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Posted on Oct 29, 2008 in Boardgames

The Drive on Metz – Boardgame Review

By Brandon Neff

Rules, Mechanics and Game Play
The Drive on Metz is designed as a primer on strategic wargames. Indeed, it is the second game in the Battlesson line of games designed to teach novices how to play. The rules reflect this in their simplicity and design. The game setup is printed on the back of the game coversheet and is easily understood. The Germans are placed in specific locations whereas the Americans enter from the Western edge. The game is finished after seven turns, each representing one day.

The Americans begin each turn by checking for Victory Points and then performing movement and any subsequent combats. The Germans then move and conduct combat, followed by a Victory Point check, after which the turn ends and the marker is advanced to the next turn.


Units move according to their Movement Allowance number. During some turns, reinforcements arrive during the movement phase. Certain terrain types cost more movement points to enter, and only one unit may occupy a hex at the end of the movement phase. Units are never required to move. A unit must stop when it enters an enemy zone of control which consists of the six hexes adjacent to any enemy unit. A unit may only exit a zone of control by means of combat.

Combat is resolved by comparing Combat Strengths of enemy units in a single hex with that of all adjacent friendly units combined. The difference is referenced on the Combat Results Table and a die roll determines the outcome. Terrain type in the attacked hex can shift the results. For example, if the defender is in a forest hex, the result is shifted two columns to the left.

Combat results are either no effect or a retreat by either the defender or attacker. If the defending unit retreats, the attacker may occupy the disputed hex, but if the attacker is forced to retreat, the defender may not advance. A particular enemy unit may only be attacked once per turn. Certain situations may prevent a unit from retreating, such as a river or a flanking enemy unit. In this event, the retreating unit is eliminated.

Ultimately, the game is decided by Victory Points. They are awarded to the Americans for occupying certain hexes, such as the town of Metz or any hex on the east side of the Moselle or for moving units off the east side of the map before the end of the game. The German player earns Victory Points for exiting units off the west side of the map, keeping the Americans west of the Moselle or eliminating American units. The victor is the side with the most Victory Points. A margin of victory of five or more is a Marginal Victory, 10 or more is a Substantial Victory, and 15 or more is a Decisive Victory. A margin of less than four is considered a draw.

The packaging lists the game’s suitability for solitaire play at an 8 out of 9, and I concur wholeheartedly. The tactics are so clear-cut that it is not difficult at all to manage the opposing sides with a certain degree of objectivity. I also used this game to help a teenager make the leap from boardgames to wargames. It is an excellent tutorial for the genre’s basics: movement, zones of control, combat differentials and victory points. The balance between the two sides was fairly even with several draws and a Marginal Victory for the Americans.

The game plays very quickly; we averaged approximately 50 minutes per game. This meant we could switch sides in one sitting and try to improve our strategies.

Overall Impression
The Drive on Metz is a fast and simple wargame suitable for those occasions when you have little time and the wargame bug is biting. Do not be dissuaded by the packaging or the lack of chrome. This is a good starting point for those who wish to dip a toe into the waters or to teach someone how this style of game is meant to be played.


ACG Intel

The Drive On Metz

The Drive On Metz  – Game Rules

Victory Point Games

James F. Dunnigan

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