Well. I am gonna bite the bullet for Flames of War (FoW) - and in the process, delay my excursion into the Vietnam War. This past Sunday, I attended - but did not play in (due to my time constraints that day) - a local FoW tournament. This is what tipped me to it...there were 21 players! 21! I hung around for like 3 hours and watched several games - I saw some good players, and good sportsmanship - and - I saw folks having fun! I gotta tell ya, it resonated with me.
It was a "mid-war" get together and I saw the ever present Germans and Americans, but also saw a couple Soviet players, a couple Italian players and several British players - one was even British Paras! The age group of the gathering was widely varied as well. One player - a very excellent one actually - was 10! In fact, the previous Friday night, Scott and Colin (the 10 year old) came over to my house and gave me my introductory FoW game, of course, Colin won a tough battle!
The tourney was officiated by an excellent person too. Fair, organized, good sportsmanship! He even kicked in prizes for the players (FoW models of course)!
In my club there are folks that dislike FoW, in fact, other than at the recent Veteran's Wars weekend, I have almost never seen a FoW battle being played at the club. I really think this is a shame.
Sure, the rules are "tournament-centric" when it comes to scenario stuff - but you know what, come up with a scenario. I like this feature of the rules. In addition, they have "Total War" now too (free) that seems to help people play multi-player games if they cannot get it going themselves. Fact: this "tournament-centric" feature gets people playing and playing often. It doesn't differ in concept from DBA, DBM, Legends of the Old West, etc.
Sure, the National Characteristics stuff can be gimmicky at times, but...who cares? This is a game, it adds flavor and fun and helps give the forces special capabilities that may come onto the tabletop to mimic historical capabilities. I like this feature. I want to have fun and I don't want to play "red" versus "blue" armies all the time. It isn't that far of a stretch from "Confederates get +1 when charging". Several rules out there have similar concepts (Legends, Great War, Black Powder).
Yes, the models are getting pricey. I care nothing about international money exchange rates and if they do or do not have anything to do with it (since I cannot influence it anyway). But, the range of models is simply outstanding and are of very good quality.
So, I will complete a Soviet army and go play some FoW. My Denver club mates will be seeing less of me on Fridays and Sundays for a bit. Unless of course, they want to play with me! I hope they do!