Charm is an average game. Not a game-changer, not bad. But also nothing new or encouraging. It might have been 15 years ago. But nowadays, you might know most of the design from other allrounders, executed in a better way.
The biggest issue is the writing. The book fails to teach you the game. I had to re-read several paragraphs to understand essential parts. It’s too vague, where it needs to be practicable. It not because the system is complicated. It isn't. It’s just not well-written. You get the impression, that the writer/designer knows his game so well, that he cannot explain it to someone new to the game. The examples are not always helpful, too.
On top of that, Charm is not very intuitive for a game that wants to be quick and easy. The mix of the fluctuating target number (with seven levels) and seven success levels adds an unnecessary layer of complexity. I do not just compare my roll to the target number for success/failure, I must also look at how many times time three it is above or below the TN to get different results. No big math, but also not intuitive. (It would have been better to use a 0-10 scala in combination with a d10 + d3/d4.)
It’s a shame because I think that it could have some potential. The included scenarios/worlds are nice, mostly out-of-the-box (in an exciting way), and worth the look.
I’m always interested in generic game systems, but in this case, I will stick with Fate and Cypher as the tools of my choice.
[3 of 5 Stars!]