Back when I was a small tyke, I vividly remember playing an Avalon Hill board game called PanzerBlitz, which was a game about tactical armored combat on the Eastern Front in World War 2. This game was originally published in 1970, and I think I started playing it in about 1972-73. It was designed by noted game designer Jim Dunnigan, and it really helped put Avalon Hill on the map for serious wargamers.
The game had a three piece “Geomorphic” map, which allowed you to change the orientation and order of the map boards in order to support different scenarios, and still have all of the terrain features connect from board to board. It also had a couple of hundred small unit counters (like on the right above), that represented individual units.
You were given a scenario card, that told you how to orient the map, what units each side got, and the historical background for the scenario. The map was divided into hexagons, and you had to consider the facing of your units, their lines of sight, the terrain, etc.
You were supposed to play against someone else, but being an isolated proto-geek, I usually played against myself, which was actually a good learning experience, since you can’t really fool your self! It forced me to learn the details and differences between the units, how to use terrain effectively, etc. This early training came in very handy, when I was a real world tank commander of an M60A1 tank in the Marine Corps about ten years later.
At any rate, I had a lot of fun, and learned quite a bit by playing games like this as a youth. It turns out that it is pretty easy to find copies of this game on EBay, so pretty soon, I should have a copy once again.