Saturday, February 28, 2009

Light Airline Reading

So as some of you know I flew out to PA this week for a job interview. I AGONIZED over what to bring on the plane to read. I finally decided to get a book out of my collection that I had only half finished. The book is Strategy, by B.H. Liddell Hart. I then proceeded to finish the section I was on (Napoleonic Wars) and skip WWI for now to get to WWII (my not-so-secret love affair where history is concerned). I was TOTALLY blown away.

This guy is amazing in his analysis of strategy and its application to the battlefield. He even takes a chapter and sums it up. The whole time, I'm thinking about ASL (and other wargames I've played, but mostly ASL) and how all of this applies perfectly...For example.

The points he makes in Chapter 20 (his summary) are as follows:

1.) Adjust your end to your means
2.) Keep your object always in mind
3.) Choose the line (or course) of least expectation
4.) Exploit the line of least resistance
5.) Take a line of operation which offers alternate objectives
6.) Ensure that both plan and dispositions are flexible - adaptable to circumstances

7.) Do not throw your weight into a stroke whilst your opponent is on guard
8.) Do not renew an attack along the same line (or in the same form) after it has once failed

Now, several of these have more applicability to a campaign game (simply because it is longer and usually has a larger field of operation with more objectives, however, even longer (non-tournament-sized) scenarios can benefit from these suggestions (eg. the 8 turn scenarios in the modules themselves). Not to mention the possibilities for games that actually offer operational strategy gaming (like MMP's OCS and RCS series or the GMT games). Admittedly there are some "gamey" things you need to consider to stay within the prescribed rules, but it certainly give the player some broad guidelines for good strategy. I was VERY impressed.

I highly recommend giving this book a read if you are at all interested in military history. You'll be glad you did.

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