Now an army is exposed to six several calamities, not arising from natural causes, but from faults for which the general is responsible. These are: (1) Flight; (2) insubordination; (3) collapse; (4) ruin; (5) disorganization; (6) rout.
Other conditions being equal, if one force is hurled against another ten times its size, the result will be the flight of the former.
When the common soldiers are too strong and their officers too weak, the result is insubordination. When the officers are too strong and the common soldiers took weak, the result is collapse.
When the higher officers are angry and insubordinate, and on meeting the enemy give battle on their own account from a feeling of resentment, before the commander-in-chief can tell whether or no he is in a position to fight, the result is ruin.
–Sun Tzu, The Art of Wargaming, Chapter X: Terrain, [14-17].
Blowhard Von Blowhard reminded me of, well, me when I first started wargaming.
I had bluster. Moxie. Chutzpa.
By the time Blowhard Von Blowhard came along, The Bearded Bastard had beaten it out of me.
Yet The Bearded Bastard could not beat it out of Von Blowhard.
After my initial frustrations with Blowhard Von Blowhard, he turned out to be quite the source of entertainment. You could almost count on him hanging himself in every single game.
He’d fall for The Bearded Bastard’s most basic tactics, like outflanking. He played in rigged games, game blatantly stacked against him. But, no, he tried to win. He chased the glory. And when he when, oddly enough, he never blamed his opponent, but the rules—or anybody unfortunate enough to be on his side.
I remember the first time he called me “traitor” for not advancing my late 19th century British infantry fast enough to secure a Wadi in the middle of the desert. It didn’t matter that The Bearded Bastard had hidden angry Bedouins in the nearby dunes. And it didn’t matter my regiments died to the last man, overwhelmed when the Bedouins made their appearance and charged, so that Von Blowhard’s forces could reach the Wadi. I was a traitor.
Another time he called me a traitor for disobeying he orders. He was playing the C-in-C in a Napoleonic battle. “If you disobeyed orders like that real life, you’d be shot!” Figuring my own commander had nothing to lose at that point, I attached him to a regiment and attacked the C-in-C, stealing his colors and capturing him outright.
Even The Bearded Bastard (who was trouncing us) laughed at this, so did all of the other players. Von Blowhard actually stopped blathering about politics for a few minutes as his face turned red.
I don’t know if Von Blowhard as ever forgiven me for that…
But I got some of my moxie back.
Next on The Art of Wargaming:
The Six Calamities of Blowhard Von Blowhard, Part 2.