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"When was AH Gettysburg widely available?" Topic

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Malchor03 Apr 2021 7:46 p.m. PST

Asking about the 1958 edition as this the game credited with getting so many people started in the hobby. Curious when AH Gettysburg was widely available and when people actually started hearing about it.

AH published Gettysburg, Tacticts II and Dispatch inmid-August 1958 (late in the year to really make wave for the 1958 holiday season). It took time for the games to get into distribution and then to start to get press coverage—the the whole thing nearly folding December 1963.

So the question is, when did AH Gettysburg actually start to get noticed and purchased? Was it really a block buster in 1958 or did it take a few years for people to start taking note?

DisasterWargamer03 Apr 2021 8:20 p.m. PST

I first saw it in a hobby/toy shop on Cape Cod in 1965 if I remember correctly

Personal logo Saber6 Supporting Member of TMP Fezian03 Apr 2021 9:00 p.m. PST

Mid to late 60's for sure. We could get games at nearly any toy store

mumbasa03 Apr 2021 9:06 p.m. PST

I went into Uncle Hank's Toy Store, Westminster, Colorado in 1961 to buy some 54mm Roman chariots. I walked out with AH Gettysburg. When I visited Gettysburg in 1965, I took the map board with me to make sure I hit all the cool places;)

Personal logo chicklewis Supporting Member of TMP03 Apr 2021 9:10 p.m. PST

My father taught me to play Tactics II in '59 just before we moved to California. About '63 we found Gettysburg for sale, used condition, in a local thrift store for 25 cents, and purchased it.

William Warner03 Apr 2021 9:29 p.m. PST

I first saw it in the Sears Christmas "wish book." For you of the younger generation, it was the largest catalog Sears sent out every year to its regular customers. I recall it being 2" or more thick, but it may have grown with memory. Nothing in the catalog mattered to my brother and I except the toy section. That's where we first saw the game Gettysburg. It was a new item, so it must have been in 1958 or '59. I still have it.

Dukewilliam03 Apr 2021 11:22 p.m. PST

We got ours around 1966. I was 6 years old and my father taught me to play. 54 years later I am still playing board war games. And while I no longer have the original version I have the Smithsonian Edition which I still play on occasion.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP04 Apr 2021 3:55 a.m. PST

I heard about AH games in 1964, and they were available in local gift shops at that time. (Funny thing is that I was already getting that Sears Christmas catalog, but don't remember it from there: I just turned to the Marx playsets every year.)

dbander12304 Apr 2021 5:09 a.m. PST

I starting playing the original game as a H S freshman in 1961

Malchor04 Apr 2021 5:24 a.m. PST

William, brilliant idea to check the catalogs! I remember those, and still did the same in the late seventies. And of course, there is a site for that, for those who want o take a walk down memory lane: It is amazing, as remembered, the toys and games were in the back of the book for Sears.

Edit: 1959 Sears Holiday catalog was the first to carry AH games (Gattysburg, Tactics II and Verdict).

Garryowen04 Apr 2021 5:45 a.m. PST

I bought my Gettysburg either from Bussler Miniatures or from Bob Bard. It was probably 1958 or 1959.


Shagnasty Supporting Member of TMP04 Apr 2021 6:16 a.m. PST

I bought mine at Hall Hobby House in Dallas in 1961 when I was a sophomore in HS. Tactics II was acquired the following year.

Personal logo Virtualscratchbuilder Supporting Member of TMP Fezian04 Apr 2021 6:26 a.m. PST

I remember seeing it of all places, behind the perfume counter at an A M & As (upscale department store) at the Boulevard Mall in Buffalo NY around 1965. That was back in the day when every department store, drug store and corner store sold model kits. I was reminiscing with my wife the other day about being able to think of at least 40 places where you could buy kits BESIDES hobby shops. Incidentally I bought my first AH game from an Ulrich's drug store.

SpuriousMilius04 Apr 2021 8:53 a.m. PST

From the 1950's to the '70's, my family lived in a mid-size town about 50 miles from Dallas & we went to Big D to shop once or twice a month. The large department stores had toy departments with board games & might have a few Avalon Hill titles. I may have bought my "Gettysburg" & "Tactics II" at Neiman Marcus. I also discovered Hall's Hobby House & it became my "Go To Store" for board games, model kits & terrain materials; Hall's was a major DFW seller of model railroad supplies & had a track set up around the shop near the ceiling with a train running on it.

John the OFM04 Apr 2021 9:17 a.m. PST

I never played the 1958 version with the square grid.
I did play the later hex version with a friend around 1967. Since he had it, I didn't need to buy it.
I did get all the early AH games though.

doc mcb04 Apr 2021 9:27 a.m. PST

I was playing D-Day in 9th grade, which would have been 1960 or 61. I had had GETTYSBURG and TACTICS II for at least a year before that. So I bought it from the nearby upscale toy store in not later than 1959.

Ed Mohrmann Supporting Member of TMP04 Apr 2021 10:36 a.m. PST

Purchased in early '62 from Nat Polk's in NYC.

Garryowen05 Apr 2021 5:20 a.m. PST

In 58 or 59 I bought the square grid map version of Gettusburg from either Bussler Miniatures or Bob Bard. I think it was Bussler.


DalyDR05 Apr 2021 7:15 p.m. PST

A friend gave me a 3rd print edition dated January, 1959, (never played, unpunched counters) so it must have done alright to go through three printings in the first six months?

I didn't get the game until the 1977 version, as I wasn't even around in the 1950s or 60s!

Tortorella Supporting Member of TMP06 Apr 2021 1:17 p.m. PST

I got mine in the mid 60s, square grid. Other kids had it as well, we played it until the outcomes became predictable. I still have it today, along with four or five others. In Waterloo, the French won every time by sending a massive cavalry sweep around the British and off the board. The British had to remove an equal amount of units, and could not survive.

Malchor06 Apr 2021 2:31 p.m. PST

DalyDR, good point. No idea what the initial run was, but Charles Roberts must gotten off to a decent start.

I'm trying to hunt up scans of the various printings to map them out. If anyone still has a 1958 edition and wants to snap a photo or scan the page with this info, it would be appreciated. PM me if you plan on doing this.

Can say, in 2021, I got my first AH board games, the 1965 Battle of the Bulge and Britannia (1987 edition). It was mostly GMT and Academy games up to now.

Marc33594 Supporting Member of TMP26 Apr 2021 7:27 a.m. PST

Plenty of information, including lots of pictures, here:

Blutarski03 Jun 2021 6:48 p.m. PST

I too can confirm playing the square-grid AH Gettysburg in 1960-1961.

On a related note, I feel that AH's "Anzio" was a very under-appreciated game. Very challenging for both sides.


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