Rules for "siege" and "cry havoc"

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Version 1.1: 12/03

Rules translated from the English into French with alterations by Duccio Vitale and re-translated back into English by Bob Gingell. The games were initially published in France by Jeux Rexton in 1984, then later by Eurogames. “Cry Havoc” was originally published in 1981, and “Siege” in 1983, both by Standard Games and Publications Ltd. of England. The designer of the English version of “Siege” was Alan E. Paull.
Translator’s note: This set of rules has been translated from the French version of “Siège”, with notes on changes that were made from the English version of “Siege” and changes made from both English and French versions of “Cry Havoc”. The English rules were published over a 3-year period and some changes were made over that time. The French versions of “Cry Havoc”, “Siege” and “Samurai Blades” (published under the name “Samouraï”) followed very closely the rules published by Standard Games, but included a number of clarifications and adjustments. The French rules were all published at approximately the same time, so there were no significant differences between them.
The rules provided here form a base from which later, more specialised, games developed. The rules for the English games “Samurai Blades”, “Outremer”, “Dark Blades” and “Viking Raiders” are at root the same as these rules but with additions to deal with particular time periods, cultures and equipment. On the other hand, the French games published after “Samouraï” diverged significantly from these rules and the English games. Counters and maps were shared, but the rules and scenarios were different. Many of the differences were minor, but the popularity of the games in France and two-year development of the French version of “Outremer”, renamed “Croisades” and published in 1987, did create a different vision. Rule changes underwent detailed play-testing and the games were widely played at conventions and tournaments. The rules for “Croisades” can be used to replace the rules provided here where they differ from each other; the translation of those rules can be found in the file ‘Croisades Rules’.
Development of the “Cry Havoc” series in France also included two boxed Expansion Sets for “Siege”: ‘The Templars Castle’ and ‘The Fortified Medieval Town’. These appeared immediately after “Croisades” in 1987; a translation of the extra rules from those extensions is in the ‘Siege Extension Rules’. Some of the rules for “Siege” were modified, and these changes have been noted alongside the rules below. “Scenario Book 1”, with extra scenarios for “Cry Havoc”, was published by Standard Games in 1984 and by Jeux Rexton in 1985; the French version contained one more scenario and improved rules for capturing horses.

