The general that hearkens to my counsel and acts upon it, will conquer: let such a one be retained in command! The general that hearkens not to my counsel nor acts upon it, will suffer defeat: Let such a one be dismissed!

While heading the profit of my counsel, avail yourself to any helpful circumstances over and beyond the ordinary rules.

According as circumstances are favorable, one should modify one’s plans.

–Sun Tzu, The Art of War, Chapter I: Laying Plans, [15-17].

Again, if you are going to be a wargamer, you might as well be good it. Anything else is the slippery slope to Wargaming Hell.

What is Wargaming Hell?

It’s the perdition that many wargamers fall into when the hobby is no longer fun but they just can’t walk away.

Wargaming Hell feels like a general malaise, mixed with fits of anger at other players.

It’s a downward spiral.

Fortunately, its reversible. You can make the hobby fun again for yourself and those around you. Here’s how:

1. Paint your miniatures.
There is a social hierarchy among wargamers. At the bottom are those who play with unpainted or half-painted miniatures.

Playing with unpainted miniatures is either sign of ignorance or you really don’t care about what the hobby is meant to be.

Just by painting your figures, finishing your army, puts you above the vast unpainted hosts out there.

You don’t even have to paint them well. Just get them painted so they look decent at arm’s length.


2. Avoid gaming with players who don’t paint their miniatures.
Painting miniatures takes time and discipline, but its rewarding in its own right.

Overtime you’ll watch your painting improve. Painting miniatures will get faster, easier, more enjoyable.

Soon you’ll have a regiment or two done. Next thing you know your army is complete–what a feeling of accomplishment!

Players who don’t paint their figures have missed out on this experience. And it often shows how they behave at the tabletop.

Beware: Expect criticism. When you start painting your own miniatures, you will get all kinds of “helpful” advice–especially from those rarely lift a brush.


3. Know when to walk away.
Somebody (maybe it was Ben Franklin, maybe Einstein) said that doing the same thing over and over again and expecting the same results is insanity.

Maybe you need to walk away from another player’s BS or sour attitude.

Maybe you need to find another group of wargamers.

Maybe you need a break from the hobby for a while.

No wargaming is better than bad wargaming.

Reading The Art of Wargaming is also good start.

If you’re reading this and you feel like you’re in Wargaming Hell, then you’ve already taken a big step: it means you want to improve yourself.

If you have an acquaintance or friend whom you think is in Wargaming Hell, direct them here.

Dismiss from your company the bastards who want to drag you down.

Next on The Art of Wargaming:

5 Ways to Use Deception in Wargaming for Fun and Excitement