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"Does Any one play Charge! anymore?" Topic


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694 hits since 26 Oct 2017
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Andy Old Glory UK27 Oct 2017 12:30 a.m. PST

IN the topic Charge by Peter Young a poster asked – does anyone play Charge anymore?
Well yes- sort of. Aside from a couple of Charge players I know of and there must be others I have recently decided to use the book for my own "retro-wargaming" project which I christened "shinyloo" (Thats like Waterloo only shinier) See my blog Glorious Little Soldiers under the heading shinyloo and also my article published in the current Miniature Wargames magazine.
Now I'm not really an "old school" wargamer…. or am I ? as always it depend on what you mean by old school. Certainly over the last couple of years I have , for some periods, reverted to older rules as a reaction to the masses of lightweight drivel that is coming on to the market claiming to be as wargames rules. Such tripe as Lion Rampant and Pikemans Lament make my historical soul shrivel sofor some periods and games I have revertee to Featherstone and Young.
However , for me, it is also about the retro look of the game hence shinyloo with Stadden and Minot 30mm figures though I am starting to think about expanding the idea into other campaigns- maybe 1809 with Austrians and Bavarians in the same style…. not started yet bu thinking about it. and yes I'll try "Charge" for that too.

steamingdave4727 Oct 2017 2:17 a.m. PST

Andy, think you should be on " Grumpy Old Man" board !
Have you actually played Pikeman's Lament? It is no less "historical" than "Charge" I cut my wargaming teeth on Charge nearly 50 years ago and still have a copy in my library. It's a great fun game, but think about the firing and melee mechanisms. Bears no relationship to the realities of late 18th century warfare. In one move, if your opponent is lucky with the dice, you can lose 25% or more of a unit; that would have been a very rare event in a real battle. When I was actively playing Charge, our units were largely imaginary, indeed the author positively encouraged that.
When I wargame I want to have some relaxation and fun. Sometimes I have to bend history a bit- I have fought Austerlitz and Leipzig with the same Russian figures-historically a crime?
OK, Pikeman's Lament may be dismissed as " beer and pretzels" by "serious wargamers", but I reckon the rules they claim as being "historically sound" would not stand up to much scrutiny and they probably do not have as much fun as those of us who are a bit more open- minded.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP27 Oct 2017 2:49 a.m. PST

I seek out Charge games at conventions, and sometimes put on one myself. It's a favorite system for tactical horse & musket.

Steaming Dave, you might want to consider something else about those high casualties. I used to spend time trying to find out the number of men still in formation when a battalion left contact and comparing that with official casualties. It kept working out that for every man killed or wounded, someone else had left the formation--helping a wounded comrade to the rear, "knocked loose" in the confusion, or whatever. Suddenly CLS's 50% "combat effectiveness" breakpoint exactly matched the rule of thumb that a good unit would stay until it lost 25% killed and wounded. And of course, we play perhaps 12 turns where a division might fight for an hour or more. Having a unit at effective musketry ranges lose much of its fighting strength before you can do anything about it doesn't strike me as unreasonable.

I don't say Charge! is the One True System, but I can think of some a lot longer whose results are no more probable.

steamingdave4727 Oct 2017 4:04 a.m. PST

Robert, I like Charge, enjoyed playing it for many years and used it as the basis for home-grown sets of rules for both SYW and Napoleonics. I do have an ambition to build 28mm Charge armies again, although with the three score years and ten having been passed, I need to get on with it!

The point of my post was, I suppose, a defence of rules like Pikeman's Lament, which are not " historically pure" but which can give an enjoyable game. To descibe them as " tripe" is, IMHO, unfair. The authors set out to achieve a particular aim and, for many of us, they succeeded. Anyone who does not like the concept does not have to play the game. There are many options out there; after all, there are some people who enjoy DBA😇
Any rule set is always going to be a compromise between the holy grail of historical accuracy and playability. We willing accept the discrepancies betwen the vertical scale of our figures and buildings and the horizontal scale of our battlefields. Many war gamers are willing to represent a battalion of 500 men, or even a division of several thousand, by a dozen or so figures, preferring the aesthetics of 28mm or 15mm figures to those of 2mm, even though the latter might give a more "accurate" representation of the unit in relation to ground scale.

Andy Old Glory UK27 Oct 2017 4:31 a.m. PST

For me the point of Charge is not its historical accuracy- after all with a set such as that I can fiddle with it to get a bit more accuracy if I wish as the rules are very open ended. As are most of the other 1960s sets.(Equally they are "period pieces" of themselves and have an interest because of that too)
Pikemans lament as an example is not so open ended and yes I do have a copy and have played – once- found it dice driven and rather pointless and significantly less ECW than Charge is 18th century. The non- historical organisations which are slaved to the points system which underlies the whole "game" make PL far less open ended than Charge. Of course if you find dice rolLing interesting of itself then you are well catered for.
Equally the "fun addicts" in our hobby never seem to get the idea that one mans fun is another torture.
It is far easier to tailor Charge to my precise requirements while keeping its good bits- if I choose to do so than to do the same with a narrow and limited "game" such as PL – or DBA come to that- which I also could have held up as tripe though as a pike and shot man DBR gets THAT vote as well even more than PL.
No set is ever going to be historically pure. It is up to each bloke to decide where he draws his personal line.
If all you want is lightweight "fun" all the time then you may have a low boredom threshold.
I can't see me playing PL more than half a dozen times before it becomes tedious and repetitive. Charge may go the same way but with that simple system I can – as Umpire – simply move the goalposts.

