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"Best Alternative to Flames of War?" Topic

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Action Log

07 Feb 2012 10:17 a.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

  • Crossposted to WWII Rules board

23 Mar 2018 5:52 p.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

  • Removed from TMP Poll Suggestions board

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Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian07 Feb 2012 9:39 a.m. PST

For all the critics of the Flames of War WWII rules system… what ruleset would you propose as the best alternative?

It would illuminate your argument against FoW if you could show an example of what you think a better ruleset would be.

Connard Sage07 Feb 2012 9:43 a.m. PST


kevanG07 Feb 2012 9:44 a.m. PST

to who?

John the OFM07 Feb 2012 9:44 a.m. PST

Not needed.

Dynaman878907 Feb 2012 9:54 a.m. PST

Anything really.

Actually it's not bad, not the game for me, but not bad.

Derek H07 Feb 2012 9:55 a.m. PST

There is no alternative!

kyoteblue07 Feb 2012 10:03 a.m. PST


freewargamesrules07 Feb 2012 10:04 a.m. PST

Charles Grant's Battle for me, a few of the other lads like Featherstone's WW2 rules.

VonBurge07 Feb 2012 10:08 a.m. PST

Depends on the level one may want to play at. Moving up in scope, down in scope or staying the same?

So depending on the individual's preference for command level:

Moving up to Bn+ level: Blitzkrieg Commander

Staying the same Co level: I Ain't Been Shot Yet Mum 3

Moving Down to Plt- level: Force on Force (Understand the WWII version may follow soon and I really like the modern version)


Farstar07 Feb 2012 10:09 a.m. PST


There is no best, only what I'd rather be playing, already have the minis for, or can stomach the players of.

If you already have a force or two for FoW, that may shape your decision making process. One of Mongoose's orphans (Battlefield Evolution: World At War) would be my first choice in that case, as it can handle (via the Gear Krieg book) group basing. If I'm still contemplating purchases or have bags and blisters of minis but no painting or basing invested yet, I'll look further afield.

Martian Root Canal07 Feb 2012 10:11 a.m. PST

I love Battlefront: WW2. I play FOW, too, on occasion.

kevanG07 Feb 2012 10:13 a.m. PST

interesting choice of boards to crosspost to..

…ww2 discussion or ww2 rules not considered relevant?

epturner Supporting Member of TMP07 Feb 2012 10:15 a.m. PST

Battlefront, if that's your sort of level of complexity and level of operations.

Really, it is a silly question.

I play both, one for a mindless game, one for a game that's equally as mindless, but without a Division Level gun line on the table top.


Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian07 Feb 2012 10:17 a.m. PST

Moving up in scope, down in scope or staying the same?

I would say, "staying the same" – otherwise, it's not really an alternative.

Frederick Supporting Member of TMP07 Feb 2012 10:27 a.m. PST

I play WWII grand tactical with Spearhead and Skirmish with NutS!

That being said, while I don't play FoW it seems to me that those who like it, like it a lot

Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian07 Feb 2012 10:33 a.m. PST

Trolling Warning

I will enforce the "no trolling" rule, if there are any further insult-type posts on this topic.

indierockclimber07 Feb 2012 10:34 a.m. PST

Thank you, Editor.

I've heard good things about Blitzkrieg Commander but have not played- anyone care to shed some light on it for me?

Little Big Wars07 Feb 2012 10:35 a.m. PST

Crossfire – hands down the best Company vs. Company WWII infantry game ever in print.

kevanG07 Feb 2012 10:40 a.m. PST

trust me to quote an insult eh?

Personal logo miniMo Supporting Member of TMP07 Feb 2012 10:41 a.m. PST

I think any WW2 games inbetween Skirmish and Operational level are about the same scope. Troop ratios are more or less nominal. I made a genuine considered choice between Flames of War and Blitzkrieg Commander.

I had played Command Decision since it first came out, but didn't think that the Test of Battle edition went far enough in speeding up the game mechanics. Looking around for alternatives, I narrowed my choice down to FOW and BKC. Read and compared both rulebooks.

As game systems, they both seemed to have reasonable quick play mechanics for my taste. What won me over was the clarity of the rules presentation and layout in Blitzkrieg Commander. BKC has copious examples of play which are instantly distinguishable as separate from the actual rules text. FOW takes more effort to sort out the fluff content from the actual rules.