Contents Page


Summary of the rules

Description of the counters

SECTION ONE (page 2 in the rulebook) 8

1.1 Terrain types on ‘The Castle’ map

1.2 Game turns

1.21 Sequence of play

1.3 Shooting with a bow or crossbow

1.4 Restrictions on shooting

    1. Line of fire

    2. Shooting over other characters

    3. Shooting through doorways

    4. Shooting from behind battlements and arrow-slits

    5. Shooting at characters on ramparts or in arrow-slits

    6. Shooting at characters in the castle moat

1.5 Cover

    1. Battlements and arrow-slits

    2. Interior of the castle

    3. Doorways

    4. Keep doorway

    5. Moat

    6. Walls

    7. Drawbridge

1.6 Movement

1.61 Restrictions on movement

1.62 Stacking

1.7 Combat

    1. Effect of terrain on combat

    2. Combat against more than one character

    3. Advance after combat

    4. Combat restrictions

    5. Special rule: the keep doorway

1.8 Special equipment: the drawbridge

1.9 Special equipment: scaling ladders

1.91 Carrying and raising the ladder

1.92 Moving an upright ladder

1.93 Movement, shooting and combat

1.94 Toppling a scaling ladder

SECTION TWO (page 12 in the rulebook) 16

2.1 Special terrain

2.2 ‘Filled moat’ markers

2.3 ‘Rubble’ markers

2.31 Placing the markers

2.32 Shooting and cover

2.33 Movement

2.4 Special equipment: siege towers

2.41 Moving the tower

2.42 Movement in the interior of a siege tower

2.43 Shooting from a siege tower

2.44 Restrictions on shooting and cover

2.45 Movement and combat from a siege tower

2.46 Stacking

SECTION THREE (page 15 in the rulebook) 18

3.1 Terrain types on ‘The Camp’ map (and from “Cry Havoc”)

3.2 Restrictions on shooting and cover

3.21 Scrub

3.22 Trees

3.23 Slope

3.24 Tents

3.25 Trenches

3.26 Shooting through windows (from “Cry Havoc”)

3.27 Courtyards and gateways (from “Cry Havoc”)

3.28 Exterior building corners (from “Cry Havoc”)

3.3 Special rules for characters on horseback

3.31 Horsemen in cover

3.32 Restrictions on movement

3.33 Mounting and dismounting

3.34 Riderless horses

3.35 Shooting and combat involving horses and their riders

    1. Special equipment: ballistas

3.41 Operating a ballista

3.42 Restrictions on shooting

3.43 Restrictions on movement

3.5 Fires: how to ignite and extinguish a fire

3.51 How to light a fire

3.52 How the fire spreads

3.53 How to extinguish a fire

3.54 Evacuating a fire hex and restrictions on movement

3.55 Damage caused by the fire
SECTION FOUR (page 19 in the rulebook) 23

4.1 Breaching the walls of the castle

4.11 The means available to the besiegers

4.12 The Siege Record Sheet

4.13 Different levels of demolition

4.14 Result of demolition

4.2 Special equipment: trebuchets and mangonels

4.21 Operation

4.22 Restrictions on shooting and movement

4.23 Repair of damaged trebuchets and mangonels

4.3 Special equipment: battering rams

4.31 Moving the battering ram

4.32 Operation

4.33 Restrictions on shooting and cover

4.34 The battering ram and hand-to-hand combat
SECTION FIVE (page 22 in the rulebook) 26

5.1 Carts and draft animals (and mules)

5.11 General rules

5.12 Shooting and combat against draft animals

5.13 Mules (from “Cry Havoc”)

5.2 Special equipment: screens

5.21 Moving the screens

5.22 Facing and cover

5.23 Restrictions on shooting and movement

5.24 Restrictions on combat

5.3 Fires: flaming arrows and boiling oil

5.31 Flaming arrows

5.32 Barrels of boiling oil

5.4 Healing wounds


6.1 Panic and rout (from “Siege”)

6.11 Effects of panic

6.12 Effects of rout

6.13 Exiting the map

6.2 Ability to aim accurately (from “Siege”)

6.21 Errare humanum est

6.22 Shooting skill

6.3 Ammunition limitation (from “Cry Havoc”)

6.4 Ransom and surrender (from “Cry Havoc”)

6.5 Command control (from English version of “Cry Havoc”)

6.6 Using lead miniatures (from English version of “Scenario Book 1”)

6.7 Miscellaneous rules from scenarios

6.71 Effect of half and quarter rations (from “Siege”)

6.72 Capturing the outer part of the castle (from “Siege”)

6.73 Heroic warrior (from “Scenario Book 1”)

    1. Riders capturing horses (from French version of “Scenario Book 1”)

    2. Night actions and sleeping characters (from French version of “Scenario Book 1”)


1. General rules for the scenarios

2. Changes made to the scenarios for “Cry Havoc”

3. Changes made to the scenarios for “Siege”

4. Changes made to “Scenario Book 1”


1. Terrain effects table

2. Missile-fire tables

3. Combat results tables

4. Battering, Healing and Fire tables

5. Levels of elevation and restrictions on shooting and combat

6. Sequence of play

Structure of rulebooks for “Cry Havoc” and “Samouraï”

Section in ‘Siege rules’

Introduction, Description of the counters


Special rules for “Samouraï”: Light carts, Challenges, Hara-kiri, Monks, Ninja, Barricades, Lanterns; new terrain types

Not included: see the ‘Samurai Supplement’

Comparative table of numbers of counters and character attack/defence strengths



Troop or equipment type







Mules / Carts + draft animals

6 Mules

2 Carts + horse + ox

1 Cart + horse

Ballistas/ Mangonels/ Trebuchets

4 Ballistas; 4 Mangonels, 4 Trebuchets

Rubble / Fascines (filled moat)

