On dispersive ground, therefore, fight not. On facile ground, halt not. On contentious ground, attack not.

On open ground, do not try to block the enemy’s way. On the ground of intersecting highways, join hands with your allies.

On serious ground, gather in plunder. In difficult ground, keep steadily on the march.

On hemmed-in ground, resort to stratagem. On desperate ground, fight.

–Sun Tzu, The Art of War, Chapter XI: The Nine Situations, [11-14].

There is no reason to dispute rules in the privacy of your own on home (facile ground). Treat your guests kindly.

When gaming at a friend’s house (facile ground), keep the game moving.

When occupying the “best” side of the gaming table, or the best gaming space (contentious ground), do not be aggressive, lest gain the reputation of being an aggressor among your gamer circles, and thus alliances may form against you.

Do not prevent or hinder your opponent from moving around the table to reach his miniatures (open ground), lest you be seen as an aggressive jerk, and thus alliances may form against you.

When playing at your favorite local gaming store, convention, or other public venue (ground of intersecting highways), there is strength in numbers. Join with your fellow wargamers to occupy the space before other groups do.

When playing at an unfamiliar local gaming store, convention, or other public venue (serious ground), occupy the gaming space early and secure the location. Again, there is strength in numbers.

If you are going to play in cramped surroundings (difficult ground), keep the game moving.

If the venue can only be reached by a narrow or a path filled with obstacles (hemmed in ground), either don’t play, or figure out a plan to get your miniatures to and from the location.

On desperate ground, when actual fighting might take place, either leave with all due haste or use all of what you know about The Art of War to keep your miniatures safe.

Next on The Art of Wargaming:

How to Master a New Set of Rules.