Friday, March 12, 2021

Friday Fun: A wargamer is born

So where have I been these last few days?  I'll get to that down the road.  For now, allow me to congratulate our youngest.   I wrote that we had wrapped up the old Empires in Arms game months back.  That was when the Covid pandemic and the lockdowns and all where just taking off.  

My sons, who were on the verge of stepping out on their own, getting their apartments and moving on campus, decided to pull the plug on those plans.  After all, why spend extra money to live in a dorm that you are locked up in and unable to go out?

With them being around home, they decided to dust off some of the games  they had wanted to play, or had played and enjoyed.  Many fall into that category (and I may post on some of those we discovered over the last year).  Even as things loosen up and they're beginning to reformulate their plans, having gotten through a sizeable portion of their schooling sans debt, they still have time at home until they get things together to move on.  So they decided to have another go at that all time grand epic Napoleonic wargame against which all Napoleonic wargames are measured.

This time, however, they decided to let their youngest on board.  At eleven, he's been playing 'grown up' games with the boys and the family for years.  True, he almost always looses, which sometimes we fear can be demoralizing.  But he's always in there trying. A few times, such as playing Twilight Imperium (with the brothers) or Catan (with the whole family), he's come dangerously close to winning.  Now and then he has won with games like Monopoly or Poker.  Not bad for a ten or eleven year old against three or more adults - who generally don't pull too many punches.

Since he can hold his own, the brothers decided to bring him into the game of games.  It was decided to play through an introductory scenario, one based on Napoleon's grand victory at Austerlitz.  Ol'Dad sat with him, explaining the nuts and bolts, knowing a fair amount of it was either over the head or in one ear and out the other.  Nonetheless, when his next older brother (our resident game fanatic) moved to attack his force located in Lombardy, I offered suggestions, but left the final tactical decisions up to him.  

And viola!  His brother, who wins more often than not  because he fully invests himself in anything he ever ventures into (he's very, very competitive) - lost.  Despite having the esteemed Archduke Charles, whose game stats are second only to Napoleon's, and despite having a superior force of over 60,000 to my youngest's 40,000+, his forces broke after only two rounds of combat, and suffered significant losses.  He later explained that he didn't put much thought into the tactics of the battle because he didn't want to beat his younger brother too badly.  I told him mission accomplished. 

So this will be fun. I have no doubt it will be tough for the wee one, but in a game that puts diplomacy at the forefront, it's easier to guide him along without it seeming like we're playing the game for him.  I also know it will take him a bit of time to lock down all the rules.  Heck, we're still learning and finding out we've done it wrong here or there.  But it will get him to think.  He'll learn, as you often did playing those old wargame miracles from Avalon Hill, or reading the accompanying Osprey publications for wargamers everywhere. 

That's the important news right now.  Heh.  As for whatever else I have going on and why I haven't blogged much, I'll get to that.  But when you have a kid eager to play games from a lost age that may help him learn about what was lost, that does take priority.  Especially when, as homeschoolers, we can use this as the basis for lesson plans.  The joy of homeschooling. 

In hindsight, Charles might want to think twice


  1. It's probably for the mercy of your wallet that your boys never got into magic:the gathering. Though from some of these stories I bet the 4 of them could play a hoot of a mtg-commander match.

    1. I know of it, but they've never gone in that direction. I generally have my hands full keeping up with what we do have.

  2. Replies
    1. Us too. We have amassed quite a collection over the years.


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