My love affair with Cry Havoc...
I discovered the game through an
awesome article written in
the magazine Casus Belli back in 1983. This article had actually
created a huge enthusiasm among the French wargamer audience. It's
probably the reason why the French had been so creative to expand
the game over the following 10 years. As far as I'm concerned, I
bought the first 2 games (Cry Havoc and Siege) just one month later
during a trip to Paris (at that time, the Standard Game edition with
a simple type written translation into French that could only be
found in one shop in Paris).
I started to write a booklet of rules for tournaments based on the
life of William the Marshall. It has never been published but I
still have a paper copy of it.
I then had to wait 4 years to buy Croisades back in 1987 with its
2 sequels (the Castle and City extensions). Frankly speaking, the
strategic game never got my endorsement: it was too complex and with
very limited gameplay. I almost only played the tactical game with
its revised, deeper rules that really rocked. As this period is one
of my favorites, I started to design new characters to represent
historical figures like Renaud de Chatillon, Onfroy de Toron,
Saracens, camel-mounted Arabs
and more. I also hand-drew a very nice "Caravanserai"
Vikings was still 5 years down the road but was really worth the
wait : the ship rules and outstanding coastal maps deserved two
thumbs up. In the following year, I wrote the
Montjoie rule booklet and
Robin Hood campaign (1993). I then published the Byzance medieval
ship rules. I hand-drew 3 large
medieval boats and created a
Fortified Harbor extension compatible with the Fortified City,
to replace Eurogames' official one that was never released (until
very recently...). I
also wrote a few additional rules for Viking ships with a scenario
that were never published and started a series of 10 ship-based
scenarios with historical background that was never completed. At
that time, we were in 1996 and after 13 years of playing almost
exclusively the Cry Havoc games, I switched to PC games with Lords
of The Realm II. Just like anybody, I played the Age of Empires/Age
of Kings series (but by-passed Age of Mythology). Over the last years, I've been a die-hard fan of Medieval: Total War
(versions I and II).
Interesting enough, I uncovered my old Cry Havoc boxes for the
first time since 1996 in November 2003 to show them to my (then) 11-year old
son: he insisted to use the maps for his Warhammer and Lord of The
Rings figures but I refused: I still love this game and doesn't want
him to destroy them...
In 2003, the works of Bob Gingell, an English scholar, was posted
on the web site of
Henderson: He had translated and adapted all the Cry Havoc
material available in French. This reignited my interest for the
game and I then found a Yahoo forum that helped me realize that
there was still an active community of English-speaking players. I
quickly created an equivalent forum for the French community as
France is the country where the game had been the most successful.
After a couple of months of active exchanges with a growing number
of fans, I decided to create the Cry Havoc Fan website to share my
various old creations with the community. To be really global in
scope, the site was made bilingual (French and English) to reach out
to the largest base of players. These original maps have been
grouped in extensions with varied themes, like the
Nefs & Galleys, the
Welsh Castle and more.
Three months later, a new version of the site was released with
the desire to become the definitive web site for anything related to
this outstanding game: Detailed presentation of each game of the
series, new extensions (from me or other community members), On Line
versions (be it CyberBoard or Vassal) and other materials created by
I met later on with Philippe Gaillard, owner of a publishing
Historic’One and former author of Cry Havoc maps and scenarios
published in Claymore in the 90’s. Philippe partners with
professional printers and we decided to publish the original maps I
had created in the Shoppe.
For several years, I have been trying to contact Duccio Vitale,
the designer of the French versions of the various games who
significantly enhanced the gameplay and gave Cry Havoc its
international exposure. Contact was finally made in 2008 and a lot
of background information was made available, especially related to
the last installments that never got published due to technical and
economical reasons: Dragon Noir
3 and the Fortified
Harbor. Duccio sent me the original artwork for the four maps of
the latter as well as the various Viking and Saxon characters that
were planned to come with the boxed game. Philippe Gaillard and I
have been assembling the various elements over the last year and are
now pleased to propose them in the Shoppe.
These are real collector items for those people that have been
waiting for them for so long.
The Shoppe now also includes counters of 14th Century men-at-arms
that were designed by Florent Vincent, an illustrator that
contributes regularly to Historic’One publications. These counters
are intended to be used for an extension called Chevauchées (Horse
Raiders) that will mix tactical and strategic aspects.
The Magna Carta is another initiative in process to keep Cry
Havoc enthusiasts excited. Its ambition is to organize and
rationalize all the rules published so far, be it in the official
boxes or the numerous extensions and scenarios that were released
over time. A semi-final version of 160 pages was released in French
last summer, but the English translation is a huge undertaking that
is in the works.
Passion is a wonderful engine to restore the interest of the
gaming community about a game based on rich and awesome, hand-made
artworks that no computer-generated graphics will ever match.
Hundreds of old fans are contributing on a regular basis to the
forum of Cry Havoc Fan, which proves that almost thirty years later,
the energy is still intact.
I'm quite pleased with the echo that Cry Havoc Fan has been
generating so far when I look at the number of sites referencing it.
Recently, printed magazines commented on my work as well, be it
Vae Victis [abstract]