Paratrooper: Great Airborne Assaults: Korea
Review by Len Krol
Strategy & Tactics #321
Design: Joseph Miranda
Developer: Doug Johnson
Map: Joe Youst
Counters: Dariusz Buraczewski
Now for something completely different, a review of a new game! This is also an example of what magazine games do best. They introduce you to battles you never heard about, but should have. As a side benefit, it will be a fun game.
Some people are attracted to certain factors. They could be such things as tanks or battleships. For me it is paratroopers! I think the movie The Longest Day started it.
This game covers two airborne assaults during the Korean War. These battles tend to be forgotten because they were swift and successful. In this game, swift and successful is not that easy.
The Sequence of Play is:
- Command Point Phase
- Reinforcement phase
- Airborne Landing Phase
- Engineering Phase
- Movement Phase
- Airstrikes and Naval gunfire Phase
- Ground Attack Phase
- Regroup Phase
Non-phasing player goes through Phases A-H.
The units are company and platoon sized and their counters are about 5/8” square. In the scenario I played, you can stack those two units high. The units have a combat strength, range, and movement listed. When I turned the countersheet sideways, some of the counters fell out! Punching out counters is easy in this game.
Each side gets command points. The NK player gets three command points. The UN player gets five to seven command points during the day and three to five at night. You can use these command points to regroup units, which is what you will be mostly using these points for. You can use the remainder, if any to coordinate attacks, force march, destroy or build bridges and other activities. Both sides will complain about not having enough CPs.
There are also Fog of War (FOW) counters. They are placed randomly on a unit, one per hex. They cannot be moved until they are revealed. They are revealed if you move adjacent to it, or use a combat point. Most of the time, the FOW counter will be a deception. Other times it may be an extra combat unit. It could also be a supply dump or POWs that need to be rescued. These are worth victory points
For combat, you count up the attacker’s combat strength and subtract the defender’s combat strength. If you use a command point you can add the points combat strength of other units with a range of two or more. The NK player can make only one ranged attack per turn while the UN player can make three. Then you add or subtract any modifiers and roll a D6 on the CRT. Note that air and naval strikes are in a separate phase from ground combat. After the first turn, you usually need a command point for this.
The Reinforcement Phase is not the usual dull phase. You roll a D6 for reinforcements. The NK player gets no reinforcements half the time. The UN player gets reinforcements but not where he wants them.
There are two maps for this game. They are placed on a standard map sheet. The Sukchon-Suchon map is 20” x 11” and the Operation Tomahawk is 13” X 19.” All the important combat charts are on the map and both players have their own. The terrain chart can only be read by one player.
I set up the battle for Sukchon-Suchon for solo play. The NK side sets up first. I have an advantage over the historical leader because I knew I would be attacked from the sky. Instead of placing most of my units on the southern and eastern border, I would have a defense in depth. I made sure that I had a strong force in Yongju, because if the UN player captures this town they receive two extra CPs. This proved to be almost decisive.
As the UN player I started by singing a chorus of Blood on the Risers. I am obviously biased to one side. Then I noticed the fact that the valley I am going to jump in is very narrow. I am not jumping into the flatlands of Holland! I have seven turns to win the battle.
On the first turn I drop twelve units. Four would be disrupted. With my remaining CP I make a coordinated attack on Sukchon and capture the city. On turn two I received ROK reinforcements on the east side of the map. I would have preferred other units on the southern edge. The ROKs did cross a river and eliminate one enemy unit. Then an airborne reinforcement was eliminated. My airborne units moved south to try to capture Yongju. They eliminate a few enemy units but some of my units were disrupted.
On turn three, the 27th Brigade arrives from the south edge. They attack towards Yongju and would capture it on turn four. With the extra CPs, I was able to move faster and advance towards Sunchon. I would capture the town on the last turn.
Then I counted up the points I had. It was +24 points, which is a tactical victory. This is the historic result. If I had two more points, it would have been an operational victory.
This game was quick to set up, quick to learn and quick to play. From beginning to end, this battle was close. What I learned most is that even the easiest victories are hard.
I am going to write the review now instead of playing the next battle. I know a good game when I see it.
Buy your own copy with this paid link: https://amzn.to/38xQaMU