Personal Computer Museum, Canada's Videogame Museum

Avalon Hill

Avalon Hill
Avalon Hill Game Company
4517 Harford Road
Baltimore, MD 21214
Year Founded:
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Avalon Hill was a game company that specialized in wargames and strategic board games. It also published the occasional miniature wargaming rules, role-playing game, and had a popular line of sports simulations. It is now a division of the game company Wizards of the Coast, which is itself a subsidiary of Hasbro.

The company was started in 1958 by Charles S. Roberts following the success of his wargame Tactics. With Tactics, Roberts created a new type of board game based on scenarios that simulated military forces, strategies, and tactics. This sort of game was relatively well known, as H. G. Wells had written a set of rules called Little Wars early in the 20th Century, but they had used miniature figures and modeled 3D-terrain, like that later found in model railroading, and the situations represented were small-scale skirmishes between handfulls of soldiers.

Avalon Hill pioneered many of the concepts of modern recreational wargaming. These include elements such as the use of a hexagonal grid (aka hexgrid) overlaid on a flat folding board, zones of control (ZOC), stacking of multiple units at a location, an odds-based combat results table (CRT), terrain effects on movement, troop strength, morale, and board games based upon historical events. Complex games could and did take days or even weeks, and AH set up a system for people to play games by mail.