Reduce the hostile chiefs by inflicting damage on them; and make trouble for them, and keep them constantly engage; hold out specious allurements, and make them rush to any given point.

The art of war teaches us to rely not on the likelihood of the enemy’s not coming, but on our own readiness to receive him; not on the chance of his not attacking, but rather on the fact that we have made our position unassailable.

–Sun Tzu, The Art of War, Chapter VIII: Variation in Tactics, [10-11]

By taking a temporary hiatus from actually playing wargames, The Bearded Bastard could not defeat me. In the meantime, I observed him.

I watched how he placed terrain, how he deployed his miniatures for battle. Much of this I could not see before as a player because I was too busy setting up my own forces.

I took note how aggressive he played. In most games, he had engaged his opponents by the end of the first turn. All who played against him played defensively, worried about getting trounced if they advanced. Because of this, The Bearded Bastard could attack when and where at his own choosing.

Sometimes I served as an impartial moderator during disputes over the rules, and I discovered that The Bearded Bastard didn’t know certain rule sets as well as had I previously thought. But he still knew them more than the average player.

After view sessions of this, I started playing again: but not against The Bearded Bastard right away. I wasn’t quite ready. I wanted to try some of his strategies first against other players…

Next on The Art of Wargaming:

The Sixth Fault.