Many of us were first introduced to wargaming by seeing an Avalon Hill game in a store. I know I was. MIDWAY was my first introduction to wargaming, and while I bought and played games by other companies in those early 1970s, such as titles published by GDW and SPI (to name the most prominent), I bought most of the wargames AH put out. Can't say that about the other companies. A lot of the best designs were not ones that AH created in house but those acquired elsewhere (PANZERBLITZ, RUSSIAN CAMPAIGN, WOODEN SHIPS AND IRON MEN being some of the best examples). Share some nostalgia about AH games you cut your wargaming teeth on, those you loved, and--yes--those you loved a lot less. Talk about AH personalities and conventions....

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My wargaming path was a bit circuitous.

Both of my parents loved The Civil War, and as such, took my younger brother and I on trips to visit battlefields, large and tiny, all throughout the centennial years.   During that time he bought The Civil War.  I remember playing it with my father and being absolutely fascinated with it.  But I never knew about the hobby out there and as such, just forgot about it for several years.  Then, while on my honeymoon in 1979 I saw a game in a mall toy store called Submarine.  I bought it, and very soon after discovered Chancellorsville, Panzerblitz and SL.  Well... that was it for me.  I was all in now.  And although I went on to find a gaming group or two and discovered the world of SPI and others, there was always something comforting about pulling out an AH game and sitting down with it.  It's difficult not to be swept up in nostalgia when talking about AH.  Which is why I think I go around even today, buying old AH titles I either owned back in the day and had sold, or had never owned.  Why just the other day I received my unpunched copy of Air Assault on Crete, one of those I had never bought.  

1964 Back then AH advertized in Boys Life.  AK was first, then Midway (4.95 each).  Next 'Grad and then the memory gets hazy.  I have copies of Anzio,  Caesars Legions, and 1914 is sitting on the shelf with a price tag of 6.95 on it. There are not many that are not here somewhere.  You look at them all and you see the marketing strategy.  They knew that most of their market had to play on card tables or coffee tables. And they stuck to that until almost the end.  I have some old AH hex sheets that they sold; they are nothing like the SPI hexsheets that became standard.  Even the map for Struggle of Nations (remember the long "Packages" that you put on the pint size  hexes) will fit on a card table.  War and Peace, that was one not mentioned, (march divided fight united).  Alexander!  I once made a grown man cry by beating him with the right Persian set up.  Then Panzer Blitz and Panzer Leader and Arab Israeli Wars there was something new.  Then there were Fortress Europe and Russian Campaign the replacements for D-Day and 'Grad. But how we all ended up hating Squat Leader  Not ASL, I and my gaggle of friends wouldn't touch it, no old Squat leader where they kept adding rules that drove you nuts.  After that I'd go to the game store and brouse maybe once a year .  It was 8 years before I bought another game, Bloody Roads South followed by Lion of the North..  To bad about old Avalon Hill., too bad.  Now that old  AH symbol seems a dream I once had. 


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