I'm not at all a FOW hater, I just went with the book whose layout was easier for me to quickly look up rules.

VonBurge07 Feb 2012 10:55 a.m. PST

I've heard good things about Blitzkrieg Commander but have not played- anyone care to shed some light on it for me?

Based of Rick Priestly's Warmaster system
Elements (stands) are usually platoon strength
Command rolls for activation of groups of elements. Some units may function multiple times, or not at all but units within close range (20cm) always get to function once with some limitation on options.
Uses a hits/save system.
Multi-scaled for miniatures but "targeted" for 10mm (I play this when I want to break out my 10mm stuff and run Combat Command or Brigade sized Kampfgrouppe).
The is a modern and future variant using the same core rules.

More at: link

@miniMo, I went through the same thought process as you and made the same call going with BKC for a few years. But as FoW increased in popularity locally I started playing that as well to both have fun with my mates and also to help them get more out FoW from the historical perspective than I was observing.
I still see BKC as a "higher" level game than FoW, but maybe that's more a function of the size of games I set up with it which tend to be at least brigade plus. Also, FWIW V3 FoW did a much better job on clarity and visual examples, so take look when you get a chance.


Steve6407 Feb 2012 10:58 a.m. PST

I still like Mall Wright's old school WW2 rules that we were using in the 70s sometime.

Cant remember the name – Battlefield WW2, or Battlefront WW2 ? something like that.

Great mix of fast play rules, cool ideas, and just enough detail in the tank vs tank tables. Years of great fun battles using those rules and all the extensions.

He should seriously publish them again !

Gunny B07 Feb 2012 11:02 a.m. PST

indierockclimber I've bought the rules for BCdr but haven't played it yet. Whilst it superfically can look the same as FoW, i.e. 15mm, there are some concepts I'm having trouble with. eg any tank can kill any tank. So a group of T60's can kill a King Tiger. The Russian player will have to roll well to manage the 6 hits in one turn needed to kill it mind you.

Also the HQ units are more like a marker rather than an actual unit on the board. If the enemy get to close you are forced to move your HQ x distance away from them, which does have associated penalties. You can't actually kill them.

The army lists are all in the rule book but are very basic. Fine for friendly/scenario gaming mind you.

The example battlegroup photo's are outstanding though. All 15mm stuff and yards of it, looks very good!

Will try and get the guys to give it a go one day, but prying them, (and me), from FoW is proving a little difficult.

(VonBurges post clearly explains the game better than mine!)

VonBurge07 Feb 2012 11:12 a.m. PST

Gunny B,

I'm having trouble with. eg any tank can kill any tank. So a group of T60's can kill a King Tiger. The Russian player will have to roll well to manage the 6 hits in one turn needed to kill it mind you.

I so love that about BKC!!! Really wish we had less "invulnerability" in FoW.

Here's the deal as I see it. It's not all about armor penetrations. There's mobility kills (track hits) and other damage that can knock a tank out of action. Those are often enough to compel the crew to beat feet. BKC has a bit of that and I wish that FoW did too.

Cheers, VB

Warcolours Painting Studio Fezian07 Feb 2012 11:17 a.m. PST

Company level Crossfire: one of the best game systems I have ever seen. For smaller engagements Rules of Engagement and Operation Squad

Yesthatphil07 Feb 2012 11:23 a.m. PST

I like PBI which seems to be about the same size, physically, and is a 1:1 company level game. It is played on a squared board with locally significant impulses of action coming from PP/RFCM's motivation and action points system. In that way it is very different to FoW, so a good alternative.


(PBI Eastern Front game)

I use a lot of FoW kit in my PBI games.


Big Red Supporting Member of TMP07 Feb 2012 11:27 a.m. PST

"Crossfire hands down the best Company vs. Company WWII infantry game ever in print."

Here, here. The only difficulty I have with Crossfire is with multi-player games.

