player per team plays smartly; what works against a race in theory can be changed by strategy in reality. Furthermore, competitive 1v1 on "low" maps like Fighting Spirit in modern times suggest strategies mostly revolve around expansion timings, especially so-called Fast Expansions in the first minutes of a game. The team aspect and the high amount of minerals render expanding throughout a BGH game rather unimportant in most cases. Moreover, the option to attack an isolated player with a majority of seemingly weak and inferior units in a concentrated one time early-on attack, decide games in the first minutes for most. Only in rare scenarios all six (or four) players will enter the very late stages of a game, in which more common strategies start to matter.

Allies and Roles[edit]

It should be obvious, that arranged teams are always a better choice than playing with random, anonymous allies. Communication, often blindly performed by knowing the own ally, is key. Any player has to know not only his race, but the race of opponent and friend alike, in order to efficiently play the map.

A very rough classification for each player and his role in the own team and game plan can be done by defining following terms:

  • Initiative Player: Supporting Role, divides and rules
  • Meat Shield: Defends and soaks up damage
  • Ranged Support: Deals damage in attacks
  • Tech Player: Obtains Map Control
  • Power Player: Similar to Ranged Support with a delayed attack timing

Before each role is explained in details, it is pivotal to realize that each role should be understood as ideal case study. In reality, most players can switch in between roles depending on the situation or fulfill more than one.

Initiative Player

The Initiative Player is usually a Zerg. As described earlier, the strategy is to spend Larvae on the Zerglings with Speed Upgrade early on. The word "inititative" refers to his role to initiate an attack. The Zerglings are used to constantly roam the map, posing a direct threat to each of the other opposing players. Whenever they try to move out of their base, a Zergling backstab will be performed, aiming to cripple the enemy's economy. The ulterior motive can be described by "Divide and Rule". While two of the opponents are bound to their bases in a best case scenario, the own allies can take on the remaining player in a 2v1 situation and eliminate him entirely, or cause enough damage to obtain a significant advantage.

Meat Shield

The term meat shield is somewhat self explanatory. It describes a player who either comes to rescue an ally under attack by clearing up enemy forces, or as the player to directly shield another player's ranged units from direct attack. He is used to break through defenses, if necessary with continuous reinforcements and thusly secure the victory. Most times, the players to pose as Meat Shield rely on strong units; the best unit is the Zealot, which means that most times the Meat Shield is performed by Protoss users.

Ranged Support

Ranged Support is the complementary role to the "Meat Shield". In most scenarios the ranged units are trained early on, Dragoons to be precise. However, ranged units are usually hard countered by their melee pendants in lower numbers, such as Zealots or Zerglings, especially if they are surrounded. Consequently, any Ranged Support requires the "Meat Shield".

Tech player

The Tech Player is the most vulnerable part in the game. He disregards the option of training a greater number of early game units, such as Zealots, Marines and Zerglings and aims to open a higher tech tree as fast as possible. Depending on the situation, Ranged Units with Splash Damage are used to close important parts of the maps - entrances to the own (and allied) bases, or the opponent choke points and Mineral Lines. In an ideal scenario, the Tech Player therefore spawns with the longest distance to the enemy team.

Power Player

The Power Player is a role picked rarely and mostly by Zerg players. This role is a combination between the Tech Player and the Ranged Support, as it sacrifices the option to train bigger unit masses in the first minutes. Instead a higher worker count is accumulated and structures raised, which are used to spawn a big number of units like Hydralisks with a significant delay.

Role Picks[edit]

Which role a player eventually picks depends on the own racial distribution, the races of the allies and own mechanical limitations. Since this article should only introduce a rookie to the BGH mentality, the following paragraph is kept short.

Rule of Thumb
  • Terran is almost never Meat Shield or Initiative Player, due to their fragile units
  • Terran is most times the Ranged Support (Marines, Mechanic Units) or the Tech Player
  • Zerg is most times the Initiative Player due to Speedzerglings being the fastest early game unit
  • Protoss depends strongly on the other team's races

More advice will be listed in the team specific build orders available in the top Navigation Bar of this article.

Internal Links[edit]

External Links[edit]