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Best Franco-Prussian War Board Games

Last Updated on December 2, 2022

The 19th Century saw the rise of the largest empires to span the European Continent. Beginning in 1804, the French Empire marched across Europe, conquering territories, before being pushed back and defeated by a coalition of rival states.

The Franco-Prussian War

The Austro-Hungarian empire spanned from Vienna to the heart of the Balkans. The British Empire incorporated Ireland and numerous overseas territories into its dominion.

After centuries of division, Prussia was able to unite the Northern Germanic realms into a grand confederation that stretched from present-day Lithuania to France in the West and included the ever-contested provinces of Alsace and Lorraine. 

German-speaking peoples were spread out across the continent with settlements and civilizations concentrated in northern and central Europe. Although the Northern Germanic confederation was vast, several German kingdoms lay outside of its grasp.

Not including Austrian lands, the kingdoms of Wuerttemberg and Bavaria, and the duchies of Hesse and Baden remained tantalizing morsels that the Prussian kings longed to snatch up. The French were not best pleased about the fledgling empire upon their borders and sought to stop the Germans in their tracks.

The French eventually declared war upon the North German Confederation and spurred the southern kingdoms to rally to their kinsmen’s aid, plunging the two civilizations into a war for European supremacy. 

Best Franco-Prussian War Board Games

Best Franco Prussian War Board Games Featured Image

At Any Cost: Metz 1870

Players: 1-2 Players
Playing time: 120-480 minutes

The city of Metz, located in the long-disputed Lorraine region of France, became one of the most important Prussian victories in the entire war. After a defeat and retreat, the French Army of the Rhine believed that they could find refuge behind the walls of Metz.

Outside, a force of over 150,000 Prussian and allied troops maintained a siege. The city proved too well-built for German siege artillery, so the decision was made to starve them out. The city only contained provisions for enough residents and soldiers to last about forty-one days.

Eventually, the French Army was forced to slaughter their horses for meat, before surrendering the city to the Prussians on October 27, 1870. 

At Any Cost places players into the situation of the German and French troops, either to play as the besieged within the city or the siege force without. Both sides are equipped with the latest warfare technology of the time, with the French even possessing the Mitrailleuse, the early ancestor of the machine gun and the first to be used en masse in battle.

The Prussians, however, were in possession of a strong desire to defeat France and fresh off a victory in the Austro-Prussian War, they felt themselves to be almost invincible. The French player has a chance to rewrite history but must make their move before reinforcements arrive in the Prussian ranks. 

At Any Cost: Metz 1870
$124.99

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02/04/2023 10:00 am GMT

Red Flag Over Paris

Players: 1-2 Players
Playing time: 20-40 minutes

Red Flag Over Paris is an exciting and fast-paced game, which places the players directly in the middle of events directly following the French defeat in the Franco-Prussian War.

As German forces sought to occupy France and Paris, the military and formally elected national government came tangled with intense resistance from certain military officers and soldiers and different militant groups in the city of Paris.

Eventually, fighting became so tense, representatives of the national government were forced to retreat to Versailles while the Paris Commune was proclaimed. The commune was elected by people throughout Paris and the communal government was dominated by socialists, anarchists, and other revolutionaries, supported by the heavily politicized National Guard. 

Players in Red Flag Over Paris must compete to win the hearts and minds of the military and political elites to win the game. The forces of Versailles must collaborate with the Prussian invaders to take back control of Paris.

The commune representatives however must find a way to provide residents with food and build morale in the revolutionary Paris Commune. After three rounds, players must use up all the cards in their hand and the one with the most victory points wins the capital! 

Red Flag Over Paris
$69.99

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02/04/2023 12:00 pm GMT

1870: The War Against the Empire

Players: 1-2 Players
Playing time: 90-150 minutes

The War Against the Empire sets the scene for players, as Prussia attempts to force the French Empire to its knees in a lightning-quick campaign for dominance. Indeed, Prussian forces would bring about the defeat and collapse of the French Empire and usher in the era of the French Third Republic.

This conflict would see the end of the last vestiges of the Napoleonic Era with the abdication and exile of Napoleon III, nephew of the famous Napoleon Bonaparte, hero of the French Revolution. 

1870 allows players to rewrite history and help the French Empire retain its glory. The French player in particular must learn how to combat troops’ demoralization and keep their forces intact. This is the key to staving off the Prussian threat and utter defeat. 

1870: The War Against The Empire

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On to Paris 1870-1871: The Franco-Prussian War

Players: 1-2 Players
Playing time: 60-720 minutes

On to Paris gives players unprecedented ability to shape and influence events of the Franco-Prussian War, starting with the first state, the Defeat of the French Army, and continuing with the Prussian occupation of France.

Players have the option of starting at any time in the included events of the war or playing individual scenarios and campaigns as they see fit. 

As they march across France toward Paris, players will be dealt generals to command their forces. French generals include Napoleon III, Francois Bazaine, Patrice de MacMahon, and Charles-Denis Bourbaki.

Prussian generals are Wilhelm I, Helmut von Moltke, and Karl von Steinmetz. Each general is rated based on his ability to rally troops and whether or not he will follow orders.

Due to the scope of the game, players will have control over almost every aspect of their armies, from their placement and composition to the general controlling them and what types of artillery they will have, along with many challenges. 

On to Paris! 1870-1871: The Franco-Prussian War

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The Franco-Prussian War

Players: 1-2 Players
Playing time: 360-600 minutes

The Franco-Prussian War puts players in charge of either the Prussian High Command or the French leadership. This game is designed to give players the best chance to change history and make their mark where others failed.

The goal of the game is simple: the German player must attempt to defeat and occupy France and the French player must attempt to stall or at least stop the occupation of their nation. 

History shows us that the Prussian forces were better organized and supplied, making use of modern conveniences such as their innovative railway network. Meanwhile, the French did not have very extensive connections to the far East of their country.

The Prussians however were amassing forces on their territories by the Rhine, waiting for the French to make the first move. This would ultimately lead to the unification of German-speaking Kingdoms into the German Empire and set the stage for the First World War

Before we get that far, players must contend with nature and the effectiveness of their generals to ensure victory over France, or the halt of German troops in their steps. The results of the game may also be affected by the politics and events in the homelands of each opposing force.

We know how history turned out, but this game allows us to imagine a different version of events. 

The Franco-Prussian War
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Wrap-Up

We hope you enjoyed our list of the best Franco-Prussian War board games! Have you tried any of these games before? Did we miss any of your favorites? Drop a comment below and let us know what you think! We’d love to hear from you.

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At Any Cost: Metz 1870
$124.99

Buy from Amazon Buy at Noble Knight
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
02/04/2023 10:00 am GMT