Sun Tzu said: In war, the general receives his commands from the sovereign, collects his army and concentrates his forces.

When in difficult country, do not encamp. In country where high roads intersect, join hands with your allies. Do not linger in dangerously isolated positions. In hemmed-in situations, you must resort to stratagem. In desperate positions, you must fight.

There are roads which must not be followed, armies which must be not attacked, towns which must not be besieged, positions which must not be contested, commands of the sovereign which not be obeyed.

–Sun Tzu, The Art of War, Chapter VIII: Variation in Tactics, [1-3].

As stated near the beginning of The Art of Wargaming: “No wargaming is better than lousy wargaming.”

If you’ve been gaming long enough, there will come a point where you need to take a break, make other plans.

There came a low point in my wargaming hobby: it stopped being fun. I had no impetus to collect and paint miniatures. I lost my drive to play wargames even with other players besides The Bearded Bastard.

This was sometime after the Turning Point, where I’d (through luck and happenstance) won a single game against The Bearded Bastard. A string of defeats followed.

I was tired of losing. I was tired watching my fellow gamers repeat the same behaviors, make the same mistakes. I was tired of The Bearded Bastard dominating our discussions but no progress would be made.

So, one day, a friend asked me: “Are you coming to the game this week?”

“No,” I said.

“Do you have other plans?”

“Not really. I just don’t feel like going.”

“Why? Is something wrong?” I understood his concern. I’d been a regular. You could have counted on me to attend most wargames.

“No. Nothing’s wrong.”

“Then you should be there. Come’on. It’s not like you have anything better to do.”

A little ping went off in the back of my brain: “Maybe I’d rather do nothing, than put up with The Bearded Bastard always winning and the shenanigans from certain other players.”

I think he saw my point.

I didn’t go that week. Or the week after. Or the week after that. I found other stuff to do, or I did nothing.

And it was wonderful.

Next on The Art of Wargaming:

Watching and Waiting, Part 1