Hold out baits to entice the enemy. Feign disorder and crush him.
If he is secure at all points, be prepared for him. If he is in superior strength, evade him.
If your opponent is of choleric temper, seek to irritate him. Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant.
If he is taking his ease, give him no rest. If his forces are united, separate them.
Attack him where his unprepared, appear where you are not expected.
This military devices, leading to victory, must not be divulged beforehand.
-Sun Tzu, The Art of War, Chapter I: Waging War, 20-25.
Remember this: there is power in remaining calm.
Wargaming can be exciting. There is a certain thrill in watching your well-painted figures march across the tabletop and engage your opponent’s forces.
While your miniature soldiers cannot feel fear, you can. And this fear can lead to anger if your opponents know how to exploit your emotions.
- Beware baits and opponents who appear to be in disorder. These are meant to pique your excitement, and make you to rash decisions. Remember the immortal words of Admiral Ackbar: “It’s a trap!”
- Beware a foe who is of lesser strength who is evading you, for he is leading you down a path to frustration. Do not engage a forces if you are not ready, no matter how tempting,
- A taunting opponent is trying to lure you into recklessness. An opponent feigning weakness wants you to attack on his terms. Keep your anger in check. Stay humble.
- Divide and conquer is the oldest method in the book to defeat an enemy. This can demoralize you beyond recovery. Keep your forces in cohesion. Stay calm even when enduring an all-out attack.
- A wise player will attack from the flank or from behind to make you panic. She will not engage your strong points.
- A humble wargamer will keep his mouth shut. Do not let his silence worrying you, stay silence as well. An arrogant wargamer brags his plans to the enemy.
It’s worth repeating: there is power in remaining calm. Once your opponent has you emotionally engaged with his plan, or demoralized, your defeat is almost certain.
As that old World War II poster says:
“Keep Calm, and Carry On.”
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