Monday, March 22, 2021

It starts

As things look at the start of the fun

I mentioned last week that my youngest son, at the behest of his three older brothers, has thrown his cap into the ring with Empires in Arms, the Napoleonic wargame against which all Napoleonic wargames are measured.

At a tender age of eleven, he has been playing big boy games with the big boys for years - almost always losing.  Almost, that is.  He's had his moments of sheer brilliance.  We don't let him win, for what it's worth.  If for no other reason than when we're playing against each other, going easy on him might be  to the advantage of one of the other competitors.  And my sons are mighty competitive.

Still, we will 'pull punches', especially in games where that subjective world of diplomacy exists.  We try not to take advantage of him.   When it comes to more tactical or strategic planning, we'll usually try to be objective and give him some pointers, but we leave final planning and choices to him.  When it comes to parts of games that boil down to pure luck, then it's on him. 

With that said, he's already shown promise.  The boys had Saturday off and just wrapped up a week in exams.  Therefore they decided that some point this weekend was as good a time as any to begin the next big campaign game.  In the first turn (one month game time), when it's usually a bunch of players grabbing what they can without much pushback, he quickly grasped the benefit of playing the very complex and difficult country of Turkey.  First, as long as he holds Constantinople, he controls the Dardanelles. It took him no time to threaten the two main countries that fact impacts with severing the important trade lanes: England and Russia.  That's me and my second oldest respectfully.

Second, he quickly made an alliance with France (our oldest).  Finally, when our third oldest, playing Spain, decided to expand into Morocco - which is something we've never objected to no matter who plays Spain - our youngest stepped in and backed Morocco.  That threw his generally aggressive older brother for quite the loop.  Something that typically is a formality could now drag down several turns to reap the benefits.  

So not bad.  He has a lot to learn.  Heck, with these games you never stop learning.  This is our fourth game out and we're still figuring out the rules.  But for a kid still properly in elementary school, quickly seizing on the advantages of controlling trade and shipping into the Black Sea and using it for diplomatic leverage, while hitting us where after years of playing we're not expecting it, isn't bad.  Thus far, his brothers have been impressed. 

Our youngest intensely plotting his next curve ball

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