Throw your soldiers into positions whence there is no escape, and they will prefer death to flight. If they will face death, there is nothing they may not achieve. Officers and men alike will put forth their uttermost strength.

Soldiers when in desperate straits lose the sense of fear. If there is no place of refuge, they will stand firm. If they are hostile country, they will show a stubborn front. If there is no help for it, they will fight hard.

Thus, without waiting to be marshalled, the soldiers will be constantly on the qui vive; without waiting to be asked, they will do your will; without restrictions, they will be faithful; without giving orders, they can be trusted.

–Sun Tzu, The Art of War, Chapter XI: The Nine Situations, [23-25].

Have you noticed some of the best games played are between the quietest players?

And some of the worst games have the loudest players, players who are losing and yet cannot admit defeat?

Once you deploy your armies and roll dice, it’s game on.  Some wargamers don’t realize that. Or they underestimate their opponent.

How do you feel when the game turns against you? What do you do?

Complain and gripe about it? Get angry?

Or does a calmness come over you and, perhaps weirdly enough, your head clears and you can actually think logically about the situation? And what’s even more weird: luck seems to turn in your favor.

Try This: Play against a superior opponent. You opponent can either have superior skills or a larger/better army.

Gauge your emotions during the game. How do you feel at the beginning? The middle? And the End?

Can you tell what your opponent is feeling? Is he arrogant for face what appears to be a weaker opponent?

Remember: your opponent has more to lose than you do. May this give you confidence.

Next on The Art of Wargaming:

Fight Without Fear.