This document explains how to participate in Aces High scenarios. If you want information on what a scenario is, click here. The following might seem like a lot to keep in mind, but once you've played in a scenario once, you will see that it is all pretty easy to do and is common sense. One thing to keep in mind is that scenarios are big productions, meant to be realistic air campaigns, involving a lot of planning and organization -- and there are typically 200 or more pilots participating. As a participant, you will enjoy scenarios most when you take some time to be prepared for the battle. That way, the experience is more immersive.
Another thing to keep in mind is that people very much want new players in scenarios and want to increase the player base. They are a friendly bunch who are very helpful and eager to integrate you into the fun.
In reading the following, if you have any suggetions or questions, please send e-mail to email@example.com.
First, you need to find out what the upcoming scenario is and when it will run. Click here to get information on the upcoming scenario.
If the scenario sounds like fun, there are two ways to participate. The best way is to sign up for it. That way, you will get a spot reserved for you, and you will have the best chance to fly the aircraft you'd most like. Go here to register for the upcoming scenario. Also, when you register, you will be worked into the scenario planning and preparation.
Another way is to show up on game day and see if there are any positions available. Usually, there are some spots available. Pilots who show up on game day who are not registered are called "walk ons." However, walk ons generally aren't well prepared for the scenario. It is more fun in a scenario when you are prepared for it.
Preparing for a scenario will enhance your enjoyment of it. Preparing for a scenario will mean that you know what the overall plan for your side is, what your role will be, what aircraft you will fly, and so on. Preparation for a scenario involves the following.
Read the scenario description. All particpants, even walk ons, should read the scenario description before they play in the scenario. The scenario description gives a map, scenario rules that you need to follow, a description of each side's objectives, a list of aircraft available for each side, and so on. The scenario description is available in the same place that you read about the upcoming scenario.Read your e-mail and be responsive. You will fly as part of a squadron that is lead by a Group Leader (GL). The GL reports to the Commanding Officer (CO). In the time leading up to the scenario, the CO and the GL will probably send out e-mail messages with notices and information. Please read those e-mails and, when asked to do so, respond to them.
Browse the message board. Every scenario has an area devoted to it in the Special Events Forums section of the Aces High message board. In that area, you will find discussions of the advantages and disadvantages of the aircraft you will be flying compared to what you will be fighting, mission planning information, and so on. Please occasionally browse the relevant topics both before and during the scenario.
Attend practices. Your CO or GL will probably call for practices. These are important for the preparation for your side in the scenario as well as for you. For example, sometimes the air combat in scenarios takes place at 25,000 ft. or higher. Planes handle much differently up there than at 10,000 ft. and lower. Or visibility conditions in the scenario might be a lot different than in the Main Arena. A practice session gives you experience under the conditions you'll see in the scenario.
Practice in your assigned aircraft. Outside of practice sessions organized by your side, please spend time in the Main Arena flying the aircraft you are assigned in the scenario. This gives you more practice in your particular aircraft -- your "ride" -- and you will do better if you are more skilled in that particular aircraft.
Understand the keypad location system. In scenarios, accurately describing your position or the position of enemy aircraft is important. Maps are divided up into sectors that are 25 miles on a side. We use the "keypad" location system to specify location within a sector. In this system, each sector is divided up into sections like the 1-9 keys on the keypad of your keyboard, as follows.
For example, the purple "x" is in sector 13,15, at a keypad location 6. In a scenario, you'd say that the purple "x" is in 13,15,6. Furthermore, each keypad location can be further subdivided into a keypad. If you wanted to be even more precise, you could say the the "x" is in 13,15,6,9.
Understand your mission orders. Scenarios run for a 2-3 hour battle each week for about 4 weeks. Each battle is called a "frame". Before each frame, the CO will send out mission orders, which describe what your side will do and specifically what your squadron's mission will be. Please read and understand them. If you have questions, send e-mail to your GL or to the CO for clarification.
Know how to adjust RPM and manifold. In scenarios, fuel consumption sometimes needs to be managed. You can adjust your RPM and manifold pressure to reduce fuel consumption at the cost of reduced airpseed. The "+" and "-" keys on the keypad raise and lower RPM. The throttle raises and lowers manifold pressure. The E6B available from your clipboard in flight shows useful information such as settings for maximum cruise and the time remaining for flight at the given RPM, manifold pressure, and altitude. Fuel consumption decreases with increasing altitude.
On game day, the day the frame runs, here's what to do. If you have problems, there are folks who will help you, such as your GL. Don't worry if you are new -- people very much want new players in scenarios and want to increase the player base.
Check your e-mail. The CO or your GL might have sent out last-minute changes to mission orders. Check your e-mail so that you get them if they were sent out.
Print your orders and the map. Print out a copy of your mission orders and print out the map. Scenario maps are sometimes bigger than fit easily on your in-flight map, so it saves time in battle to have a map handy without needing to use the in-flight version.
