A discursive look at Napoleonic & ECW wargaming, plus a load of old Hooptedoodle on this & that

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Changing a Light Bulb

Recent email exchanges with a couple of friends got on to the topic of a variation on everyone's favourite racist/sexist/occupationist joke, viz "how many miniatures wargamers does it take to change a light bulb?".

To be honest, we were so disappointed by the poor quality of our own efforts that we thought it might be a nice idea to invite suggestions on this blog. To give an idea of how humble a standard you have to match up to, the best we could manage were:

Crick: However many it says in Charge!

De Vries: 1 to prepare the lightbulb to collector standard, 2 to write the scenario for changing it, 6 to test it out (of which 1 writes it up in TMP) and 114 to suggest ways in which the procedure might have been improved.

My own offering, now I re-read it, is suppressed for reasons of embarrassment.

Any suggestions welcome. I haven't thought of what prize is on offer, or even if there will be one...


  1. 1 to hold the lamp and four to turn the wargame table he is standing on.


  2. By the way, why do you need to change a lightbulb. Your armies are so excellent that when they are on the table their shine practically blindes us.


  3. Before I say anything else: what is the WRG defintion of a lightbulb?
    Is a lightbulb considered Old School nowadays?
    In any case, a true wargamer leaves such trivial matters to the wife...


  4. I think you'll find that in Charge! IIRC the Infantry are at a 1:12 figure to man ratio of representation, so that if there had been light bulbs in the period the best-trained troops such as Grenadiers could be allowed to change as many as 12 bulbs per figure, per bound, which, however would be represented on the table by only one model bulb. Christmas tree lights are suggested, in 30mm scale.

    Regular line troops need two bounds and auxiliaries three, modified by a +1 if they are British, but all would eventually be able to produce the one changed model bulb representing twelve.

    Alternatively to avoid the anachronism of having a bulb, before they were invented, there were procedures for any infantry carrying torches, which may be thrown onto combustibles, or to deliver a Carcass shot by Howitzer, in which case dice to see whether the shot falls short, goes over, gives desirable airburst or acceptable groundburst.

    The Howitzer could have a crew of either six or twelve, and fire more often with the twelve, to prevent fatigue.

    So it could be as few as six, but represented by one figure, in any case.

  5. Very nice, gentlemen - please keep them coming. I've also had a couple of email submissions through the link on my Blogger profile.

    Ludovico sent a number of very amusing suggestions, but none had anything to do with wargamers, so he is disqualified. I did like the religious one about 'we all just have to believe the bulb is working'.

    Keith Pearson: The difficult part is to do it in a way which is quick enough, without losing the true flavour of lightbulb changing. I like that one, too.



  6. I'm now back from holidays, I guess the suggestions are all in. I did get a further email contribution from Ludovico, who is still disqualified on the grounds of irrelevance, but I did like two of the extra ones:

    * How many Blackberry users to change a light bulb? Answer: tired (you have to think about this one)

    * How many Vietnam vets? Answer: Forget it, man - if you weren't there you'll never understand.

    In a mad turn, have decided to award a prize to Matt, because his entry was funny, cleverly offbeat and - most of all - showed exemplary brevity, a quality which I have always admired but never got the hang of.

    While on holiday, I read the Lousia Muhlbach book on Andreas Hofer, and am struck by the intrigues within the Austrian royal family. Emperor Francis very unsavoury. Book (novel) contained too much pantomime-calibre melodrama for my taste, but the historical bits are disturbing. Must investigate further.

  7. I did send one in but it must of got lost in cyberspace. Can't remember it fully, something like 'I tried to replace a light bulb once, but because of scale creep the new bulb wouldn't fit into the old socket'.