Personal logo 22ndFoot Supporting Member of TMP27 Oct 2017 5:39 a.m. PST

"Equally the "fun addicts" in our hobby never seem to get the idea that one mans fun is another torture."

Hear, hear!

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP27 Oct 2017 6:04 a.m. PST

Not just the fun addicts. The convention halls are full of people who think "historical accuracy" is the only valid reason for playing with toy soldiers, and who define historical accuracy as more detail than any historical horse & musket brigade or division commander ever had, maintained in written records they couldn't possibly have had or read.

I'm pretty sure the Geneva Convention wouldn't let us drag prisoners 500 miles across country and then make them keep books.

BillyNM27 Oct 2017 8:36 a.m. PST

I love CHARGE! and still play it and have all my figures on single bases just to be pure to the original. As well as the nostalgia element the 'simplicity' of the rules seems to encourage everyone to play for the joy of it and not for the win – although they can get competitive at times. Unfortunately this means it takes a lot of time setting up and packing away so it's not played as often as I'd like.
My stuff is on the SSM site and appears in the recent Wargamers Notebook Quarterly.

steamingdave4727 Oct 2017 10:14 a.m. PST

Sounds like some of you need to resurrect Newbury rules. Now that really was torture.
I am fascinated to know why people, wargame if it is not for enjoyment aka known as "fun". Over the last four years or so I was lucky enough to game weekly with a group who adopted the motto " Who cares who wins". We measured the success of our gaming sessions by the amount of laughter that was generated. If that approach offends some of you, tough. I will continue to try out new sets of rules, continuing with those which give me and my friends enjoyment and discarding those which don't.

Old Peculiar27 Oct 2017 1:51 p.m. PST

Charge are the best set of wargames rules ever produced! No debate!

And I am lucky enough to have played them with The Brig himself, and he gloried in cheating with huge glee!

Andy Old Glory UK28 Oct 2017 1:37 a.m. PST

StreamingDave- exactly our groups view – rules get discarded if they don't come up to the mark though I suspect our marks are different. As is our various definitions of "fun" – to me yours seems a tad narrow. PL could not hack it as it simply wasn't 17th century enough in terms of organisations or method. They simply did not feel like a 17th century small action- so in our view were not a good game and therefore were not fun by our definition.We don't play DBA M or R for the same reasons .
Now Charge! being much more basic can be fiddled about with to add depth and fun as needed.
Equally taking up BillyNM's point about nostalgia- one reason I chose Charge for the shinyloo project was simply because the whole project was deliberate nostalgia. Unlike say my ECW collection or the modern or 18th century collections. The "Historical" part of this in the time from which the rules came as much as anything else.
I suppose our group is not a "gaming group" by todays terminology as the actual dice rolling is probably the smallest part of what we do.

Legends In Time Skip Sponsoring Member of TMP28 Oct 2017 5:51 a.m. PST

It was my first set of rules as a kid. I really liked the way Brig. Young wrote the book… Table Top Generals, Smith & Jones getting together on a regular basis with there Armies to test their Military skills against one another. I still like reading it from time to time.
The impression I got was that "The rules were written to guide the gamers to an enjoyable competition rather then a compiled set of laws that needed to be strictly adhered to or judicial litigation would be necessary to satisfy the lawsuit"!
Great Title too…"Charge or How to play WarGames".
Love it.

Marc at work29 Oct 2017 1:37 a.m. PST

And the fact the Brigadier had to cheat. Those were the "fun" days…

Nick Stern Supporting Member of TMP03 Nov 2017 7:44 a.m. PST

Andy Old Glory UK, thanks for starting this thread. It prompted me to dig out my copy of the book that I bought almost fifty years ago from a bookshop on Shaftesbury Ave. in London. I cut my wargaming teeth on Charge!, using unbased, prepainted German flats. I hated it when a full regiment of 50 odd figures would fall down like dominoes. You mention a distaste for dice rolling. As I reread the rules, while firing line infantry rolls one dice per 8 men (6 for Grenadiers), a Light Infantry battalion of 28 men roll one apiece. All melee is handled by rolling one dice per man (two per cavalry trooper), so two infantry regiments in three ranks could end up rolling 100 dice in melee. That's a lot of dice rolling in anyone's book.

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