From: Stillwater, OK, United States
I have always been a follower of reading the manual for a game, but for those new to the game type, here is a quickstart tutorial on how to change airgroup settings, create task forces, and move ground units. Not in depth, but it will get you playing.
War Plan Orange Tutorial.
This tutorial will serve first as an introduction guide to the basics of the game, how to form task forces, set aircraft missions, and the various basics of getting started. More advanced concepts should be studied by reading the manual. This tutorial will have two basic parts:
1. Basics. This will delve into the various basics of the game and serve as a quick start guide. However, advanced features of the game are discussed in the manual. While the quick start guide will help new players learn the basics of the system to play the smaller scenarios, advanced features should be studied in the manual before attempting the larger campaigns.
2. New Features to WPO. This will cover new changes unique to War Plan Orange, aswell as special features built into the scenarios that will enhance play as well as better cover and simulate 1920’s naval and air tactics. This will follow in a few days
For this quickstart guide, the scenario used is Number 4: Clash of Titans. All default options should be selected (per taste) with the following selections: AI difficulty should be set to Hard, Automated first turn should be turned off, and player defined upgrades turned on.
You’ll notice that this is a small map scenario, covering as far East as Japan and as far West as the Philippines. You will notice several task forces are already created for you. Your first lesson will be in creating a task force of your own. If you mouse over the anchor icon over Manila and Bataan bases (the two southwestern most bases), you will notice they have a large amount of shipping. For this exercise, we will create a battleship fleet in Bataan. First, click on the green flag with a white star to bring up the base menu screen.
In this screen you will notice a variety of information, from ships docked, to number of troops present, to the amount of supplies at the base. For this lesson, click the “Form New Task Force” button in the lower right hand corner of the screen. There are a variety of missions to choose from. For this exercsize, click the Bombardment mission, and then click the “Done -proceed to ship selection” button. You are now presented with a list of ships available to be put in the new task force. For this lesson, choose the battleships (designated by BB ship type) Florida, Utah, Delaware, and North Dakota. When you are finished, click the done button, and you are now presented with the task force screen. This new Task Force, number 1010, consists of four ships, and will bombard any enemy base hex it is moved in to. For more detailed information on the task force screen, refer to the manual).
To move a task force around the map, we must first set a destination hex, or DH. To do this, on the task force screen, click the “Set TF destination” button. You are then presented with the map, and can click on any hex. Be warned however, you cannot click on land hexes. We will have this TF bombard the enemy base at Sakashima, which is at hex 51, 46. Click on this hex, and the destination is set. After clicking on the hex, you are returned to the TF screen. An option that must be observed is the Retirement Allowed and Patrol/Do Not Retire option. This is located directly under the portrait illustration of the TF mission. TFs set to Retirement Allowed will return to their homebase after they reach their destination. This is useful for when you want to bombard a base and withdraw, or for carrier raids. Changing this to Patrol/Do Not Retire will order the TF to remain on station upon reaching the hex. This is useful for blockades, for landings, or for ordering air combat task forces to remain on station to provide air cover.
Keep in mind when moving task forces about the map, only bombardment TFs will actually shell an enemy base. However, all TFs entering a base hex can be subjected to coast gun fire.
For more information on TF missions, please see the manual.
The next subject we will cover are submarines.
Submarines are short ranged in WPO, and choosing viable patrol sectors are a must to use them effectively. For instance, to patrol off Japan bases in China or the Philippines would be needed.
Click on the flag over the base of Manila (hex 43,52) and click Form New Task Force, just as you had done in the previous exercise. You will notice that there are three possible submarine TF types, sub patrol, sub minelaying, and sub transport. Most 1920’s submarines did not carry mines or couldn’t carry a large amount of supplies. The primary TF you will be using throughout the game is the sub Patrol. So click that mission, and then “Done- Proceed to ship selection.” You are now presented with a list of submarines. While it is possible to put more than one submarine in a task force, this should only really be done (if at all) with minelaying and transport missions. For this lesson, click the submarine V-3, and then click done. You will notice that no submarine in the game (be it British, American, Dutch, Japanese, or ex German is named, but carries a number. You will also notice in this list that the V boats (both classes) have a significantly longer range, as noted by the number under their endurance listing).
You are now brought to the sub TF screen, which looks exactly like a normal TF screen. Let us assign this task force a destination of 48,46, or just between the island of Formosa and the base at Batan Island. As you are returned to the TF screen, under the illustration of the mission you will notice the words “Human Control”. If a submarine is under human control it can only be ordered by the player. What this means if it is ordered to a hex, it will stay in that hex until it is damaged or runs out of fuel. If you click on the yellow text (yellow indicates that it can be clicked on, usually to change an option) the text changes to computer control. When under computer control, the submarine commander will use the hex as a starting point, but will move around on his own initiative in order to sink shipping. For new players, placing submarines on computer control can cut down on the level of micromanaging.
If we had created a sub minelaying TF, the submarine would load mines in lieu of torpedoes. Now, in WPO, only Purpose built minelaying submarines, and all US Submarines 21” Torpedo tubes (after their 1925 refits) can carry mines.
The next lesson, will set in motion an amphibious landing. If you click on the icon of ships in the same hex of the base of Manila, you will be presented with a screen listing all task forces in the hex. Choose the one designated as TF 1004, with a transport mission. This task force is loaded with two divisions and some support units. Order this TF to the Japanese base of Sakishima (hex 51,46). Be sure the task force is set to human control and unload cargo. As this task force is slower, the bombardment task force will shell the base, and pave the way for the ground forces.
Now we will prepare our air combat task force for combat. In the hex with Bataan base, you will notice two different ship icons. Click on the one that is shaped like an aircraft carrier. You will notice that it is composed of three aircraft carriers and supporting vessels. Click on the CV Langley and you will bring up the ship screen. In addition to the ships weapons, at the very bottom you will see the air groups assigned to the ship. First, click on VF-1. VF stands for Carrier Fighter, and all US Navy Fighter units are preceded by this designator. This screen brings up information on the squadron. You will notice that it is flying the Curtiss F6C-1 Hawk, and is composed of 22 aircraft. As their may be aircraft carriers around, let us set its mission to escort, and 40% CAP. Click the arrow to the right of the number below the words CAP level until the 30 turns into a 40. Now, 40% of the unit will provide aircover for the fleet, while the rest of the planes will escort any bombers making a strike. Now click the back button, which returns you to the information window of the Langley. From here, click the VT-1 text.
This squadron is flying the SC-1 Torpedo Bomber. Set its mission to naval attack, and its secondary mission to rest. The default is airfield attack, but as the Japanese AI will attempt an invasion, we want to make sure our planes are earmarked for naval attacks. Now, where on the fighter unit there was a CAP level indicator, there is a Naval Search level, as there are land based units around, leave this at the default 10. This means that 90% of the bombers will attack a ship. Now, check the squadron’s altitude. (You will find this below the naval attack buttons). As these are torpedo bombers, at normal range (if set to 5,000 feet) they will drop torpedoes on enemy ships. At extended range, or if set to a higher altitude, the bombers will act as level bombers and drop large bombs. Note, that level bombing is not an effective means of sinking ships, especially with light bombs.
After you have set these settings, return to the TF screen and similarly set settings for the other two carriers in the force (Yorktown and Enterprise).
Once you have done that, return to the TF screen. Set its destination for hex 45,48, just north of the base at Vigan.
The final lesson for this turn is moving a land combat unit. Click on any ground unit in Manila. As an example, let us use the 96th US Division. In the upper right hand corner, click on the set destination hex, and then click on Clark Field. This is the base one hex North East of Manila. The unit will now march to that location.
As you are familiar now with assigning TF orders, for this tutorial go through each TF in the Manila hex (that you do not want) and order it to move to Manila (its current hex). The reason for this as while this scenario provides quick combat, it was not designed as a tutorial.
Now advance the turn.
Nothing overly noticeable has happened, as the first turn only consists of a day phase. As our orders still stand, advance the turn again.
In the night phase of this turn, a Japanese Task Force bombards Batan Island. In addition, as Japanese ships begin landing troops in the Philippines, you are probably witnessing some air combat. In fact, you might even see a surface combat if Japanese ships catch your task force.
If your bombers did launch from Clark Field, chances are you didn’t score a single bomb hit. You can either advance the turn to see more combat, or you can adjust your carrier or land based airgroups to different altitudes. In addition, you can order more land units to the enemy landing sites. This covers the basics of War Plan Orange. While the game is far deeper than this, knowing these basic elements will get you started playing. I strongly suggest that you read the manual, or at least the sections covering naval, air, and land units. Now soldier, repel that landing!
Designer of War Plan Orange
Producer of Carrier Force
Allied Naval OOBer of Admiral's Edition
Avatar is of me with my 1918/1967 FTR Ishapore Sht LE Mk III*.