Warhammer Ancient Battles
WAB, or simply, Warhammer Historical is just a ruleset; while this may not seem like much, the updated second edition features a pretty extensive and fulfilling set up for those of you who like their battles to be based on less-fictitious armies. Wanna see how the Spanish Conquistadors would fare against the armies of the Three Kingdoms-era in China? WAB has the rules (and supplement) that covers it. The big bonus here is that if you already play any of the other Warhammer titles, then you have a good grasp of the system (though learning it from scratch is easy too). Sadly, the second edition and current supplements are all that is available of this series as Warhammer Historical will no longer be updated.
Taking all the cumbersome bits such as turn-counting and using rulers, Crossfire has become a pretty great choice for players who want to concentrate on other aspects of tabletop wargames. It play less like chess and more like a real time strategy game -greatly changing the way you can perceive movement and action. In many ways, Crossfire delivers a pretty straightforward approach to wargames, but it also requires a lot of practice in order to play it efficiently.
Axis and Allies: Air Miniatures: Angels 20
The best thing about the Angels 20 series is the amount of detail on the planes. Sure, there are some sets out there that have better paint jobs or more accurate depictions of the fuselage, but considering how easy it is to pick up an Axis and Allies kit, the Air Miniatures: Angel 20 is much better. We particularly love the FW 190A which its great canopy and wing detailing. And yes, the kit is already pre-painted which is a big plus for those of you who cannot afford the time to individually paint each piece in a kit. Despite the initial paintjob, it is still possible to add a few touches to the planes as well.
This is a pretty old piece by Adams & Clarke but the combat system aged pretty nicely since it manages to incorporate a lot of aspects such as troop morale, melee proficiency, shooting skills, and of course, armor. Culture purists may find the lack of accuracy a little off-putting, but as a core system, this ruleset can be applied to a wide variety of games. The champion system in Samurai Warfare is also a good thing as it allows players to focus on certain duels more.
Axis and Allies: War at Sea: Flank Speed
It is hard to not see the impressive detail of work in the Axis and Allies sets; and War at Sea's Flank Speed with get you started up with a nice 40 piece set that is already prepainted. While not as impressive as the Angels 20, the ships of Flank Speed look rather splendid when laid in formation. From the USS Arizona to the October Revolution, this is one set that is bound to make any naval warfare enthusiast giddy with delight. Since this set is also pre-painted, you can start playing with them right away. The colors on the models are quite good -even WWII buffs get these sets for collection purposes.
Wings of War: Fire from the Sky
The original Wings of War provided a pretty comprehensive system for players, and it was plenty useful for anyone who wanted to simulate dogfights and other airborne missions. Fire from the Sky expanded heavily on that and got even more in-depth; missions types are more varied than ever (one of our favorites is the inclusion of bombing runs), and there are even more new planes to add to your fleet. WWII fans will love the inclusion of the Falco II and the Hien.
Ancient & Medieval Wargaming
Probably one of the biggest of the rulesets on this list (or at least, the one that has the most content), Neil Thomas' Ancient and Medieval Wargaming provides players with an extensive ruleset for combat as well as stats for armies in the Biblical, Classica, Dark Age, and Medieval periods. The book also provides an in-depth look at each of the different eras' armies as well as some of their approaches to combat and fighting doctrines. Like other good rulesets, AMW's real value is in its' adaptability; you can add new armies from cultures not included in the rules. The combat is turn based and is reliant on how you set up the board -but do not worry about the details since the book provides clear instructions and information about it. Read our full review to find out more.
Flames of War: The World War 2
Undoubtedly one of the biggest games in the genre of WWII-themed tabletop wargames, Flames of War sports both impressive and dynamic rulesets, quick campaigns from expansions, and of course, and incredible range of miniatures that are very well detailed. There is a solid and active community of players, collectors, and even writers who are constantly keeping the series alive. If you are the type who likes to keep competition hot and heavy -then this is the set for you. Not only are the game's miniatures well worth owning, but there are also high-tier battles waiting for players who can make it to the tournaments.
Micro Armour: The Game: WW2
“Technological Research” has to be one of the best aspects of wargame simulation that Micro Armour has brought to the table -and for that reason alone, it secures a spot on this list. Still, the game does not revolve solely upong that one single game-evolving feature. The WWII set provides players with all the information they will need to create the armies of the many countries participating in all theaters of war -no matter which side they are on (Axis or Allies). The best part is that the set already comes with pre-made campaigns so you can play it immediately.