Flames of War

Flames of War

"Flames of War" (abbreviated as "FoW") is a World War II tabletop miniatures wargame produced by the New Zealand company Battlefront Miniatures Ltd.

"Flames of War" allows players to wargame company level battles from the European and North African Theatres of World War Two, using 1/100 scale miniatures(15mm). In the 1st Edition rulebook basic army lists were provided for the mid-war period, while Battlefront published early and late war army lists on their website (subsequently these early and late war lists were removed). The 2nd Edition of the rulebook was published in 2006.


Gameplay takes place over a series of turns, with players alternating movement, shooting and close assault. This simple sequence of play, often called "I-Go, You-go", helps people who are unfamiliar with wargames or who are familiar with other games with a similar structure, such as "Warhammer Fantasy Battles" or "Warhammer 40,000", to quickly learn the rules. The game is optimised for two players, although it can be played by a larger number of players grouped in teams.

Play revolves around company-level tactics, with each stand or element representing an infantry fire team (half-squad/section), an artillery piece and its crew, or a single vehicle (such as a tank, jeep, or armoured car). Air support is also available, in the form of fighters (like the Hawker Hurricane) and light bombers (like the Sturmovik), to players wishing to use it, with aircraft generally being represented by 1:144 scale models.

The main rulebook has numerous scenarios players can use for their games, from a simple all-out battle scenario to objective-taking missions. The army sourcebooks contain further scenarios, usually centered around events relevant to that particular book. Gameplay uses six-sided dice, and movement distances and weapon ranges are provided in both inches and centimeters.

Current army sourcebooks are based on particular campaigns and include lists for the German Wehrmacht (including the Deutsches Afrikakorps and non-Wehrmacht troops like the SS and Luftwaffe ground troops), the U.S. Army (including Rangers and Airborne units), the armies of Great Britain and the Commonwealth (India, Australia, Canada, South Africa, and New Zealand), the Red Army of the Soviet Union, the Italian army (including elite Bersaglieri and Paracudisti, regular Fucilieri, and fascist Blackshirts paramilitaries), as well as smaller nations such as the Hungarians, Finns, and Romanians. Sourcebooks have so far been restricted to the European Theater; Battlefront have indicated that future releases may include coverage of the Pacific Theater, but only after army lists and campaign supplements covering the early and late periods of fighting in Europe have been released.

"Flames of War" provides players who are interested in World War II wargaming but lack an in-depth knowledge of the period with a "one-stop shop". The rulebook and sourcebooks provide not only the rules of the game and scenarios to play but also background material on historical forces and battles and simple guides to organising, assembling, and painting miniature armies.

Rules and Sourcebooks

Battlefront divides WWII into three periods. Early-war (1939-41), mid-war (1942-43) and late-war (1944-45). It is believed that when Battlefront releases rules and models for the Pacific theater, it will separate it from the European theater for game play reasons.

The current rules are found in the Second Edition Rule Book, which was printed in a hard cover and paperback edition. The paperback edition does not include all of the rules found in the hard cover addition. Unlike the first edition, the second edition does not include any army lists, which requires a source book to be purchased to play. Legal army lists for tournament play typically include only second edition source books and selected "Web Briefings" published on Battlefront's web site.

econd Edition Source Books

Mid-War Period

* "Ostfront", covering all the armies that fought on the Eastern or Russian Front, both Axis (including their allies such as the Hungarians, Finns and Romanians) and Allied forces.
* "Afrika", this covers the war in North Africa and Italy. Again this sourcebook includes both Axis and Allied forces, including their various allies.

Late-War Period

* "Festung Europa", army lists for German, US, British and Soviet infantry, motorized, reconnaissance, and armored forces.
* "D Minus 1", army lists for the Allied paratroop and air-landing units active in the European theater during January 1944-August 1944.
* "D-Day", containing rules for the Normandy campaign, including beach landings, fighting in the bocage.
* "Bloody Omaha", army lists for German and US infantry divisions engaged in Operation Overlord on 6 June 1944.
* "Villers-Bocage", army lists for German and British tank units fighting for control of the Normandy town of Villers-Bocage on 13 June 1944. Includes new heroes, new unit organisations, and new scenarios.
* "Monty's Meatgrinder", army lists for German and British/Canadian forces fighting for Caen from June to August 1944. This book is the first to remove the number of support units limitation based on combat platoons.
* "Cobra, the Normandy Breakout", army lists for SS and American troops fighting during Operation Cobra, the breakout from Normandy. this book has a totally new layout.
* "Stalin's Onslaught", army lists for the initial assault in Operation Bagration focusing on the Soviet 8th Independent Penal Battalion, Soviet IS-2 heavy tank battalion and German 78. "Sturmdivision". This is the first of four books to focus on Operation Bagration.
* "Fortress Europe", to be released 2008-10-25, this book will update "Festung Europa" to make it consistent with the new style of army lists and include options added by PDF.

