By Hermann Luttmann
AT ANY COST: METZ 1870
At Any Cost is played in a series of Game Turns, the actual number of turns depends on the scenario selected. Every Game Turn (about 1 hour of real time) is played in a predetermined sequence. Each Phase must be completed in its entirety before proceeding to the next Phase.
A) COMMAND DECISION PHASE
During the opening phase of a turn, each player must decide which of his nine available Event chits will go into the draw cup and which will be excluded from the Game Turn.
Each player first secretly chooses any one of his nine Event chits (the Key Chit) and places the chosen chit directly into the draw cup. This Key Chit should represent an Event the player really needs to occur during the turn.
Each player then flips his remaining eight Event chits to their common side and mixes them up. Then the opposing player randomly selects three of these chits and places them out of play – these chits will not be used this Game Turn! Players may not look at these Excluded chits now or during the course of the Game Turn.
The remaining five non-excluded Event chits for each side are now placed into the same draw cup with the Key Chits. Finally, both players place their eligible Activation chits (for Infantry Corps and independent Cavalry Divisions that are in the game at this time) and both of their Special Activation chits in the cup with the Event chits. The cup is then shaken and placed within reach of the drawing player (determined in the Chit Draw Phase).
Finally, any previously-eliminated French units that are located in the current Game Turn space on the Game Turn Track are placed into the Available for Rebuild Box.
B) HELD EVENT PHASE
If either player is holding an Event chit that allows it to be played “before the next chit pull”, it may be played in this phase. If both players are holding such chits, the Prussian player decides who must commit first.
C) CHIT DRAW PHASE
The Prussian player is the chit-puller on “even” numbered Game Turns and the French player on “odd” Game Turns. The designated chit-puller will now randomly draw one chit from the draw cup. He will look at the chit and then, depending on the type of chit drawn, proceed as follows:
i. Event Chit: The Event chit is handed to the owning player (blue for the Prussian player; red for the French player). He may look at it and even play it immediately, if applicable. Normally, he will simply place the chit in front of himself (face down so his opponent can’t reference it) saving it for later use or apply it immediately as a Command Event. The chit-puller then draws another chit.
ii. Activation Chit: If any Activation chit is drawn, the owning player will immediately activate the Infantry Corps or independent Cavalry Division listed on the drawn chit. Play then proceeds to Phase D (Activation Phase), which is resolved normally. At the end of the phase (after the Rally Step) the Activation chit is discarded and another chit is then drawn.
iii. Special Activation Chit: If either Special Activation chit is drawn, the owning player will immediately select any one of his Divisions (if Prussian) or Brigades (if French) to activate (even if it was already activated this turn). Play then proceeds to Phase D (Activation Phase), which is resolved normally. The Special Activation chit is then discarded and another chit is drawn.
D) ACTIVATION PHASE
i. HQ Command Step
The active player must first select one of four Orders under which the active formation will operate:
Attack = Units may use their full Movement Allowance; all types of combat are allowed; HQ units may not conduct Rally.
Defend = Units may only use half of their Movement Allowance; Only Fire Combat is allowed; HQ units are allowed a restricted Rally; Fieldworks and Entrenchments may be built.
March = Units may use their full Movement Allowance plus 1 MP and qualify for Road March; neither Combat nor Movement adjacent to an enemy is allowed; HQ units may not conduct Rally.
Regroup = Units may move only 1 hex; No Combat is allowed; HQ units may use the enhanced Rally ability.
The player then locates the HQ unit for the activated formation on the map and orients the unit counter (front side or back side) to show the corresponding Order face-up on the counter. Units of the active formation are then checked to see if they are within the HQ unit’s Command Range. Those that are deemed to be Out of Command are rolled for on the Out of Command Table and given markers to indicate their status.
ii. Fire Combat Step
All the units of an active formation may issue eligible Fire Combat, if allowed by their selected Order. Each Fire Combat is resolved to conclusion.
iii. Movement Step
All the units of an active formation may conduct movement, up to the Movement Allowance allowed by the selected Order (if any).
iv. Assault Combat Step
Active units found adjacent to an enemy-occupied hex may conduct Assault Combat, if allowed by their selected Order. Each Assault Combat is resolved to conclusion.
v. Rally Step
The active player may attempt to conduct Recovery (removing “Elan” and “Ammo” markers) and Rebuilding (reconstituting eliminated units) of eligible units in the active formation if allowed by the selected Order.
If any chits remain, return to Phase B. Otherwise, go to Phase E.
E) END TURN PHASE
i. French Activation Chit Step: The French player determines which Activation chit(s) will become available to him next turn.
ii. Prussian Reinforcements Step: The Prussian player may attempt to accelerate or change the entry location of his reinforcements. If playing with the Prussian Strategic Movement system, those procedures are now conducted.
iii. Victory Point Step: Adjust the Victory Point Track to reflect changes in the Victory Point totals.
iv. Housekeeping Step: Each player gathers up all his discarded Activation chits, Special Activation chits and all nine discarded or assigned Event chits. All temporary markers are removed from units on the map. The Game Turn marker is moved up one space, unless the scenario has ended. If so, determine the game winner by consulting the Victory Determination rules.