10 Rubble; 8 Fascines + 4 Fascines (2-hex)


[The one-page Rules Summary from the back of the Rules booklet has been included in this section. Information on the playing pieces is included in the ‘Historical Background’ booklet, but the rest of that booklet has not been translated so the information fits in best here.]
“Siege” is both a self-standing game in its own right and a companion game for “Cry Havoc”. The rules for the two games are entirely compatible with one another, and, although five of the seven scenarios proposed here only require “Siege”, the remaining two also require material from the game “Cry Havoc”. Players are actively encouraged to design their own scenarios. Supplementary maps and figures are also available separately.
“Siege” contains many new rules, because this simulation introduces a range of techniques for attacking and defending a castle stronghold of the 13th century. In order to enable players to gradually understand the rules, this booklet is divided into five sections, each of which corresponds to one scenario. At the end of each section it is possible to immediately play a scenario that puts into practice the rules that have just been read. A summary of the rules is printed on the back of this booklet (see below); this will enable players to quickly familiarise themselves with the way in which a game of Siege is played.
Note that throughout these rules the terms ‘he’, ‘his’ and ‘him’ have been used for convenience of expression. These terms do include the feminine versions ‘she’ and ‘her’.

HOW DO YOU PLAY “SIEGE”? (Summary of the rules)

The game turns

The players first choose one of the scenarios provided. Some scenarios only cover one day, others many weeks of siege. For the latter the players will need a siege record sheet. They will record on this the damage inflicted on the castle walls and mark each day that passes. When the time comes for tactical action, each side places its characters on the specified starting locations. Then the first game turn starts. In successive player turns, each player moves and conducts combats for his characters. Archers and crossbowmen can also shoot. The detailed sequence of each game turn is shown on the Game Aid cards.
Specific victory conditions for each scenario will enable determination of the winning side and the end of the game.


The blue number on each counter indicates the number of Movement Points available for that character in each game turn. The character can spend all or part of his points and move on the map in any direction. Depending on the difficulty of the terrain crossed, each hex will require him to spend one or more Movement Points (see the Terrain Types chart). Note that in the interest of realism some moves are prohibited or impose special conditions: e.g. to reach the ramparts it is necessary to move up a stairway or climb a ladder, a character on horseback cannot enter the castle moat, etc.


To be able to attack, a character must be in one of the hexes adjacent to that of his enemy. Some special restrictions are explained on the back of the scenario booklet.
Combats are resolved with the help of a ten-sided die, numbered from 0 to 9 (with 0 counting as 10). However, the result of a combat will also depend on a comparison of the attack strength of the character initiating the combat (the black number) and the defence strength of the character attacked (the red number). By comparing the two numbers an odds ratio between attacker and defender is obtained, and this will be matched against one of the columns of possible results (see the Combat Results Tables). The die will then identify one of the 10 results within that column.
E.g. a knight of strength 24 attacks a soldier with a Defence Strength of 7. The odds ratio is 24 against 7, which is 3.4 against 1, rounded to 3:1 (the 3:1 column in the Combat Results Table for combats against characters on foot). If the player controlling the knight rolls the die and obtains a 2, the result is ‘D’ = Defender stunned. The soldier’s counter is consequently turned over. If the number obtained on the die had been a 7 (result ‘A’), the knight would have been wounded.
It should be noted that the odds ratio in a combat could be altered if there are several attackers and if the characters involved are in different types of terrain.


Once it has been determined that a shot is possible, its effectiveness will depend not only on the weapon used (shortbow, longbow, crossbow or ballista) but also on the range of the shot and the cover that assists the target. It is obviously easier to shoot at someone who is nearby and in the open than at someone who is far away and hidden in a tree… As with combats, the die is rolled to determine the result of the shot (see the Missile Results Tables). It should be noted that knights have better protection, even when they are on foot, and that a shooter aims less well when wounded.
Some special situations are explained on the back of the scenario booklet, in particular when the shooter and his target are at different heights.


Some comments on time scales and distance

“Siege” is a game that, on the tactical maps, simulates man-to-man combat. In other words, each game turn represents a very short period of real time: a few tens of seconds at most [five to ten seconds in the English versions]. Enough time to shoot an arrow, to strike a blow with a sword, or to run a few metres.
The width of a hexagon is equivalent to two metres [‘about six feet across’ in the English versions], a space sufficient for one soldier to wield his weapon comfortably but not enough for a rider on a horse. It is for this reason that each mounted character occupies two hexes, and that it is forbidden to have two living characters on the same hex.
Missile-fire generally takes place at short or medium range. However, shooting at long range has been included for the benefit of players who wish to use additional maps so as to create a much larger game board. Such maps are either available separately or in other boxed games of the series, all of which are compatible with “Siege”.

