Board Games Avalon-Hill's 1958 Game "Gettysburg"

Eric Calistri

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May 31, 2012
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I too had this game in my childhood. I think my mom got it at a garage sale in the late 1960s (like most of the things we had then) after a trip to Gettysburg. Not sure whatever became of it, I know some of the pieces went to down a heater vent never to be seen again.
 

James N.

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I too had this game in my childhood. I think my mom got it at a garage sale in the late 1960s (like most of the things we had then) after a trip to Gettysburg. Not sure whatever became of it, I know some of the pieces went to down a heater vent never to be seen again.
Happily, mine is still complete, even if worn. I relatively recently bought a couple of the old A-H WWII games at my favorite flea market - fortunately, they were only missing one or two pieces and it was possible to figure out which ones by looking at the included order-of-battle sheets.
 

rpkennedy

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Happily, mine is still complete, even if worn. I relatively recently bought a couple of the old A-H WWII games at my favorite flea market - fortunately, they were only missing one or two pieces and it was possible to figure out which ones by looking at the included order-of-battle sheets.

I still have my old Advanced Squad Leader games packed away in the basement.

Ryan
 

Gettysburg Guide #154

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Dec 30, 2019
I spent some time looking at some other maps, but I cannot see that the game board is like any of them. I agree with Pamc153pa that it somewhat reminds one of the Elliott Map, but I think that is because it uses the same odd method of showing hills with what I sort of think of as vertical lines. The Warren map shows topographic lines similar to what a modern military or geological survey map would have. The game board map has several inaccuracies. For one thing, McPherson Ridge is really two ridges from about the south end of Herbst Woods northward. The map also fails to show that Seminary Ridge ends north of Pitzer's Woods, and then Warfield Ridge begins and runs southeast. it also fails to show that Emmittsburg Road is on its own ridge that exists between Seminary and Cemetery Ridges, which is an important factor in the battle, at least in my view. Someone has already pointed out that the Peach Orchard is not shown as an elevation, which is a product of not showing the ridge on which Emmitsburg Road is located. I notice that the Sherfy Farm is shown as higher than the Peach Orchard. I also wonder about the realism of having units like Beverly Robertson's and William "Grumble" Jones' Brigades in the game (they were not present at the battle), and Imboden's role was solely to escort the Confederate wagon train of wounded during the retreat. Having said all this, I have not played this game, and so I really have no idea whether any of it affects the game as a game.
 

Estrik

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Nov 13, 2018
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Chatham, MA
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I had originally planned to save this one for a little nearer to Christmas, which is when I first received this as a present from my mother in 1959 and first played it with my friend from junior high school (modern so-called middle school to you whippersnappers!) Mike @mkyzzzrdet . Since posting my recent thread on the Avalon-Hill Company's companion game Civil War https://civilwartalk.com/threads/civil-war-avalon-hills-1961-game.175983/ many of you have responded with at least some degree of familiarity with this one as well, so I thought it was the right time to feature it now. But first a word about this particular title in Avalon-Hill's catalog:

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No doubt although some of you still remember Avalon-Hill's Gettysburg, it may not be this particular original version! Note that on the box lid it states in tiny blue print, AVALON-HILL'S TRADE-MARK NAME FOR ITS GETTYSBURG BATTLE GAME COPYRIGHT 1958. Having actually gone so far as to copyright the name Gettysburg, later editions of the game could scarcely afford to abandon the familiar name for the battle; that's the reason subsequent wargames were forced into production with such titles as SPI's Cemetery Ridge or Terrible Swift Sword. (It may indeed have been terrible but it was scarcely swift!) So when, after only a very few years, A-H decided to revise their game, almost everything about it may have changed, including the rules, mapboard, game pieces, and box art, it was still A-H Gettysburg.

