When the enemy is close at hand and remains quiet, he is relying on the natural strength of his position.

When he keeps aloof and tries to provoke a battle, he is anxious for the other side to advance.

If his place of encampment is easy of access, he is tendering bait.

–Sun Tzu, The Art of War, Chapter IX: The Army on the March, [18-20].

One of my favorite tactics is to let my opponent seize some objective on the tabletop early in the game: say a crossroads, a bridge, and the like, especially if it’s in open ground.

This means I don’t have to work to get there. I can wait, hang back. Usually the player, however, upon taking the objective has created a bulge in his battle line. That’s when I strike.

Seizing some early objective may also give the player a false sense of achievement, one that I like to blow to smithereens once I push his forces off the objective.

Beware: this tactic carries a risk. What if you can’t win the objective in time?

Many games award points for objectives taken and lost. Be certain you can snatch the objective from your opponent before the game ends.

This tactic, of course, should not be used with major objectives like your campsite. (Use it as bait, yes? Let your opponent capture it? No.)


Next on The Art of Wargaming:

How to Spot an Ambush on the Tabletop.