Boardgame counters are usually small cardboard squares moved around on the map of a wargame to represent armies, military units or individual military personnel. The first modern mass-market wargame, based on cardboard counters and hex-board maps, was Tactics, invented by Charles S. Roberts in 1952. Traditional wargames typically have hundreds of counters (The Russian Campaign, 225; Panzer Grenadier, 660; _Anvil_of_Victory, 856; Terrible Swift Sword, >2,000). Squad Leader had counters of different sizes: 520 1/2-inch counters and 192 5/8-inch, with the different sizes used for different purposes.
Boardgame counters are often closely related to military map marking symbols, such as those seen in the NATO standard APP-6a, and often include a simplified APP-6a representation as part of the counter.
In block wargames, wooden blocks are used instead of cardboard as the counters to represent pieces, in order to emulate the fog of war (by placing the blocks upright to make the information visible to only one of the players).
Although counters are typically square, some games use oblong rectangles as counters for individual ships, as in Flying Colors, or for land units in tactical-scale games when the designer wishes to emphasize the facing or linearity of the unit, as in the Great Battles of History series. Other variations are of course possible. The unit counters in Luftwaffe are circular, while one game covering the Eastern Front in World War II had hexagonal counters.