We cannot enter into alliances until we are acquainted with the designs of our neighbors.
We are not fit to lead an army on the march unless we are familiar with the face of the country–its mountains and forests, its pitfalls and precipices, its marshes and swamps.
We shall be unable to turn natural advantage to account unless we make use of local guides.
–Sun Tzu, The Art of War, Chapter VII: Maneuvering, [12-14].
In wargaming, you have the terrain of the tabletop, and then you have the physical environment around you.
When I first started wargaming, I rarely played at my local gaming store. The place was cramped. The roleplayers, the wargamers, and the collectible card players butted heads over the tables.
On game nights, it was hard to maneuver without bumping into somebody else.
Some gamers don’t mind that kind of environment, but I do.
And I didn’t trust the clientele.
Some gamers did. I’d see entire miniature collections left on a table, with nobody around.
But I’d also heard plenty of stories of theft. (It only takes a couple twits to ruin it for the rest of us).
Overtime, the store expanded, and a separate gaming room became available.
Even so, I rarely gamed there unless the place wasn’t busy, and I was with somebody I could trust.
While the odds of theft are fairly low at most gaming stores, it still helps to have a friend with you.
See, even if your friend crushes you in a game, you can still leave you stuff at the the table while you head to the restroom to cry…
Now I play at my FLGS far more often. I trust the owners and the clientele there. It makes a big difference. You can concentrate on the game without being concerned your stuff might walk off.
We’ll discuss more about the physical environment in Chapters 9 and 10.
Next on The Art of Wargaming: How the Bearded Bastard Crushed His Opponents [Part 4].