The counters representing the characters

Each foot character is represented by two double-sided counters. The first shows on one side the character in good health and on the reverse the character stunned. The second counter shows the same character when he is wounded and dead. Characters possessing a mount have four counters: two represent them on foot and two others mounted. On the back of the healthy mounted rider's counter is a picture of the horse without a rider, and on the back of the wounded rider is the dead horse.
The system of double-sided counters is identical for all the characters in the game. It should be noted that a stunned character can neither move nor attack, and that his defence strength is reduced to the passive protection offered by the equipment worn or carried.
On each counter are [the name and picture of the character, as well as] three numbers:

  • A black number: it represents the attack strength of the character. Its amount is determined by the length and heaviness of the weapon, the skill of the man who is using it, and his physical condition.

  • A red number: it represents the defence strength of the character. Its amount is determined by the skill of the character in parrying and dodging blows, as well as his physical condition. Characters in armour have their red number surrounded by a circle.

  • A blue number: it represents the movement allowance of the character, in other words the number of movement points that he can spend each game turn. Its amount is determined by the mode of transport - on foot or on horseback, the weight of armour worn, and the physical condition of the character.

Markers for ‘Panic’ and ‘Rout’, and ‘Ransom’

The Panic and Rout markers are only used if the optional panic rule is being played. The Ransom markers are used if the optional rule for capturing knights is being played. All these markers are placed, when the circumstances require, on top of the counters for the characters concerned.

Equipment counters

Counters for siege towers and battering rams occupy three hexes. The two-hex ladder counter is used when a scaling ladder is being carried; the one-hex ladder counter is used when the scaling ladder is upright against the castle walls. The counters for siege engines are flipped over if they have been burnt. Barrels of oil become flame pieces when flipped over.

Filled moat markers are placed on moat hexes to show that the hexes have been filled; a few ‘double’ pieces covering two hexes are included for convenience. Rubble markers are placed on battlement hexes if the wall has been destroyed.

The drawbridge counter is placed in the marked area at the gates when the drawbridge is lowered.

Draft animals and mules are represented by one double-sided counter. As they are killed by just one hit, the back of the counter depicting the healthy animal has a picture of the dead animal.

Terrain type

Movement cost per hex

(in Movement Points)

Type of cover

Effect of terrain on combat

Flat terrain




Scaling ladder (upright)

3 on foot; Impassable to horses




(1) Combat is impossible across an arrow slit.

(2) Characters in hexes containing Special Equipment ignore the natural terrain in that hex.

(3) As will be explained later, the type of cover affects shooting at a distance, while the advantage (+) or disadvantage (-) associated with terrain affects hand-to-hand combat.

(4) The English version of “Siege” refers to ‘door in building wall’ and so allows horses to enter tower doorways in the same way as they can enter the house doorway hexes in “Cry Havoc”. The French Terrain Effects Tables are clear in identifying that only tower and keep doorways appear in “Siege” and that horses cannot enter them.

The game consists of a series of Game Turns, each of which is sub-divided into two separate Player Turns, one for each side. During his own Player Turn, the relevant player makes his characters shoot, move and fight. Each scenario will state which of the sides starts with the first Player Turn.

When there are several players on each side, all the players of the same side will shoot, move and fight during the same Player Turn.
1.21 Sequence of play

Each game turn is divided into phases as follows:

(Note that the word ‘all’ refers to all the characters from one side.)
First Player Turn

1. FIRST MISSILE FIRE PHASE: All archers and crossbowmen can shoot, with the exception of those engaged in combat during the previous Game Turn.

2. MOVEMENT PHASE: All characters can move, with the exception of crossbowmen that have just shot.

3. SECOND MISSILE FIRE PHASE: All archers can shoot again, including those that were engaged in contact during the previous Game Turn.

4. COMBAT PHASE: All characters in contact with enemy characters may engage in combat.

5. STUNNED CHARACTERS PHASE: All friendly characters who were stunned during the preceding Player Turn will stand up (turn over the relevant counters).

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