Frustration as a Weapon

FrustrationAltanakaCan real command issues be a fun game? Are they compatible?


Conventional wargame wisdom is no. Real command is boring, dull and frustrating.   A game has to be fun. To be fun, it must be instant. No delay. No frustration. No unknowns. Must be complete knowledge and complete power and control.


Some of these ideas are changing. Columbia broke a lot of ground in this area.


This is what surprised me about Kriegspiel. It’s more like real command. It is boring, dull and frustrating? My experience was quite the opposite. It was very exciting and interesting. It can be frustrating. Frustration can = tension and fun in a game.


I think maybe there is more frustration at first. I can’t just move my pieces. I have to write orders first and then wait until they receive it. There is the delay. You have to start thinking ahead and planning for this. It’s not bad but it does run contrary to our instant gratification culture today. I can’t wait that long! I want an answer now! I want to move the piece myself and know what happened immediately. I can’t wait a whole turn to find out!


With a little practice, you adjust to it. Then it’s not frustrating. After a little more practice, then you start thinking…..


Hmmmmmm…….   They do this. I have to see it. Write orders. Delay. Then reaction. There is a lag. I move. Delay. They react. They move. Delay. I react. Let’s look a step further. Could we use this as a weapon? You betcha! People like Alexander, Hannibal, Napoleon, Jackson, Patton and Guderian were experts at it. Let’s think a couple moves ahead here. Much like Chess.


If we move like this, what will the enemy do?  They will likely react like that. Except there will be a 2 turn delay. Guess what? Now you know the future. You know where the enemy will be in 2 turns. You also know where he will not be, even before he does. Is that useful information? Can I get a ‘Heck Yeah!’?


If you know this ahead of time, you don’t have to wait until the enemy reacts, then delay while you send your next batch of orders. Send the orders now!! Then there will be NO delay. At least not for you. Assuming all goes well and you plan and time this right, the sequence will now be:


  1. You order.
  2. Delay.
  3. You move.
  4. Enemy orders to react.
  5. Delay.
  6. Enemy moves to react.
  7. You move.
  8. Enemy orders to react.
  9. You move.
  10. Enemy orders to react.
  11. You move.
  12. Game over.

This is called seizing the initiative. Keeping the momentum. Patton described this as rocking the enemy back on his heels by a good hard shove. Once he is off balance, it only takes repeated light shoves to keep him there, while you steadily advance.


The enemy is always off balance. Always in an awkward position. They never catch their breath. You are always 1 step ahead.



Does that sound frustrating, dull and boring? Dishing it out or being on the receiving end of this, it sounds like a pretty exciting and fun game to me.

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