15mm Shermans advance up a road.

World War II – Where We Are Now

World War II has long been a mainstay of wargaming and is a personal favourite of mine. There are a huge number of systems out there for WW2 and a bewildering range of manufacturers to get models from in a wide range of scales.

We have quite a few players who are in to this period for gaming. For someone like myself, who jumped into WW2 gaming straight from Sci-Fi and Fantasy systems, there are a number of surprises. Scale, for example, was a big one. In most of the systems I’d played previously there was one manufacturer for each game, who made minis in one scale (often for one price – oodles – but we’ll get to that later). The idea that I could get say, Sherman tanks, in 15mm, 20mm and 28mm from any number of manufacturers was something of a revelation for my poor old brain.

Like I said, there are a lot of WW2 systems out there. Mostly we play Bolt Action and Flames of War in 28mm and 15mm respectively. If you want to bring along your favourite to one of our meets you will be most welcome – though if it’s in a scale we don’t usually play you might want to bring two armies.

Bolt Action (28mm)

Probably our most popular system, Bolt Action is a game that has taken off in recent years. It is a game of platoon level combat with source books for pretty much every nation that fought in the war. For those not familiar with military terms from the modern period, a platoon usually consists of between 15 and 30 soldiers (or figures in our case).

Bolt Action is a fun, fast playing system that was the first historical system that many of us played – myself included. For someone like myself, coming from a background in fantasy and sci-fi gaming, Bolt Action is also a surprisingly cheap system to get into – Warlord has starter armies that are full sized 1000 point armies and which usually sell for something in the vicinity of $150.

1000 points, by the way, is the standard size for Bolt Action games, which makes these starter boxes amazing value compared to some systems where you pay for a “starter” army that gets you less than half way to something you can play a normal game with.

We have an active Bolt Action scene at our meets and have recently been playing some 2v2 games using a 2 bag system developed by some of our players. I am also working on a campaign system for Bolt Action, which I will hopefully post here soon.

Flames of War (15mm)

Flames of War is another very popular system covering World War II (and a number of other 20th century conflicts). In its third version now, Flames is a game focussed on company level engagements (a company is usually made up of several platoons).

Flames of War is a very comprehensive rules system – for example it has two pages on opposed river crossings. Fortunately its central mechanics are quite straight-forward and they are all you need 90% of the time.

We have a number of people who enjoy playing Flames of War. Typically our games are big affairs, with several players or at least several thousand points. Branching out into Total War games is likely in the near future.

Posted in 20th Century & Beyond (1900 to now).

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