Bow and Arrows

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Game setup
Bow and Arrows:
View scheme settings
Map specks2.svg
Specially designed map
Examples at the WMDB
As many as the map will support for automatic placement

The Bow and Arrows (BnA in worms terminology) scheme is played on specially created landscapes which consist solely of a random arrangement of specks or small objects. To win, players must carefully navigate the map and kill their enemies with the only weapon available - the Longbow.

The scheme has had many variations throughout its history, without any clear standard until the appearence of HostingBuddy. Most schemes incorporate a selection of transport tools, such as Low Gravity or Parachute. Some schemes include utility crates or health crates, which double up as strategic targets, since the fire is particularly hazardous on a map of specks. Some schemes also include weapon crates, though these are mostly set to contain only transport tools such as Teleport. Instant mines, and sometimes barrels, are generally included. Worms are usually set to be invincible unless drowned.

Maps also differ considerably, with some being open maps - particularly in the past, before big maps became a possibility - and others being closed maps. The spacing of the specks can also vary, not only between maps but sometimes within the map itself. A few maps have land at the bottom to prevent drowning, in which case worms are given a finite health, and Sudden Death is usually included to eventually flood the map.

Each variation of the scheme comes with its own gameplay and unique set of strategies.


Original Bigmap BnA

The first BnA maps to take advantage of the derestriction in map dimensions are simply taller versions of the primordial BnAs, with specks that become denser and denser toward the bottom of the map. This gradient in density gives more freedom for movement and arrow-shooting towards the top of the map, while allowing worms to stand a greater chance of surviving a fall, having more specks to slow them down and to land on as they fall. A full border usually features; it was soon added to contain the mines, which would otherwise frequently bounce out of the map and into the sea.

Oil barrels and a steady stream of health crates add fire to the danger.

Run's Bigmap BnA

Click to watch (W:A + Beta Update required) W:A replay: A classic example with
Run, Parker, Splongul & DancingOmelette
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Game setup
Run's BnA scheme:
View scheme settings
Any densely packed, closed BnA map with a floor
Examples at the WMDB
As many as is humanly possible

This variation emerged shortly after the introduction of big maps, offering a more chaotic alternative to the original Bigmap scheme (above). The main differences in Run's version include:

  • A more densely packed map of specks, except for an open space across the top
  • A floor to prevent drowning, usually shaped as a funnel
  • Crates, containing either Teleports or Select Worms

Because the specks are so dense, chain reactions involving dozens of mines are far more likely than in the original Bigmap BnA scheme. Mines are close together, so that when one explodes, nearby mines are knocked off their specks, and a cascade begins. At the beginning of the game, these cascades quickly wipe out most of the worms.

The crates provide strategic depth to the scheme, as the Teleports within are the only alternative to the long, tedious climbs through dangerous minefields. The teleports also become weapons in themselves, as players use them to detonate mines with their own worms in a bid to take down the enemy.


Controlling the top

The top of the map is the best place to be. Worms at the top (topworms) have no mines above them, so they are far less likely to get caught up in mine cascades and die. And when the flooding comes at Sudden Death, you want to make sure you're the player with all the height. Not only are worms at the bottom (bottomworms) more likely to be killed off, they'll also take valuable turns away from your topworms - turns that could be used to strengthen your dominance of the top of the map by picking off all your rival topworms.

Teleport attacks

The "miracle teleknock"

There are four ways to use the Teleport to attack your enemy. The first is simply by triggering a cascade and hoping for the best: teleport your worm next to a mine way above a cluster of enemy worms, and as your worm falls all over the map, the resulting monsoon of mines is sure to take out some opponents.

The second is slightly more specific: if an enemy worm is sitting in the blast range of a particular mine, detonating that mine will send him falling down. Chances are he'll hit more mines on the way down and die horribly.

The third teleport attack is an indirect version of the second: instead of using a mine to knock a worm off its perch, use a mine to knock a second mine off its perch and into the enemy. This is usually the only other option when there are just no mines close enough for a direct knock, but it's a little harder to pull off.

The fourth attack is the hardest of all, but also the most rewarding: teleport next to a mine and hope that your worm is propelled into your opponent by the mine's blast. When the enemy worm is at the top of the map this can often be the only way to bring him down without going up there and shooting him. A player familiar with how mine blasts affect worms can achieve this move with a surprising degree of accuracy, though it takes a lot of luck to get a hit.


WO icon

The Bow and Arrows scheme has been around for as long as anyone can remember, and the origin of the scheme has long since been forgotten. The scheme has always been relatively unpopular, but the introduction of big maps and up to 250 mines completely transformed the scheme and as a consequence it is played a little more frequently today. These changes have had a lasting effect; the old small-map, 8-object version of the scheme has now all but disappeared.

The scheme has featured consistently in competitions, featuring in most years of the Worm Olympics from when it started in 2006 to when it ended in 2016, and in cups since 2010 and tournaments since 2011 on The Ultimate Site.

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This article has a to-do list:
  • add replay
  • add replay box
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