Glossary of Siege Warfare terms

Defensive fortifications
The massive castles which spring to mind whenever the subject of siege warfare is discussed are those from the end of the medieval period. There are several reasons for this: the earlier fortifications were either destroyed or replaced by stone structures, and a good stone wall is much more memorable than the remnant earth mound of a motte-and-bailey structure. Castles started out as fortified residences for a local lord in feudal Europe, and were taken to new levels after the Norman invasion of England. Castle building probably reached its zenith during the reign of Edward I and his conquest of Wales.



A small fortified settlement on a strategic route or near a border in 13th century France.


An old pictish tower.


Fortified Welsh settlement.


Defensive island in early medieval Ireland or Scotland.


Fortified residence for a Welsh lord.


Early type of castle with a tower on a raised mound surrounded by a wooden stockade.


A strong wooden fence.

Pele towers
Fortified tower residences found along the England/Scotland border dating form the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Initiated during the reign of Edward I in response to continued raids by armies form Scotland (and England). Continued to be used throughout the era of the Border Reivers.

Shell keep
A stone replacement for the wooden walls of a bailey (of a motte-and-bailey structure) usually restricted by the size of the original mound.


Tower keep
A small castle formed from a single tower.

Castle features

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Review: Sheep

If you had asked me a month ago whether or not I’d play a game about herding sheep, I would probably have said no. After all, how much fun could that be, right? Well, as it turns out, herding sheep is actually a lot more fun than you’d expect.

In Sheep, you take control of a herder, whose task it is to guide a flock of sheep from the beginning of a level to the end. Of course, it’s not that simple, as each level is chocked full of nasty enemies and traps designed to kill sheep in the most imaginative ways possible.

The game features a total of seven worlds. Each world is built around a particular theme. You’ve got a farm, a medieval faire, a space station, a candy factory, a dinosaur playground, and even a nightclub. Each world is composed of four levels, and in order to successfully complete a level, you have to rescue a minimum number of sheep.

Each level oozes creativity, and at no time does the game feel repetitive. Not only do you have to guide the sheep past dangerous obstacles, but you’ve also got to solve puzzles. For the most part, this means herding sheep onto buttons in order to open gates, but there are some more creative puzzles in there.

As you go through a level you’ll come across machines that will provide your sheep with disguises that help them live longer, and there are also a variety of power-ups that …

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Miniatures for siege warfare

Gaming siege warfare

Siege warfare was predominant in the middle ages. Forget about the battles with massed ranks of knights, men-at-arms and spearmen — for each of those there were hundreds of sieges. The next few articles will offer suggestions for gaming siege warfare – covering miniatures, defences, fortifications (model castles, etc.), reference books, a glossary of terms, and (hopefully) wargaming rules. For this first article we take a look at 25/28 mm scale miniatures.

Siege engines
There are a few manufacturers currently offering quality miniatures: is one of two on-line representative for Old Glory (one of the stalwart manufacturers of wargaming miniatures). Check out their Dark and Middle Ages catalogue for Siege Equipment (OGSE).

The models on offer include a penthouse and ram, trebuchet (counter weighted beam and sling stone throwing engine, see illustration left), a 7″ tall siege tower, an onager ( stone throwing engine dating back to Roman times), a crow (crane used to hook ladders and men scaling the castle walls or to pull men hiding behind cover), as wells as palisades or mantlets, and incendiary wagons.

The illustration of miniature trebuchet is courtesy of Old Glory, please note that this picture is copyright protected.

Essex also have a range of siege equipment. Miniatures are tailored to the end of the Roman Empire with different forms of catapult, or to the latter part of the medieval era when gunpowder first appeared (Edward I used gunpowder at Stirling in 1304, and guns were later used …

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