War Chest – Lancer

War Chest releases at Gen Con Indy this year, and brings tactical war-gaming to bag-building!  Take up arms against your challenger, and control the board in this beautiful and unique game from Trevor Benjamin and David Thompson.

In many ways, the Lancer—War Chest’s third and final mounted unit—is a more extreme version of the Cavalry. It has even further reach—it can move two spaces and then attack—but is even more vulnerable—it must attack in a straight line, and cannot attack directly adjacent units. Perhaps more than any other unit, the Lancer requires careful positioning and expert timing, but the pay-off and excitement of a perfectly executed surprise attack is worth the effort.

Very little death was dealt out during the main course of most medieval battles. Battles were about slowly eroding the endurance and will of the opponent. At that point the opponent has lost morale and breaks; and the pursuit begins. This in when most of the slaughter began.

Heavy cavalry with lances was used to push an already tired opponent over the edge through the psychological effect achieved on the enemy. As the charge closes to within a hundred yards and the horses enter their gallop, the very ground quakes to such extent that the facing infantry are physically shaken. During the European Medieval Period infantry was nearly always either a conscripted levy or mercenaries; only the latter would have the discipline, training, and experience to withstand the morale shock of a heavy cavalry charge. If the charge has been ill-timed, the horses can pull up short of the infantry. Lancers can now engage in a little square-breaking unless the infantry is similarly equipped.

An example of this kind of charge and recharge happened at Falkirk in 1298 CE. Once in sight of the enemy, The Earl of Norfolk and his cavalry began an immediate attack, but on encountering a small marsh to the front of the Scots position, made a long detour to the west before being able to make contact with the right of Wallace’s Scottish army. The schiltrons held firm, with the knights making little impression on the dense forest of long spears, and a small number of riders being killed under their horses.

King Edward arrived in time to witness the discomfiture of his cavalry and quickly restored discipline. The knights were ordered to withdraw and the schiltrons were exposed to heavy Longbow fire. This broke their formations enough that a second cavalry charge was driven home.

Check out War Chest at Gen Con, or pick it up in stores August 29!

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