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THIS was Gettysburg in all its glory as I remember it, although no actual game would EVER have looked like this simulation of Pickett's Charge I have set up: Losses would've prevented so complete a showing at this stage of the battle - oh, I mean game. However, this does serve to illustrate several things about this version of Gettysburg that set it apart from all the others. Firstly, it was a map game - other than in the wholly unsatisfactory Basic Game did the square grid have any relevance - movement was measured in inches: two for infantry and four for cavalry and artillery; charging cavalry could move five. Another feature I highly approve of (though actually unrealistic, considering the scale) was inclusion of the concept of linear tactics, whereby units face in the direction the arrow on them points and are represented as rectangles simulating units drawn up in lines of battle. (Of course in "real life" units the size of divisions as here could send their component brigades or regiments in any direction they chose.) Purists should recognize that I have deliberately omitted most of the cavalry from my setup though they are certainly represented as brigades in the game; unfortunately the game map doesn't extend as far as Cavalry Battlefield to include them here in Pickett's Charge.

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Notice they can be faced in any direction the player chooses; unit strengths are relative to the number printed on them and can be increased if the unit happens to be sitting on a hill or ridge. (Woods and streams have no effect on play) Movement along a road can increase the distance a unit can travel. After enough games with Mike I have the mapboard engraved in my memory; however, I now realize the various terrain maps of Gettysburg themselves vary, and have no idea which one or ones this map is based on - maybe some of our resident experts like @pamc153PA @rpkennedy @Gettysburg Guide #154 or others can say? (Note that, for example, for some reason the Peach Orchard isn't on a hill!) Below is the mapboard denuded of all but the pieces at the opening of the game, 10 pm June 30, 1863: Gamble and Devin's brigades of Buford's Union cavalry division plus four outposts; and Henry Heth's Confederate Division - which of course was neither this close to town nor all present until the following morning. The Union player always moves first and each turn is considered an hour of real time - the game can conceivably last until the morning of July 7, including a day-and-a-half of rain and mud!

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Reinforcements for each side arrive by the above schedules; below are examples of rules and situations that may result.

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I still have this game and recently played it with our son. My game is a later version, received as a gift in 1967.
 

MichaelWinicki

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Jul 23, 2020
Looking back, I realize I didn't really comment on what sort of GAME this was... We found it overall another exercise in futility, much like its contemporary Civil War I featured before. Once again, the South had the hardest time winning; I only remember a single game that I won as the Confederates, somehow having Pender's Division, the artillery brigades of Dance and Nelson, and Rooney Lee's cavalry brigade left after waxing Howe's division of the VI Corps. It seemed - to us at least - that the Federal VI Corps was always the clincher: by that point in the battle game there was simply no way for the Confederate player to eliminate these last three strong divisions. Like the actual battle, though it might be possible for the Confederates to romp over the I and XI Corps on July 1, it soon began to be impossible for them to capitalize on their early success that very night once the Federal reinforcements began to arrive. (The total point values for the two armies were 52 for the Confederates versus 70 Federal.) Mike and I attempted to compensate in a way never intended by the designers, what we called the 2/3 Rule whereby if the attacker had a point advantage at least 2/3 greater than the defender, we would round the factors up in order to more easily get 2-1, 3-1, etc. odds, but I don't think that really accomplished much.

Does anyone else have differing experiences or opinions as to the playability on this original version of Gettysburg?

This.

We ended up creating Ranson's Division and adding it to the play mix in order to help balance things a wee bit more.
 

51st Georgia

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May 31, 2011
Location
Miami FL
I started on the 1977 version with the full color map and the fantastic counters with AOP Corps badges and States for the Confederate Brigades. I learned SO MUCH about the battle from that game. That and Killer Angels was a combination for a lifetime of interest
 

Leigh Cole

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Nov 9, 2016
Location
Monroe, MI
Truly a bargain at $4.95!!!! My next door neighbor had that game and we played it often. I was always more of a miniature gamer myself. I didn't start appreciating board game simulations until I was in college and had limited space available for gaming. I find it hard, now, to go back to that sort of game. I had a lot of down time at work during the lockdown days of the pandemic so I took up a table in our office with "Panzerblitz." (The members of my staff were very kind to NOT move any of the pieces when I wasn't looking.) I played several large scenarios but, wow, I had forgotten how long the setup time was for those things. Pawing through little stacks of colored cardboard to find one more piece that I needed... giving up and deciding to use something... Oh! wait! There it is! :bounce:
I am guessing you did not get caught up in Squad Leader then ASL....You can spend a whole day on the set up. I think AH's Gettysburg 77 was a bit like that as well.
 
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