To see victory only when it is within the ken of the common herd is not the acme of excellence. Neither it is the acme of excellence if you fight and the whole Empire says, “Well done!”

To lift an autumn hair is no sign of great strength; to see the sun and moon is no sign of sharp sight; to hear the noise of thunder is no sign of a quick ear.

What the ancients called a clever fighter is one who not only wins, but excels in winning with ease. Hence his victories bring him neither reputation for wisdom nor credit for courage.

–Sun Tzu, The Art of War, Chapter 4: “Tactical Dispositions,” [8-12].

It’s one thing to make a victory look easy; it’s quite another to seek out easy victories.

Yes, you can crush a newbie wargamer with your armies time and again, perhaps even feel good about it. But it won’t last long. Either you’ll drive the newbie away or you’ll get bored.

Yes, you can seek out opponents who have little grasp of strategy, tactics, or the rules of the game, knowing you’ll win. Yet will you have a true feeling of accomplishment when you win?

Yes, you can build and army to its optimum potential with a nigh-invincible unit or leader within its ranks–but should you? Is that what you want to be known for?

And do you know what the worst part is when it comes to easy victories?

If you lose.

Next on The Art of Wargaming: “Why Deployment is Half the Battle.”