DETROIT (FOX 2) - They were probably the first Black Panthers - the 761st Tank Battalion was the first all-Black US tank unit of World War II. And now a Detroit-based gaming company is honoring those heroes with their own tabletop miniature game.
"We are the only black miniatures manufacturer in the US, we are it," said Lee Gaddies.
Detroit-based Gaddis Gaming saw a lack of representation in tabletop games and a market.
"There's a real Black nerd community we call ourselves the 'Blurds' that needs a product to fulfill their needs," he said. "I should be able to play a character in my game that looks like me. I don't think that's too much to ask for."
The game they are selling now focuses on Black servicemen who fought valiantly in World War II stories you may not have heard about.
"We wanted to make sure this year, which is the 75th anniversary of World War II, that we were able to showcase some of the soldiers that fought like my grandfather in World War II, some of the soldiers that seem to have been forgotten."
"Empires Fall" is a tabletop game showcasing the 761st Tank Battalion (aka "The Black Panthers") the first all-Black U.S. tank unit in World War II.
"We had to fight the Nazis with a segregated Army," Gaddies said. "We're focused on people who have been written out of history, the women and people of color."
Lee Gaddies, Gaddis Gaming
For the first game's rollout, owner Lee Gaddies was able to go to gaming conventions to sell and promote the game. COVID-19 changed that.
"Because of COVID-19 we've had to switch to an online model, so we had to pivot to marketing and advertising online and using Kickstarter as a funding source," he said. "Normally we would use convention sales to drive our economic engine to keep new products coming out."
The game will be released in April of 2021. The Kickstarter campaign runs until December 10th.