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Tabletop Game / Flames of War

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Flames of War is a New Zealand-based miniature Wargame set in World War II. Using 15mm soldiers (roughly 1:100 scale) and vehicles, the game represents a company-sized angle of battle. Created by New Zealand-based Battlefront Miniatures, it is currently in its fourth edition.

This tabletop wargame provides examples of:

  • A Commander Is You: In Team Yankee:
    • NATO:
      • USA - Generalist, bordering on Elitist: They get perhaps the best range of unit options of any faction, though they tend to be a bit on the expensive side to compensate.
      • Marine Corps - Ranger: Trade access to the USA's top tier units in exchange for better mobility, infantry and transports.
      • UK - Turtle: Lack mobility, but excel when allowed to take entrenched positions.
      • West Germany - Brute: Expensive and heavily vehicle-dependent, but unbeatable in a one-on-one fight.
      • France - Ranger: Fast and pack a punch, but possess paper thin armor.
      • Canada - Generalist/Unit Specialist: Take a rough middle ground between the USA and West Germany, including the ability to obtain top-tier units from those factions as support. Their own units tend to be specialist, such as the ADATS being the game's only dual-purpose anti-air and anti-tank missile launcher.
      • The Netherlands - Brute: Function like a more infantry-focused West Germany.
      • ANZAC - Unit Specialist: Focused on the use of tanks and recon units at the expense of other unit types.
      • Israel - Technical: Their armies feature a mix of powerful core units and cheap support units.
      • Iraq - Spammer/Unit Specialist: Give NATO access to a cheap army utilising a range of Warsaw Pact-sourced equipment.
    • Warsaw Pact:
      • Soviet Union - Generalist: They began as a Spammer faction to contrast with the USA. Red Thunder pushed them more into Generalist territory, giving them more expensive options that bestow the Soviet Union a technological edge over the rest of the Warsaw Pact.
      • East Germany - Balanced: Cheaper but more elite than the Soviet Union, at the cost of a more limited selection of units.
      • Poland - Elitist: Possess the most elite army within the Warsaw Pact.
      • Czechoslovakia - Spammer: Allow players to push the Soviet Union's horde tactics even further, supplemented with a unique rocket artillery unit.
      • Iran - Balanced/Unit Specialist: Fulfil an equivalent role to Iraq, providing the Warsaw Pact with NATO-sourced equipment. They offer a mix of cheap spammable units and more expensive elite units
  • Action Girl: The Soviets have a few of their real-life examples as special warrior teams.
  • Anachronism Stew:
    • Flames of War averts this by dividing units into "Early War" (1939-1941), "Mid War" (1942-1943) and "Late War" (1944-1945), thus encouraging battles that are waged between forces that would've been active at roughly the same time.
    • Team Yankee makes a strong effort at sticking to its mid-1985 cutoff point, but it does occasionally skew this a bit. Many of the studio models Battlefront uses are painted in camouflage schemes that would not be widely adopted until later and are done to better differentiate the factions in photos. A few vehicles that weren't in use such as the M247 Sargeant York note  are also present.
  • Arbitrary Weapon Range: A real Tiger tank's effective range was over 3,500 feet. The game's scale and competitive balance has reduced the maximum range to just over 333 feet. Invoked due to being able to hit something that's at the other end of a house wouldn't be that much fun.
  • Author Appeal: Across all four editions, 14 sourcebooks have been released regarding the Normandy campaign. Operation Bagration is slowly getting this way, too, with a Firestorm campaign boxset and five books across the editions.
    • As mentioned in Creator Provincialism below, ANZAC forces are frequently shown by the New Zealand-based company
    • In a sort of Real Life example, look at how many models of Sherman tank variations have been released.
  • Badass Army: They're somewhat rare, but a Fearless Veteran army can certainly apply. Especially if you manage to spend your points correctly.
  • Big Bad Ass Battle Sequence: If an area has several players, expect a large scale Mega Battle to occur at least once. Usually, they're based off of real battles.
  • Calling Your Shots: Difficult to do, but possible if you pass a skill test. Otherwise, hits are allotted to the platoon and are doled out by the opposing player.
