Although it may look like a typical real-time strategy (RTS) game, significant differences between FOF and the likes of Red Alert are obvious from the start. At the beginning of the game, you must choose a character to be your alter ego throughout the whole game - if he dies, it's game over. He'll be able to learn new skills from others as the game goes along as well as teach them to the other characters. He has attributes that affect his accuracy, his speed, and more that gradually increase throughout the game.
You have at all times two different groups to manage in the game: NPCs that guard your fort or who you get to control in some missions, and your party which is led by your character and other characters you find in the game. Since this is no wargame where you can recruit units when they are killed, you must try to keep everyone in your party alive at best you can.
The gameplay consists of two main parts. One is from your main fort screen, where you are when you're not in a mission. Tactical combat in this mode occurs when your fort can be under attack from Indians or wild animals like bears and wolves. But most of your time in the fort will be spent on choosing strategic options, such as recruiting men to man the fort. The second part is the actual mission, which is when you assemble a party from available characters and go on various missions with diverse objectives, such as ambushing an opponent, or taking out a cannon that's attacking your fort. Money in the game is mainly brought in from selling the skins of animals you kill, which can be done during missions or in areas around your fort. You also can collect useful items from the bodies of your victims, such as as telescopes that let you see farther.
All in all, Fields of Fire is a fun, in-depth war/RPG game that wargamers looking for "light" games will probably enjoy. RTS gamers will probably be put off by the RPG elements and some micromanagement, but anyone who enjoys squad-level strategy games like X-COM or squad-level RPGs like Rage of Mages will find Fields of Fire a refreshing game. Receommended, although not a Top Dog.