I first became a Seekrieg player back in the early 1980s when I attended GenCon South and met Rich Sartore. I loved the detail of the play, the modeling involved, and the shared sense of history among players. After being out of the hobby, I reconnected with Seekrieg here in Orlando and had the opportunity over the last two years to be a play tester for Admiral of the Fleet. As much as I still enjoy Seekrieg, I like Admiral of the Fleet even better. While it preserves some of the detail of Seekrieg that simulates the targeting and damage process involved in naval combat, the shift to understanding fleet operations and orders makes for a faster game and one more scalable from small to groups of more than eight. I think the flag cards for issuing fleet commands is a stroke of genius. Adaptable to other systems for their command phases, it adds a sense of realism and even uncertainty that gives you more of a feel of the era and opens up another player option - that of admiral rather than a ship's captain. By adding a referee who tallies up the damage and shares it via notes to the captains, you can also add a marvelous fog of war development. (It was shared at Recon this year that an app is in the works to provide rapid print outs of damage once rolls are made and it really enhanced the game. Look for it in a year or so). All together, by using a smaller scale, a refined combat and damage sequence, and the signalling system, you can run a 2-4 hour scenario of 12 ships that would take significantly longer in Seekrieg. More significanly, you can teach the system to novices in game much easier than Seekrieg. For me, that means the ability to make new gaming friends with a more accessibly game without sacrificing the detail of shell type, armor and pentration, damage control, etc... that add drama and strategy to the game.
Seekrieg is designed for those of us deep into naval warfare and history of the first part of the 20th Century and it takes a commitment to learn that some find too challenging. Admiral of the Fleet retains much of the depth but offers a level of playability that any gamer who comes to the Vault would be able to learn in an evening at the table. Rich Sartore and Jack Joyner have created a great detailed game in Seekrieg and now have offered up a new game, built on the best parts of the old, to introduce a wider audience to this era of naval warfare. I highly recommend AOTF to you and your gaming groups.
[5 of 5 Stars!]