At the critical moment, the leader of an army acts like one who has climbed up a height and then kicks away the ladder behind him. He carries his men deep into hostile territory before he shows his hand. He burns his boats and breaks his cooking-pots; like a shepherd driving a flock of sheep, he drives his men this way and that, and nothing knows whither he is going.

To muster his host and bring it into danger—this may be termed the business of general.

–Sun Tzu, The Art of War, Chapter XI: The Nine Situations, [38-40].

Some wargamers are always mustering.

They never quit finish putting together the armies they’ve begun. They keep adding more miniatures to the army they’ve got. Or they go from one half-painted, half-assembled army to the next. They almost can’t help themselves.

If you have any of these symptoms then you might be suffering from New Army Syndrome.

I don’t fault you, and nobody else should either.

These days the amount of “cool stuff” for wargames released each month is staggering. And the marketing campaigns and advertisements are hard to resist. And the sales.

Especially the sales.

There’s always another game out there, old or new, lurking to distract you. I’ve fallen into that trap. I still fall into it from time to time, and I know gamers who never get out of the trap.

Sometimes, though, you end up painting army that just doesn’t fit your gaming style. In many of the popular wargames, each army has its own “shtick.” Some are good at offense. Others defense. Some are good at hit-and-run. Maybe you’ve starting painting up an army that’s good at defense but you’d like more of hit-and-run. Mistakes happen.

Because of this, you might start another army to correct the mistake.

Yet there will come a time, after you’ve fallen deep enough into the trap, when you realize you don’t have any completed armies.

Is quite sobering, really. It’s not a fun place to be, if you’re like me.

Next on The Art of Wargaming:

Dealing with Non-Wargamers