Pan Marek Supporting Member of TMP07 Feb 2012 11:44 a.m. PST

The posts here reveal the lack of rulesets which match the "tactical, but not skirmish, and with armor" scale of FoW. Either one goes to BKC or SH level, or one goes down to one to one scale, most of which are skirmish rules.
Those that get out of skirmish level seem to be essentially infantry sets. I'm currently looking into Battlefront WWII, and the rules seem reality-based, but the endlsess issues about whether or not one can sight (see/spot) the intended target turns my group off.

darthfozzywig Supporting Member of TMP07 Feb 2012 11:59 a.m. PST

One could always play Advanced Squad Leader. Definitely playable with minis and has enough (some would say 'too much') crunch.

Derek H07 Feb 2012 12:00 p.m. PST

For his definition of "trolling" the Editor seems to have decided that the most important feature for "alternatives" to FoW is that they are company level WWII games.

I'd suggest that these characteristics are probably not at the top of the list of things that attract many FoW players to the game.

Discussion here, and elsewhere on the Internet, suggests that many of them attach a very high value indeed to the fact that they can choose troops from a list for points based "pick-up games" and/or tournaments. They also seem to value the fact that FoW has a very large player base, at least in some parts of the world.

There are no other WWII games with these characteristics so I'd suggest that if they were really looking for an alternative game that meets their tastes, this type of player would probably be well advised to look beyond WWII at other historical periods, ancients for example, where points based pick up play is common, or even to SF or Fantasy where it seems to be the norm.

21eRegt07 Feb 2012 12:00 p.m. PST

First of all, I play FoW. Not excited about it, but I play it regularly. My game of choice would be either Command Decision or BKCII (Blitzkrieg Commander II). CD is the least tank heavy, which is a pro and a con for the average gamer. I don't find it in any way more chart intensive than FoW, but it does have the "issue" where you don't necessarily see the enemy just because they can see you. BKCII plays well too but has the incredible regenerating troll tanks rule.

I don't see scale as an issue. Each player typically ends up playing with 1-2 dozen infantry stands and 6-12 fighting vehicles, regardless. Command and the ability to issue commands matters most in CD, then BKCII and finally FoW. That is important to me, your results may vary.

I've learned to relax and have fun with each, thanks to the gamers I play with.

kevanG07 Feb 2012 12:07 p.m. PST

PBI, IABSM and crossfire are all very good company level games that do a good job at capturing aspects of ww2 combat. They are not at the scope of fow as they are company level with company level support. A troop of tanks is about your limit unless you go multiplayer..(not for crossfire, It doesn't do multiplayer very well) . Experienced players in these games can rattle through a game in just over an hour.

For a game which has artillary on table,BKC and spearhead are both good games, but are brigade level games.

The closest to the scope of FOW are Battlefront ww2 and Battlegroup panzergrenadier, but are higher scale for most things…and yes, that is a reference to the sliding scale

I don't think that this list is extensive, Just a top 7.

It would be hard to say what is 'best' since that is dependant on the purpose of the game to the player. If it had to be a points based competitive game, then only PBI and BKC would fit that bill.

If it was a one on one game for tension, then Crossfire.

If it was for a laugh with mates , then IABSM is in that fight, but PBI is in there too.

If its strategic fun and tactical nuances mixed with command emphasis you want then Spearhead, BGPG and battlefront ww2 are likely men for the job.

All of these cover part of the scope that fow does (and normally more outside of it's scope either going down or up)

Thats a starter…I am sure others that I have played and forgotten about will also spring up in this thread.

Personal logo Herkybird Supporting Member of TMP07 Feb 2012 12:09 p.m. PST

Having tried writing WW2 rules myself, I think its one of the most difficult periods to write for!
I say find a set you can get others to play with you and go for it, if its FOW, Spearhead or whatever.

Everyone has their own angle on how WW2 was, so no set will suit everyone.

Dont like Crossfire though! – Sorry!

kevanG07 Feb 2012 12:13 p.m. PST

It takes ten minutes to post and half the points I mention have just been confirmed in previous posts. Hey… they must be true…I read it on the internet.

Only Warlock07 Feb 2012 12:58 p.m. PST

I like the "Battlegroup Panzergrenadier" rules by General de Brigade a lot. Great production standards, too.

TMP link

NigelM07 Feb 2012 1:15 p.m. PST

As an alternative to FoW I would say Kampfgruppe Normandy, aimed at a similar level, points based games, some special rules etc. Not my preferred set for this level which would be IABSM3 and BFWWII for larger games.

