At Any Cost: Metz 1870 is a game simulating the situation west of the Metz fortress during those few days of August 1870. The game is designed to be a playable, two-player brigade-scale game that allows players to experience the unique tactical warfare matchups that characterized fighting during the Franco-Prussian War.
This era, though generally overlooked in the gaming industry, is a fascinating study in Napoleonic tactics (and uniforms) slamming head-on into modern killing technology. The Prussian military juggernaut is armed with the new steel Krupp breach-loading artillery pieces that far outclassed the French guns. Prussian doctrine, adapted to the lessons learned during the Austro-Prussian War of 1866, allowed junior officers to exercise initiative and aggressiveness. The French army, meanwhile, was armed with the modern and deadly Chassepot rifle, a firearm so advanced that many argue its deployment alone should have won the war for the French. In addition, the French army was now equipped with their ultimate secret weapon - the Mitrailleuse, which was the first machinegun used en masse. Moreover, the game system makes clear that the French soldier, despite misconceptions to the contrary, fought valiantly during these battles. By all rights, they could have, and should have, won many of these engagements. But leadership, morale and tenacity won the day for the Prussians.
All these factors are seamlessly embedded into the At Any Cost game system and players will be challenged to utilize their advantages and minimize their disadvantages throughout the game. Will you as the Prussian player be able to withstand an early severe numerical disadvantage and use the brave audacity of the Prussian soldier and artilleryman to win the day? Can you as the French player overcome the lethargic and uninspired command structure of the Army of the Rhine and allow your tough and well-equipped infantry to fight unhindered?
At Any Cost: Metz 1870 also features the Blind Swords chit-pull system which emphasizes the three “FOW’s” of military conflict: fog-of-war, friction-of-war and fortunes-of-war. With each chit pull, players will be challenged to make tough decisions based on their assessment of the current situation. Unlike traditional chit-pull mechanisms, the Blind Swords system ensures that no combat units can be counted on, or conversely, counted out. This yields an environment of tense action and constant surprises – an environment that will challenge each player. The game includes 6 Scenarios:
- The Afternoon Crisis - a small, limited battle depicting the French advance across the Fond de la Cove on August 16th, 1870. This scenario serves as a teaching experience for new players.
- Twilight Of The Guards – a small, limited battle depicting the fighting around St. Privat on August 16th, which at one point resulted in 6,000 Prussian Guardsmen casualties being inflicted in 15 minutes! This scenario serves as a teaching experience for new players.
- The Battle of Mars-La-Tour – the whole battle beginning at 8:00 am and continuing the entire day. There are two variations offered – historical and free-setup deployments. There are also options for a historical reinforcements schedule or a variable schedule utilizing the Prussian Strategic Movement system.
- The Battle of Gravelotte-St. Privat – – the entire day-long battle. There are two variations offered – historical and free-setup deployments. There are also options for a historical reinforcements schedule or a variable schedule utilizing the Prussian Strategic Movement system.
- Campaign Scenario #1 – the game begins with the Mars-La-Tour scenario but continues past the first day until the campaign victory conditions are achieved.
- Campaign Scenario #2 – the game begins on August 15th and the French player must march the entire Army of the Rhine across the map to escape to Verdun or, as a secondary option, protect the army from destruction. The Prussian army’s movement is done entirely via the Prussian Strategic Movement system until they enter the game map. This scenario gives players the option to shape an entirely new campaign.
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