War Chest – The Ensign and the Marshall

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 War Chest, you take on the role of a battlefield commander, giving orders to the units in your army. Two units—the Ensign and the Marshall—act as secondary commanders, with tactics which grant an extra basic action to a nearby unit. They help you to coordinate multi-step manoeuvres, like moving a unit with the Ensign and then on your next turn using the unit’s own coin to control or to attack. Even more effective is when the granted action can trigger a unit’s special attribute. For instance, the Swordsman’s attribute allows it to move after it has attacked. This includes the special case where it is the Ensign that moves it. Similarly, if the Marshall grants the War Priest an attack, the War Priest’s special ability triggers, allowing you to draw and immediately use an extra coin.

The principles of battlefield began by the Romans were still in use through medieval battles. Orders were passed down from the generals to the leaders of each battle, sergeants and then through to each soldier.

In the heat of battle, changing the orders was difficult. Horns, drums, and flags could be used and units would mark themselves with a banner, and march together. Over greater distances armies would need runners.

The Mongol armies fought with their generals safe behind enemy lines giving orders through a flag system. This made sense since they were a loosely spread cavalry force in different units.

Arguably the original Marshal, was William Marshal (1146 – 1219 CE) – perhaps one of the greatest medieval knight to have ever lived. Indeed the hereditary title “Earl Marshal” comes from his name. Undefeated in tournaments he was the only man known to have unseated Richard the Lionheart. He was also a great orator at battles, although medieval chroniclers and writers were fond of exaggerating the speeches given by military commanders. One such speech was “recorded” by the anonymous author of “The History of William Marshal”, who reported the rousing speech given by his protagonist before the Battle of Lincoln on May 20, 1217 CE during the First Barons’ War. Marshal successfully lead an army that broke the siege of the city form the forces of Prince Louis of France, leading a key charge at a critical moment in the battle, despite being 70 years old at the time!

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

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