Seth Owen

Seth Owen

Guest Writer

Block Wargame Strategic Principles: Patience

A common player mistake in block wargames is expecting quick results. In a hex-and-counter game you often can use high movement allowance to cleverly gather forces from far afield to launch an unexpected attack. You roll on the CRT and get a result, hopefully a decisive one, if you planned correctly. Immediate feedback results either way.

Block wargame offensives typically require considerable preparation. Movement rates are comparatively slow. You can’t be certain of the opposing force’s strength. And it may very well take several rounds of fighting, possibly spread over more than one turn (bringing the possibility of outside interventions) to get a result. Like a real general, careful planning is key. You can’t just throw something at the wall and see what sticks. You may get stuck yourself.

This need to understand the unusual pacing of operations in block wargames often throws players off and contributes to the common perception that these games favor the defender and tend to bog down into stalemates. Generally this is due to the offensive player making inadequate preparations for his offensive, so in this way the game does favor the defender. This is appropriate, as Von Clausewitz noted the defense is the stronger form of warfare. But block game attackers still have the inherent advantage of all attackers of the initiative and being able to choose the place and time of battle. Patience allows you to exploit those advantages.

(to be continued)