Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Do Not Give Up On The Game

In a recent podcast on the Veteran Wargamer, one of my favorite podcasts, the discussion came up on gamer etiquette. An important subject for both club and convention games.

Now I have taken part in several lost causes over the years, my favorite was portraying General Reynolds at Gettysburg holding up in town waiting on the arrival of the rest of the Army of the Potomac. Festung-Gettysburg. Troops on both sides were brittle after a day of heavy combat but General Meade did not know this and decided to cut his losses and refuse battle, with my troops escaping to the east with the coming of night fall, I so wanted to lay a dope slap on the rest of the Union forces. But the group I was playing with saw no reason to continue the fight. As this happened over 20 years ago I guess it left a mark.

The best example, in a good way, for me was a HMGS game back in 2012 where Mark Kinsey and I were running an IABSM engagement on the Golan just before the IDF counter attack was to get underway. One one side was a single Centurion (and LtC Yossi Amir), a couple of jeeps and a couple of rump platoons of Super Shermans. Not alot. On the Syrian side was 30 T-55s and a company of BTR mounted infantry. The Syrians made short work of the Super Shermans but they and the jeeps delayed and disrupted the Syrians allowing the Centurion with its Ace Tanker to take out the T-55s one at a time. If he saw them, he could kill them.

Now the Syrians were played by a gamer my age, read old, and a young man looking to play a game. Half way in, the more mature gamer threw up his hands and said in no uncertain terms that the game was unwinnable and quit.

Now Mark and I played it through many times both historical and as games, we know our audience. We played the IDF because in many play tests the IDF was down to only a single tank by the end of the game and that we thought would be demoralizing.

Our Hero

So Mark and I did the only thing we could, I became Syrian, and explained how to use realistic bounding tactics to obtain some cover but was eventually able to break the IDF tank the hill position and win the game. Also Mark did concentrate on destroying the tanks I was moving. But the win belonged to the young man with no name.

In the last hour of the game we had a nice crowd, including the boys father, and others cheering him on. It was my best convention experience. Only wish I could of shared that with the man who dropped out.

I would like to think we helped win over a historical gamer. I think so. So yes, do not give up the game.


  1. This reminds me of an episode from the '90s.

    I was playing 2nd edition Warhammer 40,000 with my Tyranids (aliens like in the movie “Aliens”) vs. an Eldar (think Space Elves) force. The Eldar player had a brand new Warp Spider unit he was awfully proud of. At the time, Warp Spiders could warp into an area, shoot with a vicious, but short-ranged attack, and then warp out after shooting.

    Well, he warped in front of my prime hand-to-to hand combat unit, the Genestealers, shot, didn’t hit any of my guys and then stayed there, easily within charge range of my Genestealers.

    He finished his shooting, did his psychic phase and declared he was done with his turn.

    “Are you sure?” I asked.

    He replied in the affirmative.

    My turn. I declared charges. “The Genestealers charge into the Warp Spiders.”

    His jaw dropped.

    The Genestealers, being basically Cuisinarts on legs, did what they do best. After the slaughter was complete, he lost interest in the game and sulked for the rest of the evening.

  2. I'd be the opposite of the older gamer, stick with the game through sheer-bloody-mindedness and make it my personal goal to destroy the Centurion. Laughing off my bad dice rolls, cheering on the (IDF) good dice rolls and would become absorbed in just how much it would take to win the game - if I was able to.
    Then if there was time for a second game I'd ask to play again and attempt to do better. Working as a team with other players, and with the game organisers explain where I went wrong in the first game (if needed).

    1. Thank you Roy, love to play a game with you. Great spirit.