Flames of War

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Flames of War
The World War II Miniatures Game
Cover of 2nd Edition Rulebook
Publisher(s) Battlefront Miniatures Ltd
Publication date 2002
Years active 2002 - present
Genre(s) table top wargaming
Players 2-4
Website http://www.flamesofwar.com

Flames of War (abbreviated as FoW) is a World War II tabletop miniatures wargame produced by the New Zealand company Battlefront Miniatures Ltd. The 1st Edition set of rules was published in 2002.

Flames of War allows players to wargame company level battles from the European, Pacific and North African Theatres of World War Two, using 1/100 scale miniatures (15 mm figure scale) and miniature armour. In the 1st Edition rulebook basic army lists were provided for the mid-war period (1942–1943), while Battlefront published early (1939–1941) and late war (1944–1945) army lists on their website (subsequently these early and late war lists were removed). The 2nd Edition of the rulebook was published in 2006. The 3rd Edition of the rules was released on March 10, 2012. The 4th Edition rules were released in March, 2017.


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 to quickly learn the rules. The game is optimised for two players, although it can be played by a larger number of players playing against each other or grouped in teams.

Play revolves around company-level tactics, with each stand or element representing an infantry fireteam (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 fighter bombers (like the Hawker Hurricane) and ground attack aircraft (like the Ilyushin Il-2 "Shturmovik"), with aircraft generally being represented by 1:144 scale models.

The main rulebook has numerous scenarios players can use for their games, with all of these scenarios centered on capturing objectives. Additional army sourcebooks contain further scenarios, usually centered on historical events relevant to that particular book. Game play utilizes six-sided dice to pass various skill tests used to shoot at enemies or pass motivation based tests. Movement distances and weapon ranges are provided in both inches and centimeters and are usually measured with tape measures or other measuring aides. Tokens are used to indicate pinned down troops, bogged down vehicles etc.

Current army sourcebooks are based on particular campaigns and include army lists for the German (Wehrmacht) forces (such as Afrika Korps, Waffen SS and Luftwaffe ground troops), the U.S. Army (including Rangers and Airborne units), the armies of United Kingdom and Commonwealth (India, Australia, Canada, South Africa, and New Zealand), the Red Army of the Soviet Union, (including the Soviet 8ya Gvardeyskiy Strelkovy Korpus), the Italian army (including elite Bersaglieri and Paracadutisti, regular Fucilieri, and fascist Blackshirts paramilitaries), as well as nations that played as smaller role such as the Poles, Hungarians, Finns, and Romanians. Sourcebooks have so far been restricted to the European theater and Mediterranean theater; Battlefront has 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[edit]

Battlefront divides World War II into three periods. Early-war (1939–41), mid-war (1942–43) and late-war (1944–45). Each period has its own point values aimed at recreating actual battle situations that would have occurred during the respective time periods. Sourcebooks are compiled to represent forces from one of the time periods, some only cover specific battles (Blood, Guts, and Glory, Devil's Charge, etc.) other books cover broad campaigns with lists that span multiple years (North Africa, Eastern Front, etc.).

To play Flames of War you will need a Rulebook and a Source book containing Army Lists. The current rules are found in the Fourth Edition Rule Book, of which there are actually two. One covers the Early War and Late War periods and helps players effectively upgrade their Third Edition armies to Fourth Edition rules. The other rulebook covers the Mid War period only and sourcebooks containing army lists have now been released to accompany this new Fourth Edition. For tournament play, players are typically allowed to include either (depending on the tournament organizer) Third edition source books and selected "Web Briefings" published on Battlefront's web site, or, Fourth edition source books during this period of transition.

Fourth Edition Rulebooks and Sourcebooks[edit]

  • Flames of War - Rule Book V4, released 2017, FW007 covers Mid-War period only.
  • Flames of War - Rule Book V4, released 2017 Free, FW008 covers Early-War & Late-War period allowing players to upgrade Third Edition armies to Fourth Edition rules.

