The skillful tactician may be likened to the shuai-jan. Now the shuai-jan is a snake that is found the Ch’ang mountains. Strike at its head, and you will be attacked by its tail; strike at its tail, and you will be attacked by its head; strike at its middle, and you will be attacked by head and tail both.

If asked if an army can be made to imitate the shuai-jan, I should answer, yes. For the men of Wu and the men of Yueh are enemies; yet if they are crossing a river in the same boat and are caught by a storm, they will come to each other’s assistance just as the left hand helps the right.

Hence it is not enough to put one’s trust in the tethering of horses, and the burying chariot wheels in the ground.

–Sun Tzu, The Art of War, Chapter XI: The Nine Situations, [30-31].

Your reputation among your wargamer friends and acquaintances is of utmost importance.

Having a good reputation means being able to put up a decent fight. It means casting doubt into your opponent’s plans because he has a hard time anticipating your tactics.

Your reputation becomes even more valuable in multiplayer games where your allied players must rely on you for victory.

Nobody respects a push-over, somebody who cheats, or who is willfully incompetent.

You never know when your might need your opponent’s help.

And that goes for in wargaming and away from the tabletop.

Next on The Art of Wargaming:

Fight Like The Bearded Bastard.