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Subject: Red Devils - Best of the Paratroop Bunch rss

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Paul Lawson
United States
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Red Devils is one of three games of the Paratroop collection. The three games each have unique scales and rules, so rating them together is misleading except for the "average" experience to be expected by the buyer.

Eban Emael is at the squad level, with rules scripting the Belgians' behavior so that the players understand easily why the mighty fort fell easily. Once you have played it once or twice, you are more enlightened but will likely never play it again. Yes there is a variant for more active and just more Belgian troops, but....

Crete is almost a beer-and-pretzels level battalion/regiment level simulation. A nice introduction to the island campaign for newbies or for gamers who don't have time to dedicate to the detailed rules of such games as AH's Air Assault on Crete.

Red Devils is my favorite of the three by far. It has enough detail in rules, variety of unit types/behaviors, and is at a small enough organization level to feel accurate and engaging, with a size that allows you to spend an evening in Arnhem and come away with a better understanding. It doesn't rely on scripting, and surprisingly to me the little 11"x17" map provides enough room for both sides to try different approaches. With all of this, replay value is decent...great for a magazine game.

The Arnhem area (including the Polish across the Neder Rijn at Driel) fighting was so isolated from the rest of Market-Garden that it is accurate and satisfying to play a game only about this region. However, the interconnectedness of Arnhem's various fights - holding the drop zones, Frost isolated at the north end of the bridge, what do the Poles do - that I find gaming just one of these without the opportunity to change units and their plans between each of these unsatisfying except in a learn to repeat history appeal to replay for me.

As a miniatures gamer, I also highly value both the OOB and map in my current planning for a 1 stand=1 company game of the drop. I was inspired by the Canadian Wargamers Group booklet "Drop Zone", but although I greatly enjoy the (now old) CWG booklets and have bought probably every one they published, their accuracy can sometimes be, ummm, squishy.

So whether for a few hours in honor to the Brits and Poles who sacrificed in vain in September 1944 (especially the Poles, who were promised that their unit would be saved for liberating Poland), or for good quality company/battalion miniatures references, I recommend buying a copy of Paratroop if only for this little gem.
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