The hobby of wargaming was born in the 1950s with the publication of the game Tactics. TACTICS II is a direct descendant of this original board wargame.
TACTICS II is sort of like military chess. Different pieces, called "units" in wargames, have different capabilities just like chess pieces. The major difference is that a player can move all his pieces each turn, and after all his pieces are moved, battles are resolved against the enemy units his pieces are next to (adjacent to).
The other major difference between wargames and chess is that wargames have a mapboard, divided into squares or hexagons for movement purposes. TACTICS II has a 22" x 28" mapboard portraying a fictional continent with two countries, Blue and Red. Terrain includes roads, rivers, woods, mountains, beaches, and cities. The Blue Capital can only be reached over a vast plain, bordered on the left by mountains and on the right by woods. The Red Capital is on an island and can only be reached across one of several bridges or by an amphibious invasion.
Game features include special functions for headquarters units, terrain effects, invasions, airborne assaults, weather effects, replacements, isolation, and even nuclear weapons. Units represent infantry, armor, mountain, airborne, headquarters, and amphibious troops. Over 100 counters in all.
TACTICS II was almost always part of the Avalon Hill game line, primarily because it was sold as an introductory wargame for a number of reasons. The rules introduced many basic board wargaming concepts and were relatively low in complexity. The rulebook is divided into a basic game and a tournament game (advanced game). Both are balanced and relatively quick playing. As the opposing armies are identical in size and composition, victory is gained by a combination of logic, foresight, luck, common sense, and skill in military strategy and tactics.
In 1981, an unauthorized hex map version, called Operação MX-1, was released in Brazil. It is sometimes referred to as "Tactics III".
The 1958 version was most noteworthy for its circular HQ units--a bit of minutiae important to those who thought they could claim ownership of a first edition copy of the hobby's first wargame. The advancing state of the art and rising prices drove the game from the AH line in 1972, until reinstated in 1973 with less expensive components and a much lower price. The 1973 version, while not improving the game in any way, has been a consistent seller due to its loss leader price which has proved a successful tool in getting newcomers to the hobby to start off with an introductory level game.
Avalon Hill Complexity Rating - 1
Articles published in Avalon Hill The General.
The rules for Tactics II have changed over the years with the edition released in 1958, 1961, and 1973. This means the articles in the early years are written with different rules in mind than the rules from later editions. This can lead to some confusing reading. To help the reader, I am breaking the articles down by date of issue in an effort to identify which rules are in effect for a given article. Until I actually have rules from the 1958 and 1961 editions, I will not be able to easily identify the differences between those sets of rules.