Early-War period Sourcebooks[edit]

None have been released yet but you can upgrade your Third Edition Armies by using the Fourth Edition Rulebook specifically covering the Early War and Late War periods.

Mid-War period Sourcebooks[edit]

  • Desert Rats released in Feb 2017 covers North Africa British desert forces 1942-43
  • Afrika Korps released in Mar 2017 covers North Africa German desert forces 1942-43
  • Avanti released in Jan 2018 covers Italian North Africa desert forces 1942-43
  • Fighting First released in Dec 2017 covers U.S. North Africa desert forces 1942-43
  • Armoured Fist released in April 2018, covers North Africa British desert forces 1942-43
  • Iron Cross to be released in late 2018, covers German forces at the Battle of Stalingrad 1942-1943
  • Enemy at the Gates to be released in late 2018, covers Soviet forces at the Battle of Stalingrad 1942-1943

Late-War period Sourcebooks[edit]

  • Armies Of Late War, released early 2018, covers the US, German, British, and Soviet forces.

Alternatively you can upgrade your Third Edition Armies by using the Fourth Edition Rulebook specifically covering the Early War and Late War periods.

Third Edition sourcebooks[edit]

Third Edition Sourcebooks are currently being replaced by Fourth Edition Sourcebooks, however during this period of transition you can upgrade your Third Edition Armies by using the Fourth Edition Rulebook specifically covering the Early War and Late War periods.

Early-War period[edit]

  • Barbarossa, released Oct 2014 covers German forces invading the Soviet Union. Operation Barbarossa began a struggle of epic proportions that would result in four years of bitter fighting between the Germans and Soviets. It all began in the early hours of 22 June 1941 with a German surprise attack across the border of the Soviet Union with three army groups and 3.8 million Axis soldiers.
  • Rising Sun, April 6, 2016 July 2013, covers the Soviet Union's early war operations in the Winter War against Finland, as well as their operations against the Japanese Empire. This book represents the first official lists for the Pacific Theater of Operations.

Late-War period[edit]