    • In 4th edition, this becomes the norm, as players are allowed to pick which units of an enemy platoon are hit. It's up the defending player to pass a skill test under certain conditions to change some of the hits.
  • Cheese-Eating Surrender Monkeys: In Team Yankee, the French have a low Morale check, which means they are more likely to have a unit retreat or disembark when under fire. The sourcebook steps in to explain that this isn't because they're cowardly (they have a very good Courage check), but to represent the French military doctrine of preferring to sacrifice ground to preserve manpower rather than encouraging Senseless Sacrifices.
  • Cool Horse: You can field mounted cavalry.
  • Creator Provincialism: Since this game is created by a New Zealand-based company, ANZAC forces tend to be given a slightly disproportionate level of focus. Special mention goes to Team Yankee, which contrives an excuse for why ANZAC forces were stationed in West Germany in 1985.
  • Death from Above: Most army lists have some air support options that can drop bombs or rockets on enemy positions.
  • Elites Are More Glamorous: Parachute companies and German armored divisions are popular choices. The starting boxed set Open Fire even includes a US Parachute platoon included.
  • Enemy Mine: The Oil War expansion for Team Yankee features a bizarre alliance between Israel, Iraq and NATO.
  • False Flag Operation: The ersatz platoons found in Devil's Charge and other books.
  • Fan Nickname: Since experimental (or in the case of the Dicker Max, Porsche Tiger, and Sturer Emil extremely rare) armored fighting vehicles from 1942-1944 were called "Mid-War Monsters" when officially released, fans called late war experimental tanks and those that were fielded just after the war ended (Maus, T29, IS-3, etc) as Late-War Leviathans.
  • Last Stand: A game can end like this if you're parked on top of an objective.
  • Luck Manipulation Mechanic: The British special rule semi-indirect fire along with the Soviet vehicle specific rule "Cat Killer" allows a player (whose tank hasn't moved and is more than 16" away from their target to reroll their first miss on a die roll to hit. One of the German "Tiger Ace" skills does the same thing.
    • The Protected Ammo rule allows a reroll for a stricken tank crew to remount their vehicle after a close call.
  • Moveset Clone: The Syrians are introduced in Oil War as a bonus faction, functioning identically to Iraq minus their French-sourced equipment, and are aligned with the Warsaw Pact instead of NATO.
  • No Swastikas: The German gaming set (including dice and tokens) uses the Iron Cross.
    • The Finnish, however, do have swastikas to represent them.
  • Obvious Rule Patch: The US tank destroyer rules were rewritten in the middle of the third edition, eliminating most of the concerns about "Romulan Hellcats decloaking".
  • Promotional Powerless Piece of Garbage: While not technically powerless, the yearly tournament prizes and exclusives take the form of objective pieces to capture and have no in-game benefit.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: Some warriors (historical famed soldiers) have a rule where if they're defeated, the loss is such a blow to their nation's morale that the player automatically loses a victory point at the end of the game (there are a maximum of 6). This can easily make a team technically lose a close game even after capturing the enemy objective. This can also, in tournament or league play, mean the difference between first and second place.
  • Recycled In Space: Battlefront released several spin-off games taking place in different time periods.
  • Spin-Off: Has had two based off of armored vehicle combat, both by sister company Gale Force Nine. The first, Tanks was released in 2016 and lasted until roughly 2020, when the lead designer left the company during the COVID pandemic. The second, which has the World of Tanks license, is roughly similar. As the price of the Tanks blisters generally fell below the resin tanks (and then most singles were discontinued), many players supplemented their Flames of War armies with the Tanks blisters if they didn't want or afford at the time to buy a whole platoon.
  • Zerg Rush: Early war Soviet armies have extremely cheap infantry and tanks. In a 1500 pt game, you can have 120 bases of pure infantry/heavy machine guns on the board.
    • We Have Reserves: Some Soviet battalions have the Wave Attack rule, which allows you to replace a destroyed platoon with a new one depending on a die roll.
      • Due to Soviets' vehicles lack of smoke launchers, some players may make due by sending numerous throwaway vehicles to get killed and have the burning wreckage substitute.