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    Avatar photoWhirlwind

    A comment by Guy Farrish on my recent post about refighting Sittangbad from the Charge! Or How to Play Wargames book got me thinking about old rules and which of them people would still choose to play.  I know that Little Wars still has its fans.  I myself play WRG WW2 rules from the early 1970s.  I don’t think most of the ‘classic’ wargame rules (Grant, (early) Featherstone, Bath, Tarr etc.) appeal to me, although I do think some of the Wessencraft rules look quite interesting.  I still quite like WRG 1685-1845, although I haven’t yet put in the work to convert this for use with the way my Napoleonics are based.

    So, what say you?  What are the oldest rules you would choose to play yourself?


    Avatar photowarwell

    My first thought was DBA – the first set of rules I actually played regularly (as opposed to fitful experiments). I discuss my experience with DBA on my blog.

    On second thought, does D&D count, or are we only talking miniature games? I am currently playing in a Basic D&D campaign.

    Avatar photoWhirlwind

    I think 1970s D&D definitely counts.  Especially in contrast with DBA which I guess is a stripling at ‘only’ c.30 years old.

    I am not sure what the oldest RPG I play is…definitely early 1980s, but I am not sure off-hand which is the earliest.  Contenders are Rolemaster/MERP; Universe, Maelstrom, Recon…there are probably others.



    Avatar photoRuarigh

    The oldest rules still likely to see my table are Laserburn and Imperial Commander. I still love both despite the clunkiness of the former. On the RPG front, I still use all the BECMI D&D material, but I play it using Scarlet Heroes which is decidedly modern, and I still love Classic Traveller.

    Never argue with an idiot. They'll only drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.


    Avatar photoShaun Travers

    If we include RPGs, I am playing through the Classic Traveller Adventures from 1980.

    But to rules, the oldest I would consider playing are Ancient Warfare.  It is funny you should mention old rules as I have just got into an email conversation about Ancient Warfare.

    Older than that is I really want to play Tractics again but I have a feeling I never will, mainly as every time I look at them I wonder if I will enjoy it as mush as I used to.

    Armati II, DBM 2.2 and the Irregular Miniatures Ancients rules are about the oldest sets that realistically I will be playing every now and then.

    So nothing too old really.

    p.s. for those that are interested, here is a link to my review of Ancient Warfare:


    Avatar photoirishserb

    The oldest miniatures rules to see my tabletop are likely to be Heritage’s Panzertroops World War II rules.  Next would be The Sword and the Flame for colonials.

    Though I came into the hobby in the late 1970s, I completely missed all of the classics, being introduced to them in the late 1980s or later.  I’ve picked up books by some of them, and find what they did absolutely fascinating, though not always very inviting.

    Avatar photoTony S

    One of the biggest parts of the warning hobby for me is buying, reading and even upon occasion even playing, all the new rules that come out. So I guess implicitly I’m saying that none of the rules I’ve played over the years had ever been perfect. Maybe I’m anyways searching for that holy grail?

    I guess the oldest I still play is DBA – but the third edition of course. Which isn’t really old. The other rules I play regularly are all quite recent. I’ve also noticed that as time goes on, I am becoming more and more fond of simpler, more elegant rules. The marvelous ones that are fast playing, smooth, that don’t require constant reference to the book or endless modifiers and yet capture that elusive and entirely subjective period “feel”.

    I’m also noticed that old rules that I used to really, really enjoy and that I decide to now play or re-read in a fit of nostalgia, are AWFUL. I really wonder what I used to see in them! It is certainly isn’t because I’ve become an old fart!

    Avatar photoMr. Average

    I definitely like a lot of older rule sets and continue to play them. The current crop is oriented towards endless recapitulation of skirmish games so I definitely find solace in games like Dirtside II and Battletech. Battletech is pushing 40 at the moment. To go back farther there’s also Striker and Chainmail, still happily playable fifty years on.

    Avatar photoWhirlwind

    I’m also noticed that old rules that I used to really, really enjoy and that I decide to now play or re-read in a fit of nostalgia, are AWFUL. I really wonder what I used to see in them! It is certainly isn’t because I’ve become an old fart!

    Names names!

    For myself, I played the Bruce Quarrie and the Newbury Napoleonic rules when I was little (it was what my club played).  When I tried the Quarrie rules again in 2007 when I was getting back into the hobby, I realized that there were just too many areas that mechanically didn’t work very well, or were slow, or I disagreed with the assumptions about them.  Curiously, the other rules I played at the same time were WRG 1685-1845 which I think still stand up reasonably well.