Sparker07 Feb 2012 1:16 p.m. PST

Its really quite revealing isn't it?

What a penetrating question for Bill to ask (hope he's not a damned lawyer by trade?)

FOW V3 then, presumably?

Only Warlock07 Feb 2012 1:28 p.m. PST

I think it's an honest enough question. He got a nice broad set of responses, too.

Who asked this joker07 Feb 2012 1:31 p.m. PST

Battlefront WW2 if I am so inclined. From the guys that brought you Fire and Fury.

Grand Duke Natokina07 Feb 2012 1:32 p.m. PST

We still prefer our own home grown rules.

Wargamer Blue07 Feb 2012 1:41 p.m. PST

Blitzkrieg Commander. When I stopped playing FOW I went to BKC. So much more an enjoyable game for me. Straight forward rules. No need for re-basing etc. A friendly forum. The whole war (including the pacific) and theatre specific army list are all covered in the one rulebook. A free army list builder on the Blitzkrieg Commander website. It's all good.


This is why I've been away from WW2 for a while. That and no desire to up grade to 15mm from 6.

Personal logo Patrick R Supporting Member of TMP07 Feb 2012 1:48 p.m. PST

I aint been shot mum, Blitzkrieg Commander, Kampfgruppe Commander, Battlefront WWII …

Onomarchos07 Feb 2012 2:25 p.m. PST

Kampfgruppe Normandy for the reasons Nigel gives.


Nick Bowler07 Feb 2012 3:41 p.m. PST

Many years ago I decided to test out several sets of WWII rules to see if there were any I liked more that FOW. I took a scenario from Battlefront WWII and planned to play it with Battlefront WWII, Kampfgruppe Commander, Blitzkrieg Commander, and FOW.

The scenario was a village being defended by Russian infantry with AT guns, attacked by German Panzers (and, if I remember, some motorised infantry). The Germans had to take the village by turn 10.

When played with battlefront WWII the battle was a nail biter, with the Germans winning at the last possible moment.

Same for FOW.

Same for Kampfgruppe Commander.

I think at this point I decided it was easier to stick with one set of rules, and never actually got around to Blitzkrieg Commander (though I did play some other scenarios with those rules).

It was interesting that although the rules played differently, when you stepped back and looked at the overall result there was not much of a difference!

Etranger07 Feb 2012 4:41 p.m. PST

I still like Mall Wright's old school WW2 rules that we were using in the 70s sometime.

Cant remember the name Battlefield WW2, or Battlefront WW2 ? something like that.

Great mix of fast play rules, cool ideas, and just enough detail in the tank vs tank tables. Years of great fun battles using those rules and all the extensions.

He should seriously publish them again !

Yes, a good set, I've still got mine, although it's very dogeared. There is actually one lonely set still sitting on the shelves in the local shop if anyone wants a copy! They're nominally at a higher level of command though, roughly equivalent to Rapid Fire.

Lion in the Stars07 Feb 2012 4:47 p.m. PST

@Nick Bowler: That's an interesting result. It's not what I would have immediately expected, but it is what *should* happen. If the games have the same rough balance between infantry, armor, and artillery, then you should see similar results between them.

Theron07 Feb 2012 5:08 p.m. PST

I think this is a reasonable question. I have only played a handful of games of Flames of War, a handful of Mein Panzer and one game of Crossfire – all low level WWII games. I had read about Crossfire and it appealed to me so I wasn't surprised that I liked it more than the other two. Crossfire has a natural movement and flow that matches what I imagine WWII to have been like. The other two both have a sort of Napoleonic feel with two armies arrayed on opposite sides of the table slowly struggling toward each other, slowed down more by rules checking and distance measuring than by enemy fire! Let's face it most wargames are very slow moving and only appeal to die hard history fans. I look forward to playing some more Crossfire because it seems to break that mold.

Mr Elmo07 Feb 2012 5:49 p.m. PST

IF I stopped playing FoW, I would switch to Blitzkrieg Commander.

basileus6607 Feb 2012 10:42 p.m. PST

I have enjoyed Kampfgruppe Normandy; although I am now in the process of re-building a FoW company -I did sell the ones I had three years ago-.

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