Avalon Hill Games Inc. is a game company that publishes
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and strategic board games. It has also published
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and sports simulations. It is currently a subsidiary of the game company
Wizards of the Coast #REDIRECT Wizards of the Coast Wizards of the Coast LLC (often referred to as WotC or simply Wizards) is an American publisher of games, primarily based on fantasy and List of science fiction themes, science fiction themes, and formerly an ...
, itself a subsidiary of
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. Avalon Hill introduced many of the concepts of modern recreational
wargaming A wargame is a game that realistically simulates warfare, as opposed to abstract games such as chess Chess is a board game Board games are tabletop game Tabletop games are game with separate sliding drawer, from 1390–1353 BC ...
, including the use of a
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al grid (a.k.a. hexgrid) overlaid on a flat folding board, zones of control (ZOC), stacking of multiple units at a location, and board games based upon historical events.


The Avalon Game Company

Avalon Hill was started in 1952 outside
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in Catonsville,
Maryland Maryland ( ) is a U.S. state, state in the Mid-Atlantic (United States), Mid-Atlantic region of the United States, bordering Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia to its south and west; Pennsylvania to its north; and Delaware ...

by Charles S. Roberts under the name of "The Avalon Game Company" for the publication of his game ''
Tactics Tactic(s) or Tactical may refer to: * Tactic (method), a conceptual action implemented as one or more specific tasks ** Military tactics, the disposition and maneuver of units on a particular sea or battlefield ** Chess tactics ** Political tactic ...
''. It is considered the first of a new type of war game, consisting of a self-contained printed map, pieces, rules and box designed for the mass-market. Other war games published over the prior half-century, which Roberts drew inspiration from, were either not designed for the commercial market and/or used miniatures with self-made maps/terrain. Roberts sold ''Tactics'' by mail from his home in the Avalon neighborhood of Catonsville; his house overlooked the
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valley and
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for which Roberts, his father and grandfather worked. Following the success of ''Tactics'', Roberts changed the name upon incorporation from "The Avalon Game Company" to "Avalon Hill" in 1958 because of a naming dispute with another company, and the Avalon house was on a hill. The number of games released per year was erratic until 1964 as the company released anywhere from 1 to 7 games.5-8 The first game published by the company under the name of "Avalon Hill" was the second edition of ''Tactics'', titled ''Tactics II'', published in 1958. AH published two other games that year, ''
GettysburgGettysburg may refer to: Events * Gettysburg Campaign, a series of American Civil War military engagements in the Main Eastern Theater. ** Battle of Gettysburg, July 1–3 military engagements during the 1863 Gettysburg Campaign ** Retreat from Get ...
'' and the railroad game ''Dispatcher''. In 1959, Roberts moved Avalon into an office space on Gay Street in Baltimore and took on its first outside designed game, ''Verdict'', by two corporate lawyers. After another office move, in Thomas N. Shaw, a high school friend of Roberts, was hired to design games.6 In 1960, Avalon published the first mostly dice-less sports game in ''Football Strategy'' designed by Thomas N. Shaw which was followed by two sister games, ''Baseball Strategy'' and ''Basketball Strategy''. Of this sports strategy line, the football and baseball versions were previously privately published by Shaw in 1959.7 With a recession occurring, debt began to pile up starting in 1961. Avalon launched a pre-school children's line in 1963 with four games, ''Imagination'', ''What Time Is It?'', ''Doll House'' and ''Trucks, Trains, Boats & Planes'', which flopped. Roberts gave up and planned to file bankruptcy on .p7 Instead his creditors, Monarch Office Services and J.E. Smith & Co. interceded and took over. Monarch had printed all but the boxes, which were done by J.E. Smith. The company was reorganized by retaining only one staff member, Shaw, moved, cut costs and appointed J.E. Sparling as president.p7,8 In 1964, AH set a two-game per year release schedule.5-8 Avalon Hill published ''
Blitzkrieg Blitzkrieg (, from ''Blitz'' lightning"+ ''Krieg'' war" is a method of warfare where the attacker spearheads an offensive using a rapid overwhelming force concentration Force concentration is the practice of concentrating a military for ...
'' in 1965. This game was an abstract combat game, featuring two sides (red and blue) and some neutral countries. Many rules variants were created for ''Blitzkrieg''. The company also published simulations of actual battles and campaigns, such as ''Midway (1964 game), Midway,'' ''Afrika Korps (game), Afrika Korps,'' and ''Battle of the Bulge (1991 game), The Battle of the Bulge.'' Avalon Hill published ''PanzerBlitz'' in 1970, designed for the company by Jim Dunnigan's Simulations Publications, Inc. (SPI) on a royalty basis from SPI's ''Tac Force 3'' game.p9

Monarch Avalon division

Monarch bought out J.E. Smith & Co., Avalon Hill's co-owner, on . Thus the company became a division of a renamed Monarch Office Services, Monarch Avalon.p10 The company acquired several successful games including ''Acquire'', ''TwixT'' and ''Feudal (game), Feudal'' from the purchase of 3M bookshelf game series, 3M Games in .p5,12 Sports Illustrated (SI) line of sports games were purchased in . Both lines increased the retail outlets that would take AH games. The Aladdin Industries game line was another acquisition in . With the SI line, the company started a sports game division in with Bruce Milligan hired to head the division and launch ''All Star Replay'' sport games magazine. While from the 3M line, ''Facts in Five'' became its top selling game.p5,12 During the 1970s, Avalon Hill published a number of popular games such as ''Outdoor Survival'', ''Panzer Blitz'', ''Squad Leader'', and the ''Statis Pro'' sports line. Avalon Hill also purchased many games from smaller companies and republished them. Heritage Models sold AH its Battleline Publications in .p5,15 Much of the Battleline line, including ''Wooden Ships and Iron Men'' and ''Machiavelli'' (a variant of ''Diplomacy (game), Diplomacy'' set in Renaissance Italy), was republished by Avalon Hill, along with the popular ''Diplomacy''. AH also acquired Jedko Games' ''The Russian Campaign'' and ''War at Sea'', and Hartland Trefoil's ''Civilization (1980 board game), Civilization''. ''1830 (board game), 1830'' was developed by Avalon Hill, but based on Francis Tresham (game designer), Francis Tresham's ''1829 (board game), 1829''. In 1974, a new game developer attempted to pitch his concept to Avalon Hill. Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson had co-developed a new type of co-operative game that used roleplaying game, role-playing. But when Gygax pitched ''Dungeons & Dragons'' to AH, the largest company in wargaming did not understand the concept of role-playing, and turned down his offer. Gygax was forced to form TSR Inc in order to self-publish his game. In less than five years, TSR would be the dominant player in the new RPG market. Avalon Hill entered the role-playing game market a decade later by publishing ''Powers and Perils'' in 1983 and ''Lords of Creation (role-playing game), Lords of Creation'' in 1984. The licenses to ''RuneQuest'' and the board games ''White Bear & Red Moon'' (republished as ''Dragon Pass'') and ''Elric'', were acquired in a complex agreement in 1983 with Chaosium, and Avalon Hill published the 3rd Edition in 1984. None of these role-playing games achieved the popularity of the long-established competitor, ''Dungeons & Dragons''. Avalon Hill became an early publisher of Video game, computer games in 1980 with its video game division Microcomputer Games, adapting some of its boardgame titles to various computer platforms (TRS-80, Vic-20, Commodore 64, Apple II family, Apple II, etc.) on several data formats (cassette tape and Floppy disk#The 5.BC-inch minifloppy, 5¼" disk). Sales of these products were decent, but the only outstanding success was ''Achtung Spitfire! (Avalon Hill), Achtung Spitfire!'', published relatively late in the company history. ''Gulf Strike (video game), Gulf Strike'' was introduced by the company in and was based on the Iran–Iraq War then updated after the cease-fire in 1988. AH published ''The Dr. Ruth Game'' in which sold initially well then dropped off. Facing an economic downturn in 1990 and a three year period of losses, Monarch Avalon closed its New York office, sold its toy division and reduced inventory. AH also published its timely game expansion, ''Desert Shield'', that sold out in weeks after its release such that a second print run hit the market in . In 1991, Hobbycraft Canada was sharing office space with Monarch Avalon. World Boardgaming Championships, The AvalonCon World Boardgaming Championships was first held by AH in 1991. In December 1992, AH hired Jim Rose to lead its computer game division, with the goal of reviving this part of the business in the face of flagging board game sales. AH reentered the computer game market in 1994 with a good review of "Flight Commander 2". The company added Pogs to its game line up in 1995. By June 1995, Rose had left the company to found TalonSoft. In 1995, Monarch Avalon placed Avalon Hill up for sale but it was later withdrawn. Avalon Hill's return to computer games proved unsuccessful: Terry Coleman of ''Computer Gaming World'' reported in late 1998 that "no AH game in the past five years [had] sold even 50,000 units worldwide".

Hasbro subsidiary

Monarch sold Avalon Hill to Hasbro on August 4, 1998 for $6 million. Coinciding with the purchase, Hasbro laid off AH's entire staff. Hasbro, seeking popular board games that could be converted to computer versions, purchased the rights to the Avalon Hill trademarks, copyrights, inventory, tooling and divisions, Avalon Hill Software and Victory Games, and placed them under its video game subsidiary, Hasbro Interactive. Avalon Hill Games, Inc. was incorporated by Hasbro on . In 2001, Hasbro Interactive was sold to Atari SA, Infogrames; Avalon Hill was not included in the sale and Hasbro later transferred control of the company to its subsidiary,
Wizards of the Coast #REDIRECT Wizards of the Coast Wizards of the Coast LLC (often referred to as WotC or simply Wizards) is an American publisher of games, primarily based on fantasy and List of science fiction themes, science fiction themes, and formerly an ...
, in 2004. Hasbro has released new titles under the Avalon Hill name, and added the Avalon Hill imprint to older titles such as ''Axis and Allies'' that were not originally made by Avalon Hill. On September 8, 2020, Hasbro announced that it would take Avalon Hill management back under its own control from Wizards of the Coast beginning in January 2021.

Game rights

The rights to many of Avalon Hill's more complex games have been licensed or sold to other game publishers, or have reverted to their original owners and been republished by other companies: * Multi-Man Publishing acquired a license to ''Advanced Squad Leader'' and the ''Great Campaigns of the American Civil War'' series, and has since published new materials for these. * Valley Games published new versions of ''Titan (board game), Titan'', ''Hannibal: Rome versus Carthage'', and ''Republic of Rome (game), Republic of Rome''. * GMT Games published new editions of Avalon Hill's early card-driven wargames ''We the People (game), We the People'' (retitled ''Washington's War''), ''Successors'', and ''For the People'', and a descendant of ''Advanced Third Reich''/''Empire of the Rising Sun'' named ''A World at War''. * Mayfair Games now has the rights to ''1830'' (one of several 18XX games they publish).

Victory Games

One of Avalon Hill's competitors, Simulations Publications, Inc. (SPI), produced wargames that were more complex and realistic simulations than those that Avalon Hill published. In 1982, after SPI was purchased by TSR (company), TSR, Avalon Hill hired away some of SPI's design staff and formed them into a subsidiary company, Victory Games. When Victory Games released a line of SPI-style games, it met with critical and commercial acclaim. In 1989, Victory Games brought on Leonard Quam, a veteran from West End Games, and hired Kevin Boylan as a product developer. Victory Games continued to develop and release new products, including ''3rd Fleet'' and ''Carrier (game), Carrier''. The New York office closed in early 1991 after Quam left the company. Victory's final two games, ''Flashpoint Golan'' and ''Across Five Aprils'', were developed by Boylan alone, who worked remotely in collaboration with Avalon Hill's art department. In addition from 1983 to 1987, the imprint also published an officially licensed tabletop role-playing game of the ''James Bond'' spy fiction media franchise, James Bond 007 (role-playing game), ''James Bond 007: Role-Playing In Her Majesty's Secret Service''.


''The General''

Avalon Hill also had its own house organ which promoted sale and play of its games, ''The General Magazine'', which was published regularly between 1964 and 1998. The magazine offered a wide array of features, including articles on both strategies of play and tactics for specific situations, historical analyses, semi-regular features devoted to individual games, columns on sports and computer games by AH, listings of vendors and opponents, answers to questions on game rules, ratings for both games and players, discount coupons for mail orders, and insider information on future AH projects.

''All-Star Replay''

This magazine was for Avalon Hill's sports games. A total of 19 issues were published quarterly (later bi-monthly) from 1977 to 1981.


In early 1984, on the occasion of the release of third edition ''RuneQuest'', Avalon Hill included in all ''RuneQuest'' boxes a single Flyer (pamphlet), advertising flyer (see image, right) announcing the launch of ''HEROES'', its own role-playing magazine. ''HEROES'' ran for ten issues from 1984 to 1986''HEROES'' review from Shannon Appelcline's website
/ref> and had the main purpose to promote all four of Avalon Hill's role-playing games: ''James Bond 007'', ''Lords of Creation (Role Playing Game), Lords of Creation'', ''Powers and Perils'', and ''RuneQuest''.

See also

* List of Avalon Hill games


External links

The Avalon Hill Home Page at www.wizards.com

from GIS.net {{Hasbro 1952 establishments in Maryland American companies established in 1952 Board game publishing companies Companies based in Renton, Washington Design companies established in 1952 Hasbro subsidiaries Video game publishers Wargame companies Publishing companies established in 1952 1998 mergers and acquisitions 2004 mergers and acquisitions