World War II remains a popular era for tabletop wargamers, with a wide range of systems available to choose from. Flames of War is one of the most popular systems in this genre, known for its fast-paced gameplay and focus on combined-arms tactics. However, there are many other systems that offer a different take on the World War II wargaming experience.
In this post, I’m going to look at five alternative systems to Flames of War, that provide a fresh take on this period of war.
Battlegroup, made by Plastic Soldier Company, is a company-level World War II tabletop wargame that features a comprehensive and detailed rules system. It’s actually the ruleset I’ve played the most and would probably be my defacto set of rules.
The game places a strong emphasis on realistic troop behavior and unit capabilities, and it offers a large selection of different theaters and scenarios to play through. I’ve got the rules for the Eastern Front, Normandy, North Africa and a few others. Battlegroup’s focus on realism and historical accuracy make it a great choice for wargamers who want a more historically-based wargaming experience. I believe if you’re looking for the Italian theatre, you’ll have to hold out a bit longer though.
Like most alternative systems to 15mm Flames of War, Battlegroup can in theory play at any scale, however its mostly designed for 15-20mm with individually based teams / infantrymen. You can currently pick up the great ruleset for as little as £16 from PSC.
Bolt Action is a 28mm scale tabletop wargame that offers a more tactical game at the platoon level. The game features a points-based army building system that is probably the most straight forward from our list of Flames of War alternatives.
Bolt Action’s simple and intuitive rules system makes it a great option for both beginner and experienced wargamers, while the random-order-of-play mechanic is one of its greatest strengths (in my eyes).
Infact both Bolt Ation and Konflikt ’47 are likely to be the easiest ruleset out of these alternatives, so a really good way of getting into wargaming.
Bolt Action is one of the larger scales in the list, being mainly played at 28mm. Models are usually individually based, unlike FoW. It is produced by Warlord Games and the latest, 2016, Second Edition rulebook can be picked up for about £30.
Chain of Command
Chain of Command is a skirmish wargame that focuses on small unit actions and infantry-based combat. The game features a unique order system that allows players to control the flow of the game, as well as a focus on realistic troop behavior and morale.
With its emphasis on infantry tactics and troop psychology, Chain of Command offers a more immersive and tactical wargaming experience.
Unlike Flames of War, Chain of Command is also a system that is usable for more modern theatres of war.
CoC is produced by TooFatLardies, who are currently producing the Chain of Command rulebook for £26, or just £5 for it in PDF format.
Konflikt ’47 is a science-fiction twist on World War II, imagining a world where the war continues into the late 1940s and advanced technologies such as powered armor and alien artifacts come into play. The game features a fast-paced and action-packed gameplay, with a focus on armored and mechanized warfare.
Konflikt ’47 offers a unique take on World War II wargaming and provides an exciting and alternate history scenario for players to explore. It is made by Warlord Games, the same as Bolt Action, and shares many features and mechanics.
One drawback of Konflict ’47 is that depending on where you are in the world, you may struggle to get suitable minis. The weird and wonderful minis aren’t as universal as generic WW2 soldiers. This is often played at 28mm scale, just like Bolt Action.
If you’re looking to drastically step away from the Flames of War stlye of play, Blitzkrieg Commander is probably right for your money. 2nd edition was created by Ian Brody and then published in 2006 by Pendraken Miniatures. It is a fast-paced, World War II-themed game that allows players to simulate large-scale battles and tactical engagements, while playing a bit loose with some general core controls or mechanics.
Their rules boasts:
- command system that emphasizes the fog of war in a simple but effective manner
- the same mechanism for casualty resolution throughout
- rules for infantry, tanks, recce, artillery, aircraft, engineers, fortifications & weather
- flexible figure ratio meaning a base of infantry represents either a section or a platoon
Although their website is rather dated (that seems a theme in WW2 games producers!), you can pick up their rules relatively cheaply.
Flames of War is a popular and well-regarded World War II wargame, but there are many alternative systems that offer a fresh take on this classic period. While I definitely haven’t played all of the systems out there (who has?!), I hope this article has at least shed some light on some new titles you might find interesting.
Whether you’re looking for a more tactical and realistic experience, a science-fiction twist on World War II, or a fast-paced and action-packed wargame, there is a system out there for you. These five systems are just a few examples of the many alternatives available to World War II tabletop wargamers, and each one provides a unique and engaging wargaming experience for players to enjoy.