We have all been in situations where defeat seems inevitable and we simply start losing joy in the game. This is pretty normal and nobody loves losing, but its times like these when we must remember that there is a player on the other side and that it may be better to simply fight it out to the end. So I thought I would do a post on something that bugs me when I wargame. And that is the art of surrendering.
I for one hate it when, during a game of any kind, the losing team quits. Soccer, Table Tennis, Civilization and other sports or video games all come under this important rule of Sportsmanship. Can you imagine during the Rugby World Cup if the losing team leaves in the last 10 minutes of the match? Of course not. Wargaming should not be any different. It should be fought to completion when possible.
Wargames take a fair amount of effort to prepare and set up. My Imperial Guard can have upwards of 100 men for example, then you have the terrain, the list building and the list goes on. Once all this has finally been set up is when we get to the fun bit, the actual game. During the game, in most cases, one player will start winning. Sometimes it seems obvious at turn 2 and at other times its close until the end, but at the end of the day someone has to lose. If that person is you, dont throw away all the effort put into the game away to avoid suffering through that defeat. Doing this ensures that all opponents dont feel like it was a total waste of time and more importantly it lets the other player enjoy their victory.
The narrative is vastly improved when you fight to the bitter end as well. You could have 5 Space marines left and they alone are left to face off 30 Tyranids, going down in glorious combat instead of fleeing like sheep. My Guard Leader could be slain and his army in tatters, so instead of fleeing a new soldier rallies his comrades for one final charge into the overwhelming forces only to be killed to the last. Maybe that last Bonzai charge as an act of desperation can turn the tide of battle and retain the honour and glory of the soldiers regardless of the outcome Those are the defeats worth remembering, and its always up to the player on the losing side to make those defeats remembrance worthy! But sometimes, its moments like these when victory is won.
The other part to consider is there is always a chance at victory. A few games I have had this year it seemed I was winning by a landslide and I had to convince the other player to keep playing, in some of those games that player won! If he had packed it up it would have simply been a dull loss. Instead it turned into a game where the tables turned and what seemed like a miracle happened. These games are among the memorable ones that players have, but many forgo this opportunity.
More important than all the other reasons is you always have to consider the opposing player. The other player has victory in his grasp and you simply stop him from taking the full glory. Its his moment, his men have fought hard and he has lead well. Let his master plan be complete. This is sometimes a part of sportsmanship that is missed or forgotten.
In saying the above though, sometimes its perfectly reasonable to finish it up quickly and move on. I know sometimes time is of the essence and both parties may want to move on to the next game ASAP. But in general I think if you are on the losing side, its usually better to play it to the end to make sure the game ends well. I know I personally dislike it when people quit the game when they think that defeat is certain. Its a huge let down when the entire battle has lead up to the moment of one sides defeat, only for them to take it away from you.
If you certainly want to retreat, you may as well do it properly and flee the battle field off your edge of the battle field. Make the winner try kill all they can before your men make it to safety. I perosnally would be happy with this as its still a properly ended battle.
So what do you guys think? Fight to the end, or flee to fight another day?