Joan of Arc, by Perry Miniatures, from our own collection.

The Art of Wargaming:

Sun Tzu’s Teachings for the Modern Tabletop Wargamer


Wargamers are like the feudal princes of old, each with a retinue of men-at-arms ready to command. Every wargaming group or club is a tangled web of friendships and acquaintances, a social beast. Most want to win. Some want to play to the “spirit” of the game. Alliances between players shift and change with each tabletop battle.

Near the top of the social order is the Grand Master: the wargamer who always wins. Always.

Every group of wargamers has one, whom others view with awe and envy. This seemingly invincible wargamer may be known by other, and not so flattering, names. Not only will the Grand Master defeat you, but he will do so with such style and subterfuge you won’t see it coming. And if you do, it’s already too late.

What are the Grand Master’s secrets? Why and how does he always triumph?

Amid these social politics comes the new wargamer, full of excitement and grand designs, to eventually field vast and painted armies on the tabletop. The new wargamer is like Joan of Arc, the Maid of Orleans, who wanted to drive the English out of France during the Hundred Years’ War.

Yet she didn’t grasp French feudal politics. After some initial victories, many of her supposed allies had abandoned her. Even the French King, who at first appeared to be one of her mentors, had betrayed her. She was imprisoned and tried for heresy based on her social faux pas.

Something similar can happen to the new wargamer. Instead of helping him or her, many dishonorable wargamers will view the newcomer only as an easy victory. Even a string of defeats by the more honorable players can frustrate a beginner to leave the tabletop for good.

A new wargamer should never face a Grand Master.

Experienced wargamers aren’t immune to this either. After being beaten time and again, honorably or dishonorably, the hobby loses its luster. The miniatures sit on the shelf or in storage, untouched. Miniatures go unpainted because: “why bother?”

The Art of Wargaming is written for newbies and the experienced wargamers.

In the short-term, the practical lessons herein brought to you by Sun Tzu, history, and experience, will help you enjoy miniature tabletop wargaming even more. For the newbie, you’ll get sound advice on how to avoid some of common pitfalls you’ll face when just starting out. For the veteran, you’ll get back some of that lost luster and excitement for  the hobby.

In the long-term, you’ll learn how to beat the Grand Master.

When other players avoid playing against him, you’ll field your miniatures with a chance of victory. When others bemoan losing early in the game, you will stand firm. You’ll have confidence and proficiency as a wargamer because you’ll have learned the Grand Master’s secrets.

And when you finally do beat the Grand Master, in that victory you’ll understand many secrets which transcend tabletop wargaming all together.

Now get your miniatures painted and ready to fight.

Next on The Art of Wargaming: The Basic Categories of Wargamer.