All information on this site is through my own findings and is believed to be correct.  Any corrections, errors or admissions that need to be made, or artists that would like to be involved in BOX=ART, please feel free to contact me.

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About BOX=ART

BOX=ART is a site dedicated to the history of video game box art/ cover art and the artists responsible for them.

Box arts are profiled from a variety of angles using high quality scans and with the intention of acknowledging the men and women who have played such a major role in shaping our gaming experiences.

Not only for video game enthusiasts, BOX=ART is for all who enjoy quality artwork.


With the success of the Atari VCS and the growing trend for home computers running game software, AH established its own video game subsidiary, in the late 70’s, Microcomputer Games Inc. to bring its popular board games to the screen.  


The aforementioned game’s box arts by artist Bob Haynes - who would start AH’s long running tradition of using its board game artists as box artists - would brand early games with a distinct use of quad tonal colour and a striped band separating the illustrated action.  






A big thank you to Charles Kibler for his input on this article. Charles’ time at Avalon (1981 - 1995) was spent working within many diverse roles including box artist, playtesting coordinator, in-game graphic artist and manual and map designer.  For more on Charles and his work check out his website HERE.

1984

>Beast War (NA) Apple II. (JT)

>Gulf Strike (NA) Apple II, Atari 8-bit, Commodore 64, DOS. (JT)

1985

>Mission on Thunderhead (EU/ NA). (JT)

>Tsushima (NA) Apple II, Commodore 64.

1986

>Spitfire 40 (NA) Atari ST, Commodore 64 (GP)

1994

>5th Fleet (EU/ NA) DOS. (KM)



1980

>Midway Campaign (NA) Apple II, Atari 8-bit, Commodore 64, TRS-80. (BH)

>B-1 Nuclear Bomber (NA) Apple II, Atari 8-bit, Commodore 64, TRS-80. (BH)

>Lords of Karma (NA) Apple II, Atari 8-bit, Commodore 64, TRS-80.

1981

>Galaxy (NA) Apple II, Atari 8-bit, Commodore 64, TRS-80. (CK)

>Tanktics (NA) Apple II, Atari 8-bit, Commodore 64, TRS-80. (CK)

1982

>Legionnaire (NA) Apple II, Atari 8-bit, Commodore 64. (SMBC)

>Controller (NA) Apple II, Atari 8-bit. (SMBC)

>Telengard (NA) Apple II, Atari 8-bit, Commodore 64, TRS-80. (GT)

Notable Avalon Hill box artists

>Bob Haynes (BH)

>Charles Kibler (CK)

>George Pharrish (GP)

>Greg Theakston (GT)

>Jim Talbot (JT)


Related BOX=ART pages.



Sources and further reading

>http://www.stanford.edu/group/htgg/cgi-bin/drupal/?q=node/1109

>http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Avalon_Hill_games#0-9_.28VG.29

>http://home.earthlink.net/~pdr4455/fah.html

>http://grognard.com/info/ah.html



>Kurt Miller (KM)

>Marc William Ericksen (MWE)

>Stephanie M. B. Czech (SMBC)

>Tyson c. Milbert (TCM)


By 1983 the branded look of Hayne’s and Kibler’s early box arts had slowly petered out and in its place a step forward in artistry was presented.  Artist Jim Talbot brought a new breadth of style and versatility to AH’s box arts from traditional war paintings (Panzer Jag’d, 1983 and Tsushima, 1985), to fantasy and sci-fi illustrations (Death Trap, 1983 and Beast War, 1984), to even comic book art with Mission on Thunderhead (1985).  


He’d be commissioned at a time when AH had diversified, taking advantage of the popular role play game (RPG) market, and along with artist Stephanie M. B. Czech and her excellent Legionnaire (1982) Paris in Danger, (1983) and Controller (1982) cover arts, would be responsible for much of AH’s box art output between 1983 - 1985.


The later half of the 80’s saw the company again concentrate on traditional strategic wargaming with artist George Parrish, noted for his historical paintings and board game box art, being commissioned.  George would carry on the painted realism found in Talbot’s war themed cover arts and help set the stage for this style of art’s universal usage in the 90’s.







BOX=ART publisher

 >Avalon Hill Gaming Company

As one of the world’s earliest home computer publishers, The Avalon Hill Game Company (AH), famous for its board games, would help pioneer strategic ‘wargaming’ video games in the early 80’s with debut titles: Nukewar, North Atlantic Convoy Raider, B-1 Nuclear Bomber and Midway Campaign.

Bob’s credit is likely for the box art’s graphic design over illustrator as one example, Midway Campaign, has R. MacGowan, famed board game artist, signed under the pictured cruiser. But it would be Haynes’ creativity that distinguished AH’s new game line in an abstract and memorable way.


The year 1981 saw AH produce more action-orientated titles such as Shootout at the OK galaxy and Voyager 1: Sabotage of the Robot Ship. The box arts had a deliberate arcade look to them and would be an example of how charmingly crude and simplistic cover arts from this period could be (see Space Station Zulu 1982, Guns of Fort Defiance, 1981 and Bomber Attack, 1982).  


It would also be the year historical illustrator and board game layout specialist Charles Kibler would join AH and support Bob in box art duties with titles such as Tanktics (1981), Galaxy (1981) and Andromeda Conquest (1982).

Maxwell Manor by Jim Talbot

Published by The Avalon Hill Gaming Company in 1984.

Designed for the North American market. Atari ST version pictured. Also available on Commodore 64.

Spitfire 40 by George Parrish

Published by The Avalon Hill Gaming Company in 1986.

Designed for the North American market. Atari ST version pictured. Also available on Commodore 64.

B-1 Nuclear Bomber by Bob Haynes

Published by The Avalon Gaming Company in 1980.

Designed for the North American market. Available on Apple II, Atari 8-bit, Commodore 64, TRS-80.

Tanktics by Charles Kibler

Published by The Avalon Hill Gaming Company in 1981.

Designed for the North American market. Apple II version pictured. Also available on Atari 8-bit, Commodore 64, TRS-80.

Updated - 02/06/15, by Adam Gidney

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Notable box arts published by Avalon Hill Gaming Company.

Artists Kurt Miller (Advanced Civilisation, 5th Fleet, Flight Commander 2) Tyson C. Millbert (Achtung Spitfire, History of the World, Over the Reich) and prolific box artist Marc William Ericksen (Operation Crusader, World at War: Volume 2 Stalingrad) would all produce painted works before Hasbro’s takeover in 1998. The takeover would mark the end of AH’s chapter as a computer game publisher.


The box dimensions used in the 80’s is of interest and deserves mention.  Far larger than most on the market at that time they not only accommodated the large 5 ¼” disks (although most formats were cassette tape), but also mimicked AH’s board game boxes as the company undoubtedly sought to appeal to their traditional fan base. Their size made the artworks imposing and also allowed for room on the reverse for the extensively written blurb - a common early video game trait but usually found in the manual.

Along with publisher SSI, The Avalon Hill Game Company helped pioneer war themed box arts and its artists would influence the coming generations and video games’ love for illustrated battle.

Lords of Karma

Published by The Avalon Hill Gaming Company in 1980.

Designed for the North American market. Commodore 64 version pictured. Also available on Apple II, Atari 8-bit, TRS-80.

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