Day of Infamy – Boardgame Review
Day of Infamy: The Attack on Pearl Harbor. Boardgame Review. Publisher: High Flying Dice Games. Designer: Paul Rohrbaugh. Price $5.95 (as is) or $9.95 (with mounted counters)
Passed Inspection: Nice map, components and well-written rules all produced on a limited budget. High solitaire playability. Great fun and high replay value. Comes with a free war game on a postcard!
Failed Basic: Some rules need clarification. The "record track" could use a turn indicator chart. In a two-player game, the American player may find himself hampered by a lack of options.
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Discovering new games from new, small companies such as High Flying Dice Games (HFDG) are one of the greatest joys of my career as a game reviewer. Day of Infamy: The Attack on Pearl Harbor takes me back to the golden old days of wargames that came in plastic ziplock bags, plastic bubble packs or small cardboard boxes and cost $2.99. Games of yesteryear such as Ogre, Hell Tank, Invasion of the Air Eaters and Barbarian Prince are some of my favorites of that time and I still play them on occasion. HFDG’s new release Day of Infamy is another game that I will add to my favorites list.
Day of Infamy is a game in a plastic bag. Its price is based upon whether the purchaser buys the game with mounted and cut counters or "do it yourself" counters, which come on a sheet and need to be mounted and cut. Upon opening the bag, the purchaser will discover a full-color cover, a stapled instruction booklet, a full color 11 x 17 map of Pearl Harbor, the full-color counters, and a Game Record Track with a chart for random events. In order to play Day of Infamy, the player will need a six-sided die and a standard deck of playing cards.
The game can be played by two players or as a solitaire game with the player controlling the Japanese. The turn sequence is controlled by the playing card deck; each card drawn allows the American player to activate anti-aircraft guns, move ships out of Battleship Row, launch P40s and P36 fighters and raise the alert level at the air bases and harbor. The Japanese player can launch fighters as well as torpedo or dive bombers, attack with the air units, fly back to re-arm at his carriers or even attack with Kairyu mini subs. Optional rules cover the early return of the USS Enterprise with its compliment of F4F Wildcat fighters!
Each side has specific goals that must be achieved for victory points. At the end of the six-turn game, the victory points are totaled up and the results compared to a chart. Results run from ending the war in 1942 with a collapse of the Imperial Japanese government to a total Japanese victory with the US abandoning Hawaii but retaliating in 1945 by dropping A-bombs on Tokyo. It is interesting to note that there is no victory condition that allows Japan to win the war.
While the game can be played with two players, it doesn’t seem like the U.S. player will have enough to do. The game really shines as a solitaire simulation of the Japanese attack, and it has so many random events that no two games will play exactly alike.
A full game can be played in two hours, making this the perfect afternoon diversion. Its lack of complex rules means it’s a perfect introductory wargame that can be easily played by younger gamers.
Aside from the limited options on the American side, the game has a few weaknesses. The Record Track could use a turn-counter marker, and a few of the rules need clarifying. I found the "attack group wave" rules to be a little confusing. Nonetheless, Day of Infamy: The Attack on Pearl Harbor is a fun and fascinating game with tons of replay value (especially for the solitaire gamer).
I am very anxious to see the other games put out by this innovative new company. HFDG was started in January of 2011. Its principal and head designer, Paul Rohrbaugh, says the company’s goal is to make learning fun, to provide high quality games at low prices in order to help grow the hobby, and to channel his career as a history teacher and his love of history into the art of gaming. HFDG’s current catalogue contains over a half-dozen titles ranging in subject from the battles of ancient Rome to World War I air combat to The Battle of Hue in 1968. Their prices range from $5.99 to $45.00.
Armchair General Rating: 90 %
Solitaire Rating (1 low, 5 high): 5
About the Author
A college film instructor and small business owner, Richard Martin has also worked in the legal and real estate professions, is involved in video production, film criticism, sports shooting and is an avid World War I and II gamer who can remember war games that came in plastic bags and cost $2.99 (he’s really that old)!