  • Berlin, released June 2015, covers Soviet forces during the Battle of Berlin. The culmination of Flames Of War’s Late-War period, the Berlin intelligence handbook focuses on the Soviet assault on the German capital city of Berlin, the battles to encircle it, and the final desperate defence by the rag-tag German forces.
  • Nachtjager, released in Dec 2012, covers The Battle For Northern Germany in the months of March - May 1945
  • The Battle of the Bulge, released Sept 2016, covers Allied Forces on the German Border, Sep 1944 – Feb 1945 and The Ardennes Offensive: German Forces in Lorraine and the Ardennes, Sep 1944 – Feb 1945. Replaces Blood, Guts, and Glory, Devil’s Charge and Nuts.
  • The Ardennes Offensive, released in , covers German Forces in Lorraine and the Ardennes, Sep 1944–Feb 1945 Replaces Blood, Guts, and Glory, Devil’s Charge and Nuts.
  • Bulge, Compilations Sept 2016 The Battle of the Bulge & The Ardennes Offensive in a special slip case.
  • Blood, Guts and Glory, released in April 2012, covers the fighting in Alsace and Lorraine. Includes lists for American Tank, Tank Destroyer and Armoured Infantry companies from September 1944 to the end of January 1945, as well as providing lists for the tanks and infantry of the Panzer Brigades that fought in this area.
  • Devil's Charge, released in July 2012, covers the fighting by the 6th Panzer Army in the Battle of the Bulge. Includes lists for Kampfgruppe Peiper and Skorzeny's Panzer Brigade 150. For the American's it covers the infantry, engineers, light tank and cavalry companies that fought from September 1944 to the end of January 1945.
  • Nuts!, released October 2012, covers the fighting around Bastogne and Operation Nordwind. Includes lists for US Paratroopers, Airborne Engineers and Glider Infantry of the 101st Airborne Division, as well as Volksgrenadiers, Schwere Panzerjager Abteilung 653 (with Jagdtigers) and the troops of the 25th Panzergrenadier and 17th SS-Panzergrenadier divisions.
  • Market Garden, released in February 2013, covers fighting by Allied Forces in Operation Market Garden. Includes lists for British, Polish and American Airborne forces and ground forces such as British 30th Armoured Corps. Also includes lists for Canadian forces that fought in the Battle of the Scheldt. Replaces A Bridge Too Far and Hell’s Highway.
  • Bridge by Bridge, released in February 2013, covers fighting by Axis Forces in Operation Market Garden. Includes German Fallschirmjäger, Wehrmacht and SS troops. Replaces A Bridge Too Far and Hell’s Highway.
  • Overlord, released in June 2013, covers the Allied invasion of Normandy. Replaces Turning Tide and Earth & Steel.
  • Atlantik Wall, released in June 2013, covers the defense and counterattacks of France by German forces. Replaces Turning Tide and Earth & Steel.
  • D-Day Overlord:Return to Normandy, Compilations Atlantik Wall & Overlord books in a special slip case.
  • Desperate Measures, announced for release in December 2013 in the October issue of Wargames Illustrated, will provide briefings and lists for the final Soviet push into Berlin.
  • Fortress Italy, released Dec 2014 covers German and Italian RSI fascist forces in Italy 1944-45. Replaces Dogs & Devils and Cassino. Contains the Hermann Göring Fallschirmpanzerdivision & troops defending the Gustav Line and Monte Cassino.
  • Road To Rome, released Dec 2014 covers Allied forces in Italy 1944-45. Contains British/Commonwealth, Polish, U.S. and French forces. Replaces Dogs & Devils and Cassino.
  • Italy Compilation, contains Road To Rome and Fortress Italy
  • Bridge at Remagen, released Oct 2017 covers the decisive battles in the Ruhr, Germany’s industrial heartland and center-stage for the last major fights between US and German forces
  • Gung Ho, released in Apr 2016 covers US Marine Corps Pacific Forces, Saipan and Okinawa. Island Landing and Atoll Landings. Books mark a change in format, concentrating on one nation rather than offering two opposing nations. Special Rules: Gung-Ho, Semper Fi, BAR Automatic Rifles and War Dogs rules.
  • Banzai, released in Apr 2016 covers Imperial Japanese Pacific Forces, four intelligence briefings, Special Rules: Battles Guadalcanal and Iwo Jima. Banzai Charge; Kendo; No Surrender; Seishien; Human Bullet; Banners; Regimental Standards; Hell By Day, Paradise By Night; and Envelopment.

Second Edition sourcebooks[edit]

Some, but not all, Second Edition Sourcebooks have already been replaced by Third Edition Sourcebooks. Those that have not already been replaced by Third Edition Sourcebooks are currently being replaced by Fourth Edition Sourcebooks, however, during this period of transition you can upgrade your Second Edition Armies by using the Fourth Edition Rulebook specifically covering the Early War and Late War periods.

Early-War period[edit]

  • Blitzkrieg, covering the Invasion of Poland and the Fall of France. includes Polish, French, British and German Lists.
  • Hellfire and Back, covering the early war battles in North Africa, it includes English, German and Italian Lists.
  • Burning Empires, a continuation of Early War battles in North Africa and Greece, it includes lists for Raiding Forces as well, including one American one.
  • Desert War: 1940-41, Contains Hellfire and Back and Burning Empires books.

Mid-War period[edit]

  • 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. Replaced by "Eastern Front" (see below).
  • Afrika, this covers the war in North Africa and Italy. Again this sourcebook includes both Axis and Allied forces, including their various allies.
  • Mid-War Monsters, this covers various experimental armoured fighting vehicles of World War Two, including the M6 Heavy Tank, the Boarhound Armoured Car, the Sturer Emil Self Propelled Anti-tank Gun, and the KV-5 Heavy Tank.
  • North Africa, this updates and replaces the Afrika sourcebook. The specific organizations for the Deutsches Afrikakorps and Italian forces in Libya and Egypt have been included. Forces are split into North African, Tunisia, Sicily, and Italy briefings. New forces previously not found in Afrika, such as British Airborne or a Panzerspähwagenkompanie, are included.
  • Eastern Front, this updates and replaces the Ostfront sourcebook similarly to the North Africa book. It was released January 9, 2010.