First Edition Source Books

These books have been replaced with the sourcebooks listed above which reflect the current 2nd Edition rules. All of these supplements below are now out of print. Battlefront provides updates on their website that detail the changes between these old sourcebooks (but not the first edition rulebook) and the new mid-war army lists provided in "Afrika" and "Ostfront". With these changes, players may continue to use these (corrected) sourcebooks for tournament play in the mid-war period.

* "First Edition Rulebook" - German, US, Soviets, British, and Italian basic force lists.
* "Diving Eagles" - German Fallschirmjäger (paratrooper) lists. Battlefront released a second edition of this book in March 2006.
* "Old Ironsides" - US armor and armored infantry lists.
* "Hitler's Fire Brigade" - German armor and armored infantry lists for the Eastern Front. Two editions of this sourcebook were printed.
* "Desert Rats" - British armoured squadrons and motor companies in the Mediterranean and North Africa.
* "Desert Fox" - German Afrika Korps panzer, motorized/armored infantry and reconnaissance companies.
* "Stalingrad" - Soviet and German infantry lists on the Eastern Front. Includes rules for street-fighting in an urban environment, as well as snipers.
* "Stars & Stripes" - US rifle infantry, Rangers, parachute infantry, tank, armored rifle and armored reconnaissance lists. (All army lists from "Old Ironsides" are included in this sourcebook.)
* "For King and Country" - British commonwealth forces such as Australian, New Zealand, Indian and Canadian forces.
* "Avanti Savoia" - Italian infantry, tank and motorized infantry forces to the game.
* "Za Stalina" - Soviet armor and cavalry forces.

Unofficial Lists

Some players have developed "homebrew" army lists to cover other factions or wars including Japanese forces and US forces in the Pacific Theater. As yet (September 2008), Battlefront hasn't released official lists for the Pacific Theater. They have made an announcement that they will be working on rules for another historical period, but have not yet announced what it is.

Successor Games

Recently, there has been a lot of fan speculation surrounding Battlefront's intentions to release a new game based on the Napoleonic wars era of the early 19th Century using the WWII "FoW" ruleset as a base. However, as yet Battlefront has made no official announcement as to what their successor game will be. Many players and fans have also developed "homebrew" rulesets for Napoleonic and modern-era wargaming, using "FoW" as a base.

Models And Availability

Battlefront Miniatures also produces a line of highly detailed, multipart metal and resin 15mm scale models for use in playing "Flames of War". Battlefront produces models for ground troops, such as infantry, vehicles and field guns, and since mid-2006 has sold 1/144 model aircraft (e.g., Hurricane II, Ju-87 'Stuka', Il-2 'Shturmovik' and P-40 'Warhawk'). These miniatures are available directly from Battlefront, but they can also be purchased in hobby shops and some mainstream toy stores.

Models are sold in blister packs and in small, medium, and large boxed sets. Miniatures are packaged so as to simplify the process of building an army. In most cases, each blister pack or boxed set includes all the figures or models needed to complete a unit (usually a platoon or battery). The largest boxed sets contain all the figures needed to build an entire company (the starting force a player needs to play a game). Each blister or box includes bases for the figures in the package and variant pieces to complete any options allowed to the unit. This marketing strategy has added to the game's appeal by making it easy to purchase all the figures one needs for a basic force or for an additional unit at once, instead of having to make multiple purchases or buy more figures than one needs in order to get specific pieces.

Many other manufacturers produce 15mm figures for wargaming World War II, which can be used in addition to or instead of Battlefront's figures. Battlefront has publicly stated that other manufacturers' models are legal for use in "FoW" tournaments. However, the company has requested that other manufacturers' models not be pictured or discussed on the official "Flames of War" discussion forums.

Gale Force 9 has released licensed products for the game, including an artillery template, army-specific markers and dice, and magnetic base kits.

External links

* [http://www.flamesofwar.com "Flames of War" official website]

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