Minions of the Fickle Muse continues to be busy. I’ll need to write up last weekend’s as well as this weekend’s activities at some point soon.

Yesterday though, I managed some good old fashioned, sit-down-at-the-table wargaming.

I’ve been eyeing various Avalanche Press games, and U. S. Navy Plan Orange in particular, for a while. Plan Orange was the code given to military contingency planning for a war against Japan in the 1920s and ’30s. (We had a whole scheme of colors for various nations.) So this game is based off of the Navy’s planning, and shows what the Pacific War would have looked like if it happened 10 years earlier, which I find to be a fun idea.

Anyway, I got a hold of it for relatively cheap recently and tried out some of the system basics with Dave yesterday. The game is actually operational-level. You send fleets out with mission orders (which may just be ‘find the enemy’) and pre-plot their moves (either two turns worth, or the entire mission, depending). When enemy fleets happen across each other on the map, combat goes to a tactical resolution system that is more complex than, say, War at Sea, but is still pretty light and meant to be fast-moving (though the turn sequence is a little too complex to move as fast as it should).

Anyway, there’s also scenarios that just use the tactical system, and we tried a moderate one of those (about 10 ships per side). It looked a little bad for Dave’s Japanese at first, as I got all of my light cruisers in range (the heavest ships present) and half his force was still out of range yet. Then we had a couple rounds at close range and the US destroyer force disappeared (the same, alas, could not be said of the Japanese DDs). A later look at the victory points showed that while things were not rosy for the Japanese, they were ahead on VPs. His major problem was an inability to get the intiative (determined randomly every turn) kept him from getting away, and the USN’s last functioning CL eventually pounded the IJN into submission—but it was a very close-run thing at the end.

I will say, that had this engagement actually been part of a campaign I would have pulled out myself to save a CL that had had all it’s guns wrecked (and yes, I did lose it in the game).

The main purpose of all this was to see how I like the system. There’s other Plan games, and WWI-era games that all share the same rules, and a related WWII series, and I want to know how interested in them I am. By the reviews, the real meat of the system is the operational part (makes sense), but the tactical system seems good enough that it won’t kill the rest of the game. So, I’m certainly interested in picking up anything that other games don’t cover (The Russo-Japanese War is next on my list), and will probably get the more ‘traditional’ entries in the system as well.