Wargame Spotlight: 'Flames of War'

Currently in its third edition, "Flames of War" by Battlefront Miniatures is a straightforward World War II-themed tabletop game that aims to balance fun with historical accuracy. Every World War II buff will rejoice in the love that went into making "Flames of War" as immersive as possible. The game is so popular that it has an international following, and while there are plenty of custom scenarios to play in the rulebook, many fans enjoy recreating famous battles as accurately as they can.

The game:

"Flames of War" uses a traditional turn-based system with players  moving all of their troops at once during their turn. At a 15mm scale, engagements are considered to be at the platoon level. There are special rules regarding tanks, anti-armor, and morale; tanks aren't the end-all be-all to victory and combined arms usually present a better force. Troops can become pinned down and, at times, flee while tanks can become incapacitated on rough terrain. Every unit has a prescribed veteran level (conscript, trained,  veteran) and morale (reluctant, confident, fearless). Most of the  game focuses on capturing  objectives.

Different "Flames of War" expansions cover new units and scenarios.  Factions currently include: German Wehrmacht, U.S. Army, United Kingdom and Commonwealth, Red Army of the Soviet Union, Italian army, Poles, Hungarians, Finns, and Romanians. Each faction includes a unique list of unit selection options with point values. Typical games are played at around 1750 points.

The rules get more advanced and cover items like flamethrower vehicles,  warrior troops, airstrikes, and firing from specialized cover. The rule of thumb is: if it happened on the battlefields of World War II, there's probably a rule that covers it. However, the current rules system only encompasses the European theatre of war.

The story:

Being a game set during World War II, the storyline is mostly limited  to historical events. The rulebook provides plenty of information for players  to bring themselves up to speed on the who's, when's, and where's of World War II. Die-hard history buffs will have plenty of fun recreating famous battles, but there's nothing to stop inventive players from creating fictional World War II scenarios, characters, and settings.

Where to find it:

"Flames of War" enjoys a marked degree of success, but it straddles the  line between obscure and popular. Some tabletop stores carry it and some won't.  If your local brick and mortar doesn't provide, check out the official Battlefront Miniatures online  store for the complete range.

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