The Art of War – The Element of Surprise

“A military operation involves deception” – Sun Tzu

Now this is my first writing as the newest contributor to this venture, and I feel that I must start with my latest victory over the evil forces of chaos (i.e. ZomibePirateXXX). There are times in life when luck is just with you, and in my case it most certainly was when I unveiled my latest edition to our wargaming group.

My last encounter in the fantasy scene with ZombiePirateXXX involved my elves of the wood getting thoroughly dismembered by the puss sucking daemons of Nurgle. Imagine if you will, there are the elves, peacefully sitting around their camp fires drinking the freshest home-made berry wine and singing kum ba yah, when all of a sudden a fat, bloated monster and his band of puking, pox covered followers crashed the party. Now the elves as good hosts offer the wine freely, but the daemons being only interested in the several crates of well-past-their-sell-by-date dwarf XXX beer the elves had discarded, decided to trash the party. Many arrows and even more loose bowel moments later the elves were vanquished and their party ruined. The Nurgle daemons cooked the survivors and drank all the gone-off hooch.

After such a disgrace I decided I needed to redeem myself. In the past a certain gamer has pulled a number of surprise armies on me. There I’ve been all bright eye and excited to play another game of fantasy or 40K only to find that my opponent has come up with a diabolical scheme (involving a brand new army I had no knowledge of) to defeat me. Sometimes it has got smacked, but most of the time his army has given a beating to my poor troops who had come expecting a nice little gathering in which discuss the works of Plato or Cicero and found only death.

After remembering that which has been done to me on many an occasion and also the words of the Master Sun Tzu (see above), I resolved to beat my opponent at his own game.  My previous defeat had been so total that I decided to go in a different direction.  Bye bye carefree loving elves, hello something a little more scaly.  I poured through the relevant army book and planned my army.  Not knowing which god of chaos to expect the army was generic (that and it was the cheapest way to buy stuff).  Now here’s where the advice from Master Sun Tzu comes in, deception.  I didn’t tell my opponent anything about it, I didn’t even hint that a new army was in the pipeline.

I spent a full month assembling and painting the army in an effort to have it fully ready for our next engagement.  Then tried to smuggle it into his house for the game without anybody seeing it, and then came the final unveiling: SURPRISE!


The Lizardmen performed spectacularly and managed to out magic a Lord of Change and a bunch of Pink Horrors.  I felt that the elves had been well a truly revenged.  So what do we learn from this (well besides elves being pansies and that slann rock!)?

  1. War is most definitely about deception
  2. To deceive your opponent, plan well ahead, think about what you are doing
  3. Keep your mouth shut! If he finds out you’re screwed
  4. Make sure everything is painted and looking at its best for added effect
  5. Probably the most important, win or lose just enjoy the game, afterall thats what it is, some fun!