Flames of War
Flames of War is, most probably, one of the biggest miniature wargame sets ever (we say probably as Crossfire is also pretty extensive). This set will have you tinkering around with pieces from across the different parts of the Second World War. The rule has three different editions, but new players should not fret as the third edition rulebooks are pretty easy to grasp.
One thing to remember about Flames of War is that it has a very ‘by the book' approach to gameplay. So yes, other players would appreciate it if you study the material beforehand (though folks would also understand if you admit being completely new and want to learn). Movement is done measuring tools (you can go with centimeters or inches), so be sure to check the rulebook for any supplies you will need. Since the stats of units are reliant on their real world counterparts, a little bit of background on WWII specs would also go a long way in this game.
Wings of War: WW2
Wings of War is a pretty fun miniature wargame that focuses on aerial combat. That said, more often than not, folk who purchase the set pieces for this game might be doing it just for the miniatures. You see, the little airplanes for Wings of War are very well detailed –for their size of course. This means that you get to have a nice looking collection even if you do not like playing war games. But of course, we are here to talk about the games.
The sets for Wings of War will provide you with a lot of content: there is the basic rules that will teach you about the basics of the game, the all important altitude rules which allow players to obtain the necessary Z axis which is a big factor of aerial engagements (this also means you have to think in three dimensions instead of just two). There are scenarios for players who like having something else other than the usual ‘kill all opposing pieces' type of game. We highly suggest going for the Deluxe set on this one since it provides all the necessary reading material plus some useful pre-made add-ons like measuring tools, tokens, and such.
Crossfire is getting a lot of exposure among players of miniature war games for it's very simplistic rules. While that may seem odd, the simplified approach to combat gives this set a lot of flexibility and accessibility –it also cuts away a huge chunk of time spent debating about whether you are in range of a weapon or not (which gets even more math-crazy once you factor in the altitude for ballistics). In Crossfire, units are either in point blank range or not. If you are not in point blank range it becomes a toss up based on whether you have line of sight or not. As long as unit is within line of sight, you can shoot it.
This also makes the game well suited for infantry combat more than anything else. Instead of just being support units for larger heavy machines, infantry in Crossfire can be devastating if used properly.
Axis and Allies: War at Sea: Surface Action
War at Sea: Surface Action focuses on ship to ship combat –this means that if you were hoping for a little bit of U-Boat combat, you will want to bring in another set to the game. In exchange for not having to care for depth charges, the game puts a lot of emphasis on the use of aerial units. With carriers and battleships bringing most of the heavy firepower in the game, that is not surprising at all. It also helps that the game's figures are very well detailed (and this is even better since there are some historically unique ships in the game as well –like the USS Wasp and Bismark).
Axis and Allies: Counter Offensive 1941-1943
We are wrapping up this list with A&A's Counter Offensive 1941-1943 because if you wanted to have a grand scale war, this is the set you will want to do it with. These miniatures feature units from over a dozen countries, so yes, even bit players like Croatia, New Zealand, and Yugoslavia are represented alongside the Soviets, Japanese, British, American, and German forces.