Tactics is generally credited as being the first board wargame. It was designed by Charles S. Roberts in 1952, and self-published in 1954 under the company name of The Avalon Game Company (later changed to Avalon Hill). Roberts designed two maps for the game originally, but the 1954 edition contained only one, which was also used as the basis for the map in Tactics II, a revised version published by Avalon Hill in 1958, then re-released again in 1961 and 1972. In 1983 Avalon Hill released a "25th anniversary" edition of the original Tactics, which did (for the first time) include the second map.
Tactics pioneered many game mechanics which became standard in the board wargame industry, including cardboard counters representing individual military units with separate values for movement and combat; the odds-ratio combat results table; and variable movement costs for entering squares (later hexes) containing different types of terrain. Unlike later board wargames which used a hexagonal grid superimposed on the game map, Tactics used a square grid.