    Avatar photoRhoderic

    Some day I’d like to give some of the old fantasy and sci-fi rulesets a go. Laserburn, Chainmail, Striker, Royal Armies of the Hyborian Age, Starguard, Reaper, Knights & Magick, Middle Earth Wargames Rules, Dark Future, Rogue Trader, 1st-3rd ed WHFB, maybe original Battletech (if I can get to play it using only the better-looking mech designs), and a few more. I mainly want to experience them out of an interest in the history of nerd culture, so the actual enjoyability of said rulesets (such as it may be) wouldn’t be a major motivating factor.

    The oldest rulesets that I’m more properly familiar with and would be prepared to use more casually are probably Dirtside II, Stargrunt II and Full Thrust.

    Avatar photoAndrew Beasley

    Well I would have said HOTT from 1991 but I opened up a figure case this afternoon and found an original copy of Stomp! in the magazine from 1978 (but it’s been a long while since those pesky folk raided my garden)…

    The one I would question is Ogre – I have the Metagaming Concepts, 1977 version but use the reprint – does that count?


    Avatar photoTony S

    Names names!

    Well, I deliberately didn’t name names because I didn’t want to disparage somebody’s favourite rules.  One that springs to mind is 1644.  It has been decades since I played them, and thought they were wonderful, back in the salad days.  Upon re-reading them, I was appalled.   I do admit the campaign system – especially the lovely drawings by one or both of the Perry’s – is quite nice.  As is their artwork scattered throughout.

    Or the first edition of Polemos’ GNW.  Quite a different kettle of fish from the new version I am given to understand.  Reread them a while ago, and was again surprised with the amount of dirt contained within that I didn’t really recall.   Even though I had played them when they came out, and enjoyed them, nowadays I found I couldn’t actually force myself to wade through them again to use them for some newly raised GNW armies.

    As a point of comparison, to replace those sets we’ve settled on “For King & Parliament” and “Maurice” for the most part.

    Avatar photojeffers

    Pony Wars by TTG. Sadly, I am no longer a teenager with my own bedroom where I can set up and play a game over three days or more! That would be from 1983.

    Still playing Loose Files after 33 years, though.

    More nonsense on my blog: http://battle77.blogspot.com/


    We’ve been playing ‘Operation Warboard’ since the book was first published, mid seventies, if memory serves?

    "Wot did you do in the war Grandad?"

    "I was with Harry... At The Bridge!"

    Avatar photoian pillay

    I have an eclectic collection of rules from Featherstone to Thomas and everything in between.

    The oldest set of rules I own are my original Rouge Trader rules from 1989. I bought these with my pocket money after saving up for weeks. I have older rules but they have been acquired since so I guess don’t count.

    As to playing old rules I think Featherstone has a certain charm, and they would get an outing for sure.

    Tally-Ho! Check out my blog at…..

    Avatar photoGuy Farrish

    The oldest set that get an outing in the normal course of events for me is WRG 1925-1950 Armour & Infantry 1973 (Not the later edition which was ‘improved’ out of playability). It’s not the only set I use for WWII but I prefer it for company level games, and not just for the nostalgia value.

    I used to play Gush’s/WRG Renaissance until a few years ago but tired of fiddling about with swapping figure bases about for casualties (the edges of the cardboard bases turning furry with handling after thirty years didn’t help)  and I sold the figures and began the search for a different set of rules. I turned to Impetus for the Italian Wars end of the period and after several false starts have settled (I think) on Twilight of Divine Right for the end of it.

    After that probably Volley and Bayonet, first edition is the oldest I use.

    I have a confession which is going to get me drummed out of wargaming I know, but I have never played any Featherstone rules apart from a couple of skirmish games. Despite owning various books of his over the years they have never really appealed. I started with Charge! discovered Grant and then was directed to Featherstone’s which I found too simplistic and frankly a backward step I have never had a desire to take. Sorry!

    Avatar photoIvan Sorensen

    On a regular basis: Stargrunt 2 or 40K 2nd edition I think.

    Occasionally: Laserburn. Firefly.

    Avatar photoNot Connard Sage

    The earlier WRG rules stand up well IMO. Not ancients or George Gush renaissance though, although we played the latter to death during the 80s.

    I still have, and play, 1925-1950, 1950-1985 (the first editions, not the late 80s ‘improved’ version which as Guy said improved all playability out of them) and 1685-1845.

    I’ve got a paperback copy of Operation Warboard, but it hasn’t been off the shelf for a while. Ditto Grant’s ‘Battle’, which cost a guinea in 1971 🙂

    Obvious contrarian and passive aggressive old prat, who is taken far too seriously by some and not seriously enough by others.

    Avatar photoMike

    Irregular Miniatures Ancients rules

    I quite like some of their small rules in a box set things..

    Avatar photojeffers


    You will not be alone in the wargamer’s Elba: I’ve only ever played one game with Don’s rules.

    More nonsense on my blog: http://battle77.blogspot.com/

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