Wednesday, November 12, 2014

What Happens When Your Wife Beats You at Wargaming...



Wargamers are a rare breed.    Even rarer than a wargamer however, is the gamer's spouse or girlfriend or daughter who joins in the revelry.  For a hobby that is probably 97% male, I've met a few guys here and there whose spouses or girlfriends actually game with them.

Recently my wife and I embarked on a mission to get ourselves back into better shape and the other night she returned home from work suggesting we hit the pavement and go for a run.  It was chilly outside and I could tell her heart wasn't really in it so I made a suggestion:

We play a fast wargame and the winner determines if we run or not.  If my wife won, we would run 3 miles.  If I won, we'd go pick up our daughter from day care and go on with our evening.  The game I chose for her was a lighthearted, fun game: Bolt Action. (you can read about Bolt Action here)


Bolt Action is a skirmish level game where you move squads of troops around the battlefield.  I thought this would be a perfect way to get out of running and indulge in my favorite past time.  Disregarding my wife's competitive spirit, I explained to her about the orders, moving, and shooting and asked her who she wanted to be.  My wife chose the Soviets.  2 "nicely painted" squads bristling with submachine guns (SMGs), rifles and bayonets, Light Machine Guns (LMGs), and revolutionary fervor faced off against my nimble Germans armed with 98k bolt action rifles, an LMG or two, and some prayers...

"Which squad is the one with the better guns???" she asked with eyes wide in anticipation of shooting.  "This one, your submachine gun squad, dear" I added. (normal couples with zero wargamers in the house simply don't have conversations like this).

My wife moved her squads with the self-assurance of a Sergeant Steiner from "Cross of Iron," selecting terrain that would cover her infantry during the advance.
My wife's SMG squad in cover.

Nicely painted Soviets with an orders die!

My poor, poor Germans...
I moved my squads up to capture a bombed-out concrete and stone building thinking I'd let her try and attack me after seizing it.  Only problem?  My characteristic luck of constantly drawing her orders dice.  The result was she moved first almost all the time and took the building I had been eyeing up.  She quickly realized the importance of her Squad's Light Machine Gun (a DP if you must know) and that her riflemen were fodder to make way for her sub-machine gunners.
Moving my Germans up through the wheatfield.  You can see the wife's troops comfortably taking up positions in the buildings in the foreground...

When she took the building, she immediately pointed out that she could both see, and hit my troops in the wheat-field in front of the building.  I bit down hard and acknowledged her observations as she started counting her firing dice.  One, Two, Three....Nine, Ten, Eleven.  The dice were rolled and my troops fell, one after the other and she helped me drop them with glee (she couldn't roll a 6 though, thankfully - so I got to pick the casualties at least).  My German command squad was knocked out and I'm horrified to admit she caught my rifle squad in the open and mowed many of them down as well next turn.

I get HOW many dice??  The Mrs rolling for her SMG squad's fire.  Twelve dice later!

One German squad toast!  The red die is a pin marker.  The first of many.

The last act of this family tragedy?  Bolt Action's elegant and none-too-subtle "surprise charge" rules where troops under 6 inches can launch an assault entering into hand to hand combat without the defenders being able to fire at the attackers.  My wife sent her crazed, rifle-armed reds into the fray against a pinned German squad on the road.  The result?  Let's just say if we hadn't run out of time, I would have been eating 3 miles of pavement for dinner.
Command Squad - yeah they would be wiped out next

My wife's Soviets in the building.

More of my wife's Soviets peeking around the corner of a destroyed house

My troops caught in the open!


German Platoon Leader KO...

26 comments:

  1. Yes Sir... if wives played wargames more often, us guys would have much worse Win/Loss records. Good on you for dragging her down the rabbit hole for a bit!

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    1. I agree, Ski. It was actually alot of fun playing against her.

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  2. A very entertaining read! Did you get out of going for a run anyway? I'd call that a win-win!

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    1. Thank you, Paul - I did get out of running but she made me go today haha. She's patient!

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  3. I suppose you married "the more intelligent sort of girl who likes boys' books and games"

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    1. Yes Mikko, and incredibly competitive!

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  4. Great post! You owe her three miles and a cup of tea in bed I think :-D

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    1. Thank you, Paul. My wife read your comment and agreed :)

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  5. Weeeeeell, my wife regularly beats me at wargaming. She's rather more aggressive than I.

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    1. Funny how that works, John. My wife was primarily interested in getting to the shooting and the close combat....

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  6. Great Steve! If you can't beat her...make her your best ally!

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    1. Grazie, Marco! That's a great idea!

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  7. my son consistently beats me and hes nine! And I don't let him win anymore!

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    1. IH,
      I hope when my daughter is 9 she will at least be a little interested in gaming. You're a lucky man!

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  8. Bravo to Mrs Sound Officers Call! I've managed to drag my wife to acouple of shows but not to play a game yet. I must come up with similar cunning plan!

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    1. Mark,
      I think secretly she did not want to go for a run and throwing dice seemed to be a better alternative. If you have something riding on on the outcome, your Mrs may want to try it. Here I was thinking I would "go easy on her" and she thrashed me!

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  9. Great post Steven. It strikes a blow against opponents of women in the teeth military arms!

    Bravo Zulu!

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    1. Thanks Paul,
      She handled her battle plan like a real pro with fire and maneuver. Could have been an infantry officer I was fighting against!

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  10. Awesome guys, looks like you had fun to me, cool minis too

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    1. Thanks, Al! It was a blast - she's already asking to play Bolt Action again!

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    1. Thanks Itinerant - it was alot of fun.

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  12. Great game Steve and excellent pics. My wife beat me in a game of Rapid Fire about 14 years ago.

    She 's only recently stopped reminding me about it ;)

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    1. Thank you, Duc. My wife is already looking to play another game - this time with tanks! Her ambition has no bounds!!!

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  13. Nice AAR and pics. Very impressive getting you wife to play BA. I'm inspired to paint my Chindits.

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    1. I think she'd always been wondering what all the fuss was about. And it got me to run 3 miles the following day!

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