About the Charles S. Roberts Awards

Awards Director

Gary Mengle, Director

Gary Mengle is the host of Ardwulf’s Lair. He has been gaming since 1980 and a content creator since 2007. He enjoys wargames, RPGs and the occasional video game or Euro. His live show, Counter Clipping, draws people from all over the world to YouTube on Monday evenings.


Board of Governors

Rodger B. MacGowan, Non-Voting Chairman and Advisor

Rodger B. MacGowan has worked on over 500 wargames & magazines and designed/founded various game magazines in his career and has won numerous game industry and hobby awards. Currently, he is the head of RBM Studios and a Board member at GMT Games.

Robert Carroll, Board Member and Deputy Director

Robert Carroll’s life-long journey into wargaming began with Avalon Hill’s PanzerBiltz and moved rapidly to Third Reich, Squad Leader, Panzer Leader and The Longest Day. His “longest” journey continues to this day with avid collecting; reading rules; setting-up briefly looking at and then putting away; talking about; thinking about and even playing a wargame or two, or three, or four . . . .Although there have been periods of inactivity (education, work and family competing for quality time), including a brief stint in government intelligence, he has always kept gaming and more specifically, wargaming near and dear to his heart.Advancing into his 4th full decade of wargaming, Robert a/k/a KilroyWasHere has found new outlets to enjoy and explore, with playtesting several games/systems, starting a YouTube channel dedicated to wargaming and winning a Charlie (or two) along the way.To paraphrase Chico Escuela: “[Wargaming] has been berry, berry good to me!”

Riccardo Rigillo, Board Member

Riccardo Rigillo hails from Italy and has been gaming since he was 10, starting with the Andrew McNeill Battlegame books, then progressing to Panzer Leader at 13. A brief hiatus came in the early 90s and after his own Odyssey of about 10 years came back and is active in the Italian wargaming scene.

John Burtt, Board Member

John Burtt has been writing historical studies and wargame reviews for over 40 years.His articles have appeared in Grenadier, The General, Against the Odds, War Diary, Yaah! and all three Decision Games publications, including their first Quarterly study on Operation Barbarossa.

He was the founding editor of CounterAttack magazine before becoming the editor of Paper Wars, a post he held for 18 years.He holds a BA and ME in Nuclear Engineering, which he used in his day job as a propulsion plant modeler for the U.S. Navy until his retirement in 2016.He also holds a masters in Military History.He served with the III Marine Amphibious Force in Vietnam from 1969 – 1971, where his interest in military history was sparked.

Jean-Louis Dirion, Board Member

Jean-Louis Dirion‘s first games were the International Team’s puzzle board wargames. Not surrounded by many local wargamers, Jean-Louis is an active vassal player and attends 1-2 French wargame conventions annually.

Lawrence Hung, Board Member

Lawrence Hung was born in Hong Kong under the British colonial rule and in this special historical context, he was hooked and fascinated by simulation value and capability of wargames since he was 12, when he played the first locally produced wargame, “The Greatest Conflict of Tanks”, in which tactics cards were used to resolve combat on an odd-based Combat Results Table, followed by “The Russian Campaign”, “Midway”, “Star Fleet Battles”, etc. with Chinese translation rules.Although not a typical completist, Lawrence amassed a collection of almost 1,500 wargames over 38 years by now, constantly looking for the next “Holy Grail”.It’s not so much the wandering around and collecting about, but that euphoric eureka moment Lawrence always strives for. The joys of discovery to Lawrence do not necessarily involve geography or history, real or virtual. They may derive from the mental road less traveled, the uncovering of esoteric or hidden knowledge and its creative application to system or theory. He enjoys sharing that zen moment and knowledge with others, contributing and socializing online discussion in Consimworld and Boardgame Geek.Lawrence is a Certified Public Accountant in both Washington State, U.S. and Hong Kong.

Trevor Just, Board Member

Trevor has professionally worked in health care for over a decade, along with 20 years in Martial Arts. Trevor was a collegiate athlete and now applies his sports background to Baseball, from Managing multiple Little League teams, to operating a Travel Baseball organization. Trevor is currently an active member of the Board of Directors for his local Little League Organization.

Trevor’s gaming started as a young child with HeroQuest 1991 & Battle Masters 1992. Soon after he and his brother got heavily involved in Magic the Gathering 1993, Trevor reached as high as the #2 rank for under 18’s. In the 2010’s Trevor rediscovered his passion for gaming and currently enjoys many styles of games including Magic the Gathering, Light/Heavy Wargames, Euros, Miniatures. For nearly a decade Trevor spearheaded Designer and Publisher outreach and social media for the Jack Vasel Memorial Fund Auction held annually on BGG.

Personally. Trevor and his amazing wife reside in San Jose, CA. They have 4 kids in their home. Leonidas, Augustus & Madeleine by birth and Thanh, niece, who’s been with them since 2019.

Riccardo Masini, Board Member

Riccardo Masini is a wargamer since he was 8, thanks to his father Sergio, one of the pioneers of historical simulation games in Italy. He has so far published many books and articles about wargaming in his country, is a regular contributor to the ioGioco gaming magazine and to other Italian and international specialized websites. He also runs the WLOG YouTube channel and the Checkpoint Charlie podcast. Member of the Italian Military History Society, he has published several books and articles about counterfactual history and the use of wargaming as a form of historical research.

Joanne M. Roberts, Board Member

Joanne M. Roberts is the daughter of Charles S. Roberts, founder of Avalon Hill Game Company. She was raised on Gun Road, in Catonsville MD., along with her 9 brothers and sisters. She recalls her father and oldest brother, playing the original Avalon Hill games, for several days at a time. Joanne has an avid interest in pursuing more knowledge of the hobby her dad started, over 70 years ago. The collection of her father’s games are a big source of pride and inspiration for her, and is looking forward to keeping the legacy of her father alive and well. She currently is working as an RN, with high-risk mothers and their families.

Allan Rothberg, Board Member

Allan Rothberg is a member of the Long Island Wargamers and was a previous Executive Director for the Charles S. Roberts Awards.


Charles S. Roberts

The Charles S. Roberts Awards are presented annually for excellence in conflict simulation games. Charles S. Roberts, in whose name this award is given, invented the modern wargame industry almost single-handedly. As a designer and the original owner-operator of The Avalon Hill Game Company. He founded Avalon Hill in 1958 and published Tactics II, Gettysburg, and Dispatcher. They were the first commercial board wargames and Charles Roberts was responsible for their creation, including many of the developments, such as the Combat Results Table (CRT), that were later to become commonplace. Avalon Hill became a pioneer in a new type of gaming: strategy games based on historical events and so Charles Roberts spawned the whole commercial wargaming hobby/industry we know today.

Prior to Roberts’ founding of Avalon Hill, strategy games had been more abstract in nature and popular games, although themed, relied more on luck and less on strategy. By deviating from these traditions, Roberts created a new genre of games that appealed to a new type of gamer.

In 1962, when the debts of Roberts’ fledgling company mounted, he sold it to his major creditor, Monarch Services, a printing company. Monarch later went public (as Monarch-Avalon), but throughout its history, controlling ownership was held by the Dott family — Eric and, later, his son Jackson. Credit is also due to the two men who did the most to ensure that Avalon Hill published such fine games for so many years: Tom Shaw and, later, Don Greenwood.

Avalon Hill was happy if a game sold 10,000 copies in its life. Well, in the summer of 1998, Avalon Hill was disbanded when Monarch Avalon decided to get out of the game business. Hasbro Games and Hasbro Interactive purchased the rights to the AH game titles, back inventory, and name. Hasbro, by the way, typically sells 200,000 plus copies annually of each and every boardgame it publishes.

For the record, Roberts himself designed the following groundbreaking games (given in order of publication):

  • Tactics, 1952 (republished 1983)
  • Tactics II, 1958 (republished 1961, 1972)
  • Gettysburg, 1958 (republished 1961, 1964)
  • U-Boat, 1959 (republished 1961)
  • Verdict, 1959 (republished 1960)
  • Chancellorsville, 1961
  • Civil War, 1961
  • D-Day, 1961
  • Dispatcher, 1961
  • Nieuchess, 1961
  • Bismarck, 1962
  • Afrika Korps, 1964 (republished 1965, 1977)