Monday 26 May 2014

Charge! A Warhammer Fantasy Battle Third Edition Era Skirmish Game?

One question that I get asked a lot is 'does WFB3 have any skirmish rules?' And the answer is always the same, 'no'. I would usually go on to say that the game was written in the age of the DIY gamer, who just changed the rules to suit their particular situation as and when. Sadly, this attitude is no longer present in many people who approach miniature wargaming in all its forms. Too often do I read the words of individuals who complain about rules not being balanced or fair, yet they remain hopelessly obsessed with keeping up with the Jones'.

"Oh, this version of 40K totally nerfs my list!" 

Play the other version then!

"Oh, but my gaming group only uses the latest version of the ruleset. And we only use the latest versions of the models, too!"

Find some new mates then! 

Over here in the Oldhammer Community we have no such problems. The rulesets we use are old, old and old. Still, I do sometimes yearn for a simple version of the game that could be used to play tiny narrative scenario using only a few figures. Then, flicking through issue 115 of White Dwarf I made a discovery. One of those 'hiding in plain sight' jobs. 

I am referring to the game 'Charge!', written by the bods in the Design Studio circa 1988 for use with the Combat Cards range. Reading through the rules, you can see that Warhammer and WFRP are clear influences. As are the streamlined rules used in the Fighting Fantasy books. Now I know my readership, you will not want a longwinded analysis of this ruleset, but would much rather just read the article in your own time. 

So here it is. 

As you will now now if you have a flick through Charge!, the system is very simple. Yet character creation, magic, victory points, scenery creation and special rules and what not are also covered. All in 5 pages or so. It was rather satisfying to finally find out what all of the funny symbols that appeared on the front of the combat cards were actually for. 

Long time readers may well remember my article on 'Attack!', an even easier set of rules for using the Combat Cards with, though dependent on a chessboard for a playing surface. However, this article also had a series of special rules that may well be appropriate to using Charge! as a skirmish game. 
having read through these rules are a fairly confident that they could be used with little adaption to run a good sized skirmish game. With some clever photoshopping it would also be possible to photograph my miniatures and create my own 'Combat Cards' with their own stats. This would provide a really easy entry point for all of those people interested in Old School gaming but put off by perceived issues not being familiar enough with the rules. 

What do you lot think? Is there scope for a skirmish game in the spirit of old school Warhammer here?

Please share your opinion. 



  1. I've actually already started building a template under GIMP to make personnal combat cards (some of which will be made especially for BOYL for our little rogue trader skirmish game).
    I haven't read the "charge" rules yet but will do so because I suspect it's the kind of games you can take fairly quickly in hand and twist to play what you want to.


  2. There is definitely a lot to work with, I think with adequate tailoring it could be incorporated into a fun WFS(Warhammer Fantasy Skirmish) quite easily.

    JB I would be very much interested in acquiring this template when you're done with it! (I too use GIMP)

    1. I'll post something on the forum when it's done for sure !
      I'm really not a pro and will most probably come up with something not really good. PM me on the forum and maybe we can work something out ;)

  3. And here was me thinking that WFB3 skirmish was just playing WFB3 whilst drinking and forgetting to use half the rules! ;)

    I like the idea of running a dungeon crawl - perhaps it would be a good event to try out at BOYL next year if not this one?

  4. The problem of gamers not being willing to make up their own rules and change what they don't like about a ruleset is pretty much the norm now. Virtually everyone at my gaming club plays either modern 40k and/or fantasy, and stick to the rulebooks like they're religious texts. I've been working to try and change that attitude by running scenario games using the modern rulesets with my own changes and special rules/events. Its a long and difficult process though, despite the participants enjoying the games. However, I know of several guys who think as I do about doing what you want with rules, and are starting to experiment with their own rules and scenarios! So it's worth the effort.

  5. Cool stuff! I've fiddled with these rules to make it an RPG. If you combine the Charge!/Attack! rules with some aspects of Advanced Heroquest -which uses essentially the same stats and dice- it might be a nice rules-light RPG. And generating your own player character could be the D&D-like 2d6+X (race/class dependant) for each characteristic (except maybe for toughness...). Only character advancement would take some work, especially when it comes to hit-points (AHQ could come in handy there I think).
    What I liked about the articles is that it also told how the combat card stats were designed from the warhammer stat-lines, which is good to know if you want to use races and units that have not gotten a Combat Card version :)

  6. I thought WHFRP which ties into WHFB was suppose to be the "skirmish" level?

  7. @ Evil Eli: WFRPcan be used that way, but it is designed as an RPG (co-operative narrative play) rather than a skirmish wargame. Though, while RPG combats are definitely on the skirmish scale, As an old school RPG, it is not really balanced for warband-vs-warband competitive play, but maybe if one used the WHFB point system for army selection and the WFRP combat rules for the actual gameplay you could have a cool skirmish game on your hands... I'd recommend to restrict the number of troops though, no more than 10 per side (anything between 50-100 points forces depending on faction)