Late-War period[edit]

  • Festung Europa,[1] army lists for German, US, British and Soviet infantry, motorized, reconnaissance, and armoured forces.
  • D Minus 1, army lists for the Allied paratroop and air-landing units active in the European theater during January-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.
  • 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 three books to focus on Operation Bagration.
  • Fortress Europe was released on 15 November 2008[2] and updates Festung Europa to make it consistent with the new style of army lists and includes options added by PDF.
  • Hammer & Sickle, army lists for the drive on Minsk during Operation Bagration focusing on the Soviet Guards Divisions and German Sperrverband "Armoured Blocking Forces" and 505th German Tiger tank battalion. This is the second of three books to focus on Operation Bagration.
  • Firestorm - Bagration, a Campaign box focused on Operation Bagration
  • River Of Heroes, the last in the Bagration cycle, and focuses on the 3rd and 5th SS Panzer divisions, and the Soviet Sapper battalions.
  • Hell's Highway, the first book in the Market-Garden series, covering German Fallshirmjagers, the American 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions and the British Guards Armoured Division.
  • A Bridge too Far, the second and last book in the Market-Garden series, covering the battles for Oosterbeek and Arnhem.
  • Firestorm - Market Garden, a Campaign box focused on Operation Market-Garden.
  • Dogs and Devils, the first of two Italian front books, featuring the US 3rd Infantry Division, the 'Devils Brigade', and the Fallschirmpanzerdivision "Herman Goring".
  • Stalin's Europe, army lists for the German, Soviet, Hungarian and Romanian troops involved in the Siege of Budapest, 1944-45.
  • D-Day Slipcase, a case containing an expansion on many of the "Operation Overlord" source books. The box comprises: "Earth and Steel", containing a complement of German forces at the Atlantic wall; and "Turning Tide", the allied army lists of the operation. These books supersede D minus 1, D-Day, Bloody Omaha, Villers Bocage, Monty's Meatgrinder and Cobra, the Normandy Breakout, updating all the lists in them and adding new lists.
  • Cassino, released in June 2011, focusing on the battles around Monte Cassino.
  • Earth and Steel
  • Turning Tide
  • Grey Wolf, released in December 2011, covering the Axis Forces fighting on the Eastern Front from 1944 to 1945. It replaces Stalin's Onslaught, Hammer and Sickle, River of Heroes and Stalin's Europe, updating all the lists in them and adding new lists.
  • Red Bear, released in December 2011, covering the Allied Forces fighting on the Eastern Front from 1944 to 1945. It replaces Stalin's Onslaught, Hammer and Sickle, River of Heroes and Stalin's Europe, updating all the lists in them and adding new lists.

Both Grey Wolf and Red Bear have been revised, and are current to 3rd edition rules.

First Edition sourcebooks[edit]

These books have been replaced with the sourcebooks listed above which reflect the 2nd, 3rd or current 4th 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 armour and armoured infantry lists.
  • Hitler's Fire Brigade - German armour and armoured 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/armoured 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, armoured rifle and armoured 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.
  • Za Stalina - Soviet armour and cavalry forces.

Web briefings[edit]

Battlefront publishes additional army lists on their web site.[3] These lists are official Battlefront lists and are eligible to be played in many tournaments. Additionally, Battlefront will host "unofficial" briefings developed by fans, although such lists are generally not eligible for tournament play.

Models And availability[edit]

Battlefront Miniatures also has a line of multipart metal, resin, and plastic models, at roughly 15mm scale, for use in playing Flames of War. This includes models for ground forces, such as infantry, vehicles and field guns, along with a limited range of 1/144 model aircraft. The models are sold in blister packs and assorted boxed sets.

Other manufacturers produce 15mm figures for wargaming World War II, which can be used in addition to or instead of Battlefront's figures, in either private or tournament play.

To Battlefront's immense credit, they welcome the use of third party models, even in officially run tournaments, something which is rare among the community.


Battlefront supports the tournament scene that revolves around Flames of War. Flames of War tournaments are held across the world and through the Flames of War website players have access to listings of upcoming events through the Flames of War Events Calendar. Each area of the world has a specific events calendar that players can use to find events near them. In North America Battlefront promotes a National Tournament Season in which winners of regional tournaments are qualified to play in any of the three National Tournaments. Players winning an Overall Championship or Best General Award from the three Nationals receives an automatic invitation to the North America Masters tournament. Other spots on the Masters Tournament are filled by the top ranked players on the Rankings HQ website. Individuals, clubs, or shops wishing to run a Flames of War sponsored tournament can contact Battlefront through Battlefront's website.[4]


William Jones comments: "Historical miniature gamers will certainly continue the quest for the perfect new rules systems — the same quest that, in part, brought Phil Yates to create Flames of War. But his marvelous design offers quite a lot, especially to those tabletop tacticians who long for a game where strategy is dominant, who want to dedicate more time to plotting a battleplan and less to worrying about the rules. Flames of War boasts a wonderful balance between speed of play, detail, and flavor."[5]

Successor games[edit]

In November 2009, Battlefront announced Flames of War Vietnam - The Battle for la Drang. This rule set was released in Wargames Illustrated Magazine #266, and received a limited release of supporting models. In April 2011 Flames of War Vietnam was made a permanent rule set when the first sourcebook was added as a free addition to Wargames Illustrated Magazine #282, along with the re-release of the original miniatures (In new packaging) and several new box sets. In March 2013 the first softback released through the Flames of War brand rather than Wargames Illustrated was released. This book contained several lists previously seen in releases from Wargames Illustrated such as those for the United States as well as PAVN and will be supported by a full range of models. New forces include those from ARVN, the ANZAC Brigade sent to Vietnam, as well as new force diagrams for the United States and PAVN.

  • Tropic Lightning, the first official sourcebook for Vietnam. This release includes PAVN infantry as well as American armor, armored cavalry, armored infantry, and air-mobile infantry.
  • Tour of Duty, first softback book released independently from Wargames Illustrated. Players can take forces from PAVN, ARVN, The United States, and the aforementioned ANZAC Brigade.
  • Fate of a Nation, was a Wargames Illustrated released sourcebook for the Six-Day War. Released in late 2013, blisters and boxsets of models were released soon afterward.
  • Great War (2015), first source book for World War One battles of 1918. Models were released in 2014, 100 years after the beginning of World War One.
  • Team Yankee (2015), source book regarding a hypothetical World War III in the autumn of 1985, in Central Europe including the Fulda Gap.
  • "Flames in the Skies", a pet project of Phil Yates, a system similar to the X-Wing miniatures game; a dog fighting system set during the Second World War, with an unknown release date.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ German for Fortress Europe
  2. ^ Flames of War: Fortress Europe Spotlight
  3. ^ Official Web Briefings
  4. ^ ["Upcoming Flames Of War Events in North America," Flames of War, retrieved 10/23/2011, http://www.flamesofwar.com/hobby.aspx?art_id=1984]
  5. ^ Jones, William (2007). "Flames of War". In Lowder, James. Hobby Games: The 100 Best. Green Ronin Publishing. pp. 113–115. ISBN 978-1-932442-96-0. 

External links[edit]

  • Flames of War at BoardGameGeek
  • Wargaming Recon gaming blog and podcast focusing on War at Sea, Flames of War, historical and New England gaming.
  • Wargames Spain Spanish Flames of War community, competitions and challenges, tactics, army rosters, explained rules, after action reports, painting, modelling and scenery.
  • Times of War e-zine Free electronic magazine focusing on Flames of War and other historical wargames: history, rules, tactics, after action reports and scenarios.