|The Wargate opens to (there/here), (now/then).|
Flames of War is organized a little differently than most of the games we're used to playing. Rather than having a centralized game / conflict with various manuals to cover the different factions in the game, such as Army Books and Codeci, Flames of War focuses on different "phases" of the war. In addition to this, the "theater" chosen dictates what forces are available and how much each unit costs.
The "phases" of the war are easy to understand. The second World War was an arms race, and early in the war the weapons used were the ones developed in the 1930's. As time marched on, guns and tanks grew bigger and nastier. The old pieces were rendered inferior or destroyed. This is represented by splitting the game up into three "sections" or "phases", called Eras in the game. In succession, these are Early War, Mid War and Late War.
In choosing a theater, you have a lot of options depending on era. North Africa? Check. The Eastern Front? Check. How about the Allied invasion of the West? Yeah. All of these are awesome, but when attempting to get people into the game, especially a club, it's best to choose an era and theater that everyone can get behind. Take a look, do some research and decide what you want to fight over. Unlike many other games, there is a strong historical drive associated with this game. You don't have to be a purist, but it helps.
For our game club, we have chosen the Eastern Front as our theater. Books are available for Mid and Late War eras. Though the Late War is the most popular, the Wargate has chosen to focus on the Mid War era for a number of reasons, mostly because it's got the what we perceive as a good balance of technology. Not too low or too high. We chose the Eastern Front as the theater we would focus on mostly because it was the most intensely grueling, longest and bloodiest conflict. Also, it's totally metal.
Generally speaking, no matter what theater you choose, as long as an army is from the same era you can guarantee a balanced match. That's how tournaments can be organized to make things more or less "fair". Yet for structured campaigns, it's kinda strange seeing Americans fight Soviets...at least if you doing straight historical like we are. Could be an interesting direction for other clubs to go...
We have the Eastern Front books for the Late War era, but if you're planning on gaming with us you should stay with Mid War. Late War stuff is available (not all of it) at a premium in this era, so you should be able to use most models available. That means you're really limited to either the Eastern Front or North Africa volumes. However, you'll find a world of choice in those two books.
Now, that's not to say that we wouldn't bring up forces for Early or Late War campaigns if someone were to organize them. However, since we're the only ones organized at present we must encourage the purchase of those two volumes and models to accompany them. As far as I know, all the boxed starter sets contain models that can be used in Mid or Late War, so don't fret and pick up an Achtung! or Open Fire! from our friendly neighborhood game store, The Cave.
And tell 'em Dave sent you.