Tactics (game)

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Tactics was also the title of a 1915 trick-taking card game which taught military ranks.
Tactics II (1958)
Tactics II (1958)
Other name(s) Tactics II
Manufacturer(s) Monarch Services
J.E. Smith & Co.[1]:175
Designer(s) Charles S. Roberts
Publisher(s) Avalon Hill Games
Publication date 1954; 61 years ago (1954)
II: 1958; 57 years ago (1958)
Years active 1954-1958
II: 1958-1972, 1973-1998
Genre(s) war
Language(s) en
Players 2
Age range 12 and up
Playing time 120 minutes

Tactics is generally credited as being the first commercially successful board wargame.[2][3]


It was designed by Charles S. Roberts in 1953,[4] and self-published in 1954 under the company name of The Avalon Game Company (later changed to Avalon Hill in 1958).[5] Tactics II, a revised version published by Avalon Hill in 1958, then re-released again in 1961 and 1973. In 1972, the game was discontinued due to rising costs, but was redesign in 1973 with less costly components and used as a loss leader as it was an introductory wargame.[6] In 1983 Avalon Hill released a "25th anniversary" edition of the original Tactics, which did (for the first time) include the second map.


Tactics pioneered many game mechanics which became standard in the board wargame industry, including the odds-ratio combat results table and variable movement costs for entering squares (later hexes) containing different types of terrain. It also evolved the use of cardboard counters which had been previously introduced with the game War Tactics or Can Great Britain Be Invaded?.[7] Unlike later board wargames which used a hexagonal grid superimposed on the game map, Tactics used a square grid.


  1. ^ Shannon Appelcline (2011). Designers & Dragons. Mongoose Publishing. ISBN 978-1-907702- 58-7. 
  2. ^ Christopher Lewin, War Games and their History, Chapter 8, Fonthill Media, Stroud (GB) 2012, ISBN 978-1-78155-042-7
  3. ^ The Complete Wargames Handbook (2nd ed.) Chapter 5, James Dunnigan (1991), retrieved October 2007
  4. ^ Wired Magazine March 2013, Page 70
  5. ^ Rienzi, Greg (May 2009). "Baltimore Observed: Encounter". The Urbanite Magazine. Urbanite Baltimore. p. 35. Archived from the original on June 8, 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-11. 
  6. ^ "The General Index and Company History". The General Magazine Index and Company History: 6. 1980. Retrieved August 5, 2015. 
  7. ^ War Tactics or Can Great Britain be Invaded? at the Imperial War Museum

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