The principle of which to manage an army is to set up one standard of courage which all must reach. How to make the best of both strong and week—that is a question involving the proper use of ground. Thus, the skillful general conducts his army just as though he were leading a single man, willy-nilly, by the hand.
It is the business of a general to quiet and thus ensure secrecy; upright and just, and thus maintain order. He must be able to mystify his officers and men by false reports and appearances, and thus keep them in total ignorance.
By altering his arrangements and changing his plans, he keep the enemy without definite knowledge. By shifting his camp and taking circuitous routes, he prevents the enemy from anticipating his purpose.
–Sun Tzu, The Art of War, Chapter XI: The Nine Situations, [32-37].
The Bearded Bastard had a presence, but he was hard to read.
Maybe it was the beard which covered up his facial expressions. Or maybe we were all playing against some automaton or simulacrum for years. Until I beat him, little seemed to faze him during the game.
So how does one fight like The Bearded Bastard?
Practice your poker face. At most, give out a sense of mild amusement. This will make your opponents wonder what you are thinking. You become a mystery.
I’m terrible at this. I often wear my emotions on my sleeve. So I play on being unpredictable, changing my plans and the like.
In multiplayer games, The Bearded Bastard was often the C-in-C for one side. Unlike Blowhard Von Bloward, he said very little, aside from giving us an overall objective.
Never say anything more than necessary to get your point across.
Next on The Art of Wargaming:
Do You Suffer from New Army Syndrome (NAS)?