T-72: Balkans on Fire! is a highly realistic Russian tank simulation that takes place in a historical European war zone. The game is based around the fighting in the Yugoslavian war of the early 1990s, utilizing several different types of scavenged tanks that are modeled with precision. Extreme attention to the physics of tank warfare is the focus of the game's engine, with the ballistics model forming the centerpiece. This is implemented as much in the firing of various projectiles as well as in the impact and penetration of armor, with the after-mission statistics feature displaying impacts on vehicles in a color-coded vector form.
Available in the game is a campaign mode in which you assume the role of a Russian volunteer and progress first from commanding the WW2-era T-34/85, upgrading to the T-55A, finally finishing in the modern T-72B itself. You gradually gain direct control over additional military forces on the battlefield to aid in carrying out the missions. There are also single missions that are able to be played outside of the main campaign, as well as co-operative and head-to-head multiplayer via LAN.
Control of the tank in the game is carried out from either the gunner's, commander's, or driver's stations, with the ability to jump to each station on the fly over the course of a mission, with the co-operative mode allowing human players to occupy different stations on the same tank. The player can also assume control over the anti-aircraft position on the tanks, which effectively removes the player from having direct control over any of the critical positions of the tank, and through orders allows the AI to operate the tank automatically.
The basic game mechanics in T-72: BoF! are similar to other modern tank simulators, most notably Steel Beasts. The most user-friendly feature common to all modern simulators is included in the game, in that realism settings can be tuned by the player to bring the difficulty to levels that they are comfortable with.