In Flashpoint Germany you pick the side that you control - the Warsaw Pact or NATO - in a tactical game in order to determine the outcome of World War III.
FPG is a turn based tactical game, much like a lot of the tactical board games out there. There aren't a lot of fancy graphics - you'll see pictures of the vehicles, but the maps have just the graphics they need, and the units are represented by counters that list their unit designations. It's not real time, so you have the time to study your SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures), your available assets - from on-the-map units to off-map artillery and airstrikes, the status of your combat units, etc., before issuing your orders.
Basically, game turns have two phases. After you start the scenario you're given a pre-start ability to rearrange your units inside a starting area. Then you give orders to whichever units you want. Once you're finished, the game plays out the turn. A turn is typically 30 minutes worth of time, though this can be set as short as 10 minutes.
A status bar gives you an indication of how far through the turn things are happening as the units move and fight. That led to one of my few complaints about the game - it doesn't give exact times until the end of the scenario. All you can do is guess about the percentage of the bar filled up. That could be annoying when you know the time on target for your A-10 Warthogs is 7 minutes, but the WP units are moving before they come in.
A basic example of play: I'm controlling the British "Blues and Royals" regiment, defending a German town against the initial Soviet on-rush. I've spotted several of their initial units, which have destroyed a couple of my Challenger tanks. Before the game started, I viewed the elevation levels of the map, and set up my vehicles just behind the ridge line in order to have as much cover as possible while denying that to the enemy.
My 1st recon platoon has spotted the enemy, but due to its SOPs it pulls back to maintain 5 km distance. Since the turn is just starting, I task my flight of Harriers to target a formation I've spotted racing towards my right flank, while I call in barrages of artillery to hit the attack currently pounding my left flank. I have a choice in how wide of an area to give my Harriers to look for targets, so I make it as wide as possible in order to make sure I get them. I have a choice in what type of artillery barrage I give also - harassment, sustained, or neutralization. The first one is the weakest, but takes less of a toll on the crew and ammo supply, while the last is the most dangerous. I call down the last. I decided against launching a chemical attack, because I do not want to be the aggressor, and also don't want to risk having to send my troops through a chemical attack if I need to follow-up.
After that, I pull up one of the tank platoons I left in reserve to reinforce my left flank, as one of the damaged units there has pulled back due to losses. I wing my 2nd recon platoon around the right flank and move my anti-tank Strikers to reinforce that side against what I think will be another attack. After giving orders to shift my right flank a bit in order to cover a whole in my line, I end the orders phase and let the resolution begin.
Immediately my artillery starts to fall on the enemy, with a lack of affect due to poor line of sight and forested terrain. However, it does impair their morale. The Pact shoots back, hitting one of my headquarters unit with artillery as well, forcing them to relocate. I let my artillery counterbattery later. (The Pact found my headquarters due to the number of orders I've been putting out without moving it; they can home in on the radio transmissions. I've likewise done the same to them. If there had been a higher level of ECM, my orders would've been out slower, and it'd be easier to locate me.)
As the tank and mechanized infantry units slug it out, the Harriers fly in. They do some damage, but are shot down due to the loiter time related to the area that I gave them to target, and the fact that the enemies' AAA (anti-air artillery) capabilities hadn't been reduced before sending them in. A bad mistake on my part. Fortunately, though, my Strikers see the enemy, and I hear the sound effect for ATGMs (anti-tank guided missiles) as the counter for the AT platoon flashes. The enemy mechanized infantry unit icon flashes, and I hear 7 explosions (and see them on the counter). Had the missiles missed, I would've only seen smoke. Instead, I've gotten 7 kills, and the counter briefly tells me which vehicles I've killed - mostly BTRs, including one headquarters unit.
I manage to win the scenario. Using the equipment inspector at the end, I see that all of the Soviet equipment had been NBC (nuclear-biological-chemical) protected, so my chemical attack, had I launched it, would've been wasted.
FPG is listed as a "beginning - moderate" skill level game. That seems to be good - there are a number of options you can use to make the game harder or easier. However, I wouldn't necessarily recommend it to someone completely unfamiliar with the genre. If you haven't played this type of game before, and especially, if you aren't familiar with basic tactics and the equipment being used, you're going to be at a disadvantage.
Personally, I enjoyed the heck out of the game. I don't prefer RTS type games. A good turn based game allows you to really study the situation and play it intelligently and not just twitch to try to zerg your opponent before he zergs you.
There are several options for type of game play as well - you can play over a LAN, head to head, or even by e-mail.
If you're a fan of tactical, turn-based games, or of Harold Coyle/Larry Bond/Tom Clancy type books, I'd highly recommend this game. I have to admit - it's a lot more fun to play these kind of games now, when it's a "what might have been", then it was back in the late '80s when it was a "what may be".