Go for Broke: A Preview
By Mike Bennighof, Ph.D.
When I designed the game that became Panzer Grenadier, I had this delusional vision that it would eventually number dozens of boxed games with dozens off additional add-on supplements. This has more or less come true, but doesn’t make the original vision any less delusional — the realistic probability of some teenager pulling this off with a game design of any sort is about the same as I had of winning the Heisman Trophy. Which I also intended to accomplish.
At some point I typed (the personal computer being unheard of in my family’s economic circles) a list of all the wonderful games and add-ons that this series would include. The add-ons were most definitely part of the hallucination, and at the very top of the list sits one called Go for Broke.
I’m not sure when I first learned about the heroism of the Japanese-Americans of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team; I remember seeing the 1951 movie with Van Johnson on AFN when I was in elementary school. So I always intended Panzer Grenadier to include the 442nd (and the 100th Infantry Battalion) in their own color scheme, with many scenarios for them. Now it’s finally about to release as the 12th book supplement in the Panzer Grenadier series and it’s a much better product than it would have been as one of the first. Mostly that’s because we’ve gotten a little better with these things over time
So what do you get?
Mike Perryman has designed 30 scenarios of 442nd action: Half of them take place in the 1944 Italian campaign, and half in the French campaign (this includes a couple from the regiment’s brief re-deployment to Italy in 1945). They’re infantry-oriented of course, but they’re pretty tense: the 442nd’s fearsome fighting reputation led to its employment at the focus of the action. Sizes range from small (one map, a battalion or so per side) to quite large (six maps and the full regiment in action).
Over the years, Mike has designed hundreds of Panzer Grenadier scenarios (I think it’s in the hundreds — it’s a lot) and continues to improve his craft each time out. This is a very nice set. Development is by John Stafford, in his first Panzer Grenadier project for Avalanche Press. He’s designed a number of games for us that are on the upcoming schedule, plus the Infantry Attacks module The Mouse That Roared.
There are of course the background articles you’d expect in an Avalanche Press supplement. There’s a history of the regiment in battle, the story of the Japanese internment camps, the U.S. Army’s attempts to raise Greek, Norwegian and Austrian “ethnic battalions,” and more.
And then there are the toys. Panzer Grenadier players love their colorful pieces, and Go for Broke does not disappoint. The entire regiment is present with its own special regimental symbol, plus the Nisei 522nd Artillery Battalion and 232nd Engineer Company that made up the rest of the Regimental Combat Team. There aren’t any tanks, but the 442nd gets all of its infantry and supporting units, and they’re going to need them in scenarios that feature Nisei units together with other Americans: The 442nd’s morale is substantially higher than that of other units, particularly so after they gained combat experience. There are 77 die-cut-and-mounted playing pieces, on the nice thick stock we used for Spice Islands and Black SS.
Altogether, it’s a very nice package. After showing the Waffen SS in two books, and looking at the Poles, Finns, Slovaks, Italians, Austrians, Lithuanians and a whole lot more, it’s about time we got around to the finest fighting regiment of World War II. America treated its heroes shabbily, and it’s nice to give them a tiny sliver of their due.
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