Show up at T-30. Scenarios list the day and time of each frame (each day of battle). The times given are takeoff times. Pilots need to show up at least 30 minutes before that so that they can do the various steps below. If you can show up at T-40, it is even better for your GL -- things get very busy going up to T-0 and having pilots show up early makes it much easier to get them sorted out and briefed. Go into the Special Events arena. If you were playing in another arena previously, completely exit your Aces High game, restart the game, and go straight to the Special Events arena. I make this suggestion because I have heard that in the past there have been some unusual quirks if you didn't do this (such as rarely not being able to see enemy aircraft). Since it is easy to do, I always employ this "fresh entry" technique.
Go to where your squadron is assembling. The mission orders might say which country you are to be in (Bishops, Knights, Rooks) and at which airfield your squadron is supposed to assemble. If they don't list that, look on the roster to figure out which country you should be in (assuming you know some of the people on your side) or ask on channel 2 which country is for the allies or axis. Switch to the correct country, then to ask on channel 2 where your squadron is assembling and go there. To switch countries, pull up your clipboard, click on "O'CLUB", then on "CHANGE COUNTRY", then pick the country you need to be in.
Get in uniform. Everyone in a scenario needs to be part of the correct squadron and to have that squadron name listed next to their names in the roster. Your GL will invite you into the correct squadron, and you just need to click on the "accept" button when a message comes up saying, "So-and-so invited you join a squad." These squadrons are not the same as the ones in the Main Arena -- the squadrons in the scenario are the ones listed in the scenario description and mission orders. So, don't worry that accepting the invite into the squadron will mess up your squad affiliations in the Main Arena.
Get tuned to correct channels. Your mission orders will usually tell you what channels to tune. If not, or just to double check, your GL will tell you what text channels to tune and what voice channel to tune. Once you tune those channels, do a radio check on them. For the voice channel, press the "T" key and say "Radio check." You should hear folks answering back something like "loud and clear" or "five by five." Also, type the same on your text channel or channels to make sure that you have those tuned correctly.
Write down vital information. Have a sheet of paper and pen handy for notes. Or you can write on the map or mission orders that you printed out. Write down the name of your GL, the name of the CO, the radio channels you should be tuned to, and anything else you'd like to have handy access to. I usually also write down the aircraft I am to take, takeoff field, how much fuel I am supposed to load, and if I'm to load any bombs, drop tanks, or other items, what those are; the takeoff direction and first stages of the mission (like "takeoff SW, climb to 20k, level, head south"); and so on.
Ask any questions you have. Your GL and other pilots participating are very happy to answer questions you have. Don't hesitate to ask. These guys are your pals who want to incorporate you into their squadron. Don't worry if you are new -- people very much want new players in scenarios and want to increase the player base.
Take a leak. Once you take off, you might not have much opportunity to go to the bathroom; and scenarios can last for hours. You might want to take the chance before takeoff.
Go to airfield when GL says. Your takeoff field might not be the field where you have assembled. Go to the takeoff field when your GL gives the word to do so, but not before. Select the correct aircraft, fuel load, and other loadout. If you have questions, ask the GL. If it is an aircraft you are unfamiliar with (which shouldn't be the case if you practiced in it but might if you are a walk on), make sure you set your gun convergence to what you want. Please do not go out onto the runway until your GL say so. Please do not take off until your GL says so. Sometimes in scenarios, some flights will go out onto the runway and hold for a bit. Some flights might take off before others. Your GL will tell all in the squadron when to go to the takeoff field, when to go out onto the runway, and when to take off.
Take off. Take off upon your GL's order and follow the mission and the GL's orders.
Start film recording. If you want to record your flight, press "Alt R" to start the film recorder.
If you get lost. If you get lost, say so on the squadron channel (text or voice) and ask where the rest of the squadron is. They will give you location in the keypad notation. Try to join up with them. If they are in combat and can't answer, join up with any other friendly you see. Remember that people in different squadrons won't see text you type on your squadron channel and will not hear you talk on your squadron voice channel. However, you can use the range mic (press "F12" key to talk) to talk to anyone nearby, and you can use the country channel (channel 2) to talk to someone if, for example, you are trying to join up with them or coordinate with them.
Channel 2. Please use channel 2 (the country channel) sparingly -- keep it as clear as possible for CO and squadron-to-squadron communication. However, *do* use it for reporting enemy forces.
Reporting enemy positions. If you have enemy aircraft to report that you think the CO should know about, report it on channel 2. Generally, any formation of enemy aircraft over about 4 planes will be of interest to the CO if he doesn't know about them already. Any information about enemy bombers is of interest. In the earlier stages of the battle, even sighting single enemy aircraft is important, as they can be scouts. When reporting enemy positions, report location, including keypad number, type of aircraft, number, altitude, and heading -- or as much of that as you can. There are times when they are in the process of jumping you, and you can't type that much, but do what you can. An example of an enemy sighting is "5 109's in 13,5,2. 25k alt, heading S".
That's finally it. It probably seems like a lot to keep in mind, but it is pretty straightforward once you have played in your first scenario. Scenario players are a friendly lot and willing to help you and explain, also, so don't hesitate to join a scenario if you are a new player. You don't have to be an expert to start having fun in scenarios.
Again, if you have any suggestions or questions that this document didn't answer, please send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks, and I hope to see you in scenarios to come.