Cry Havoc - Publication History

The Game

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Note: this page is adapted from the excellent compilation done by Bob Gingell about the Cry Havoc series.

The Origin Of Cry Havoc
Standard Games Company
The Following Games In The Series
Duccio Vitale's French Adaptations
Differences Between English And French Versions
Never Published Games

The Origin Of Cry Havoc

Two wargamers with miniature figures (Gary Chalk and Tony Webster) decided that they could make a better game than the one they were playing. The objective was to have a brief and playable set of rules and to have fun. Gary Chalk, the designer, was identified from a review of the game by Peter Hatton in Fire & Movement 27 (May-June 1982). Other reviews at that time did not name the designers, and no information was given with the game itself. Tony Webster contacted Cryhavocinternetclub in 2003 to identify himself as co-designer with Gary Chalk. Gary would have left Standard Games by 1983, in which year he was working for Games Workshop as co-designer of “Battlecars” and as the artist for “Talisman”; he is a book illustrator, currently responsible for the illustrations for Tony Jacques’ ‘Redwall’ series of fantasy books.


Standard Games Company

Standard Games was a small company that was an offshoot of a printing company. Their earliest publications, in 1981, were prints of WW1 aircraft and sheets of 25mm ‘card warriors’. These were followed by CRY HAVOC and then in 1982 by collections of photographs from 19th century wars, 6ft x 4ft ‘Felt-hex’, and a number of role-playing game aids.

Four other board wargames appeared in 1982-1983, all by freelance designers, but none achieved the popularity of CRY HAVOC.


The Following Games In The Series

SIEGE got published in 1983. Alan E. Paull was the designer, with graphics by Peter Dennis. The design for the castle in SIEGE was loosely based on Skenfrith Castle in Wales. Apparently the game was first advertised before he even started to design it, so the nine months of research, design and play testing was “a lot of fun” but very intensive. He comments that “the system was by no means perfect”, but that he was under a major restriction of having to keep it compatible with CRY HAVOC, to keep the component costs down and to finish within a very tight deadline.

Alan Paull also wrote the first scenario booklet for CRY HAVOC in 1984, and contributed  to SAMURAI BLADES, even though the actual game designer is Peter O'Toole. Graphics were still made by Peter Dennis. OUTREMER, whose designers are unknown, was released in 1985. The next year is the publication date for the second scenario booklet (by Jim Webster and LM Locke, with edits by Andy McKay) as well as DARK BLADES by Chris Baylis.

VIKING RAIDERS is published in 1987 (by David Levell) and at last the DARK BLADES extension around 1989, still by Chris Baylis for the scenarios, with the help of Andy McKay for the rules.


Duccio Vitale's French Adaptations

Duccio adapts the rules of CRY HAVOC and SIEGE as early as 1984. The first versions available in France only include a type written translation (that I am glad to own!). Later on, the games will be printed by Rexton with a complete French version. Both original games are followed by the adaptation of SAMURAI in 1985, as well as the first scenario booklet (in which an 8th scenario is added).

CROISADES (OUTREMER) is released 2 years later, together with both extensions the TEMPLARS' CASTLE and the FORTIFIED MEDIEVAL TOWN (with graphics by Paul Kirby).

By 1990, Rexton company is renamed Eurogames, and Duccio releases both DRAGON NOIR 1 and VIKINGS (with a contribution by Yves Fagherazzi for the ship rules and the scenarios). All the new maps are created by Jean-Michel Clément. 4 additional maps are released at the same period: The Ford, The Coast &, The Coast 2 and The Open Field. At last in 1993, the second episode of DRAGON NOIR ends the French series, with new maps still created by  J.M. Clément.

Eurogames versions were very successful: Over 100,000 game boxes have been sold over the years, with CRY HAVOC and SIEGE reaching approximately 15,000 boxes sold each.


Differences Between English and French Versions

Original rules for CRY HAVOC, SIEGE and SAMURAI BLADES were not fully compatible, and left several aspects in the dark. Duccio Vitale's adaptations went through a lot of alterations to make them more consistent and clear. They can be considered as the basic set of rules.

CROISADES saw a significant change with the original rules of OUTREMER, especially with the addition of a defensive fire phase. Strategic and role playing rules are also a significant addition. As far as game materials, the strategic maps and counters are specific to the Rexton/Eurogames version.

VIKINGS adds rowboats to the drakkars and galiotes of the English box and provides a totally different set of maps: instead of the Coast and Sea maps, the French version replaces them with 6 maps: 2 Sea maps (with a darker blue), 2 standard size maps (The Abbey and The Watchtower), as well as 2 junction maps names Cape 1 &2. These 4 latter maps can be assembled to form an island, an estuary, or both banks of a river.

DRAGON NOIR 1 doesn't use the strategic map of Labrynthia, but adds 2 underground tactical maps, as well as 3 sets of magic terrain and modified counters. Most of the characters names got changed as well. In Dragon Noir 2, 6 additional underground maps are exclusive to the French version, as well as new counters.


Never Published Games

OUTREMER was initially due to be called "Defenders of the Faith" and include morale rules. This game was being developed by  Alan Paull, but the project collapsed when he left Standard Games in 1985, and another team resume the project without this addition.

Duccio Vitale had also prepared a project for the "Krak des Chevaliers", covering 6 maps. It never was released either.
The attached picture is the original drawing of this huge fortress, that Duccio still owns and that I started to colorize.

The FORTIFIED HARBOR was supposed to be an extension to VIKINGS, long awaited but never released. The translucent films for the black color had stretched due to heat and no longer matched the outlines of the color plates. Duccio didn't have the means to relaunch this expensive process, although the project was almost completed.

Krak des Chevaliers

Eurogames announced 4 episodes for DRAGON NOIR, but only the first 2 got published. Duccio shared with us the planned storyboard of the 2 last episodes as well as sketches of the War Wolves. They are now presented shortly in a dedicated page.

Standard Games had a project dealing with the Norman conquest of England, but it was never completed. Eurogames resumed the project with an extension named "Diex Aïe" (Help Me God in Latin, the Norman war cry). Designed by Henri Perrin and Jean Michel Clément, this project collapsed when Henri had to leave for Germany (Internet didn't exist at that time...).
The game was an adaptation of the strategic system of CROISADES to Northern europe, putting aside the section about Character evolution but focusing on logistics and rules for combat groups. Factions included Normans, Saxons, Norses, Danes and the Count of Boulogne with their own type of troops and a few specific rules. Alliances could be undertaken for multi-player games, taking into account historic factors. A few counters and maps had been sketched as well as an adaptation of the SIEGE rules to the 11th century. 

At last, Duccio was planning to release an extension about the Hundred Years War, for which Philippe Gaillard contributed to write the historical background section. But the project never went through.