Avalon Hill, Charles Roberts, Games, James Dunnigan, Nerd News, Obituaries, Simulations Publications, War Gaming
PanzerBlitz, designed by Jim Dunnigan in 1969, was the best of the Avalon Hill games.
Charles S. Roberts passed away recently from emphysema at 80 years of age. Roberts was best known as a historian of American railroads, but in 1954 he took advantage of his professional experience in printing and advertising to found the game company Avalon Hill in 1954.
Avalon Hill created an entire new war gaming hobby with its board games based on historical events. AH’s crucial innovations included the use of a grid overlaid on a flat folding map, zones of control (ZOC), an odds-based combat results table (CRT), and terrain effects on movement, troop strength, morale.
The earliest games were primitive, featuring large and arbitrary units, a rectangular grid offering overly limited movement and possibilities of unit interaction, and thoroughly unbalanced scenarios.
AH’s publication of PanzerBlitz, designed by the legendary Jim Dunnigan, in 1969 represented a design breakthough featuring a hexagonal map grid, tactical level units, and multiple typically far more balanced scenarios.
Dunnigan went on to operate Simulations Publications, a rival company that eclipsed Avalon Hill and created a new era in simulations gaming.
Baltimore Sun obituary
Hat tip to Walter Olson.
Fighting one’s way to the vital Russian village